The Capacity Building Grants will support land trusts and their partners in advancing the goals in Pathways to 30x30 and the Natural and Working Lands Climate Smart Strategy through the following four categories. 

  1. Organizational Capacity Building
  2. Building and Sustaining Partnerships
  3. Strategic Planning for NWLCSS & 30x30 Implementation
  4. Demonstration Projects

Eligible entities and/or partnerships may only submit one application for consideration as a Capacity Building Grant.

Evaluation Criteria can be found here. Note that categories are described only to provide context for program goals and as funding examples. Applicants may formulate projects that align with multiple categories. Funding can include staff or consultant time, or may fund new positions or partner stipends. Applications that build internal land trust capacity but do not include partnerships or collaborations are welcome and encouraged.

Organizational Capacity Building
Organizational Capacity Building funding supports land trust efforts to increase the pace of land conservation in California. Grants should describe specifically how the grant will assist the organization in increasing or strengthening its capacity for new or additional projects related to 30x30 or NWLCSS. Funding is intended to help land trusts build and sustain organizational capacity and effectiveness and develop and enhance community programs and services. Examples include: 

  • Broad strategic investments designed to build organizational capacity and effectiveness for planning or implementation projects, such as increased staffing
  • Staff training or development designed to build individual professionalism and effectiveness
  • Developing or refining baseline documentation
  • Developing or refining agricultural management plans required by easements
  • Developing or refining specific organizational policies or practices
  • Conservation planning, including integrating climate science and equitable land access goals into strategic conservation planning and priorities
  • Organizational planning such as strategic planning, planning or strategy building for fundraising or grant development, and succession planning
  • Developing or expanding a GIS database to support conservation planning
  • Merger or strategic collaboration assessments 

Building and Sustaining Partnerships 
Building and Sustaining Partnership funding includes projects that will build and sustain partnerships between land trusts and historically underserved communities and/or Native partners. Successful projects should advance all partners’ goals and purpose/missions. Letters of Support that demonstrate partner commitment and readiness to participate are required. The partners should submit a joint proposal. Joint proposals should specify how grant resources will help strengthen and/or formalize the partnership and be shared. Examples include:

  • Community outreach and/or listening sessions
  • Establishing and building connections with community-based organizations or Native Tribes or Native-led organizations to develop a specific project 
  • Planning for Indigenous stewardship of conserved lands, planning or providing cultural access, or planning for ancestral land return processes
  • Joint site visits, including participant stipends and in-state transportation expenses 
  • Participation and/or partnership with existing workforce programs, or planning for new programs
  • Regional conservation collaboration feasibility study and/or implementation

Strategic Planning
Strategic Planning funding supports the time and effort to develop planning documents to implement nature-based solutions and/or achieve objectives of 30x30. Plans should be developed in coordination with broad stakeholders and community interests such as local/state/federal agencies, farmers and ranchers, local historically underserved communities, Native Nations and Native organizations, non-governmental organizations, and environmental justice organizations. 

Plan development should consider the best available climate data, using Cal-Adapt or other appropriate tools, for the project area and other applicable and available resources to ensure that the plan is consistent with the best available state, regional, and local data.

Examples of desired outcomes from the planning effort include:

  • A quantifiable estimate of project benefits that further California’s commitment to increasing climate action on our natural and working lands, such as improving soil health practices for carbon storage, greenhouse gas emission reduction from soils, soil water retention, water quality and availability, crop production, wildfire resiliency, and preserving ecosystems and biodiversity at risk from climate impacts.
  • Attainment of strong local support for the NWLCSS or 30x30 and identified projects through broad inclusion of stakeholders and partners
  • Development and management of a broad collaborative structure and effective networks of partners and stakeholders
  • Coordination of climate smart land management efforts across land ownerships
  • Resource and habitat connectivity
  • Equitable agricultural land access and tenure for Tribes, Native organizations, and underserved communities
  • Identification of habitat restoration opportunities that are located adjacent to land with high habitat value and provide climate refugia
  • Economic development planning to support local land-based economies through climate action implementation

Demonstration Projects

Demonstration Project funding supports innovative projects that implement nature-based climate solutions that can be scaled up and/or replicated. 

Projects will implement new, innovative, and/or underutilized techniques, technology, or approaches for implementing nature-based climate solutions, which: 

  • Have high potential to be scaled up and/or replicated 
  • Measurably achieve multiple benefits
  • Incorporate participation from multiple partners and funding sources
  • Support workforce development opportunities when feasible
  • Integrate benefits to the most climate-vulnerable communities when feasible

Grant Guidelines

Webinar Registration
July 24 at 12:00pm

Grant Timeline*

June 20, 2024

Grant Applications Open

July 9-Sep 20, 2024

CA Onward Program Director available for consultations

July 24 from 12:00pm-1:00pm

Virtual Information Webinar

Sep 20, 2024

Applications Due 

Oct 18, 2024

Grant Decisions (est.)

Oct 31, 2024 – Oct 1, 2026

Potential Grant Period

*Applications from Native-led land trusts, or applications that include partnerships with underserved community organizations and/or Tribes or Native-led organizations may be submitted at any time. Please contact the CA Onward Program Director by September 20, 2024 to inform us of your intent to apply. Funding is limited and will be provided as applications are received and evaluated. 

Resources and FAQs

Contact Information
Karin Winters, Program Director
E-mail:  [email protected]
Phone: 916-497-0272 x2
Book a meeting with Karin