Our Impact: Environmental Resilience



Application Deadline


Impact Area Update and Background | Grantmaking | Eligibility | Evaluation Criteria | Frequently Asked Questions |

NOTE: With staffing transitions and strategic planning underway, we have decided to pause the public calls for proposals for three grant programs we had previously planned to launch on February 6, 2024, of which Environmental Resilience was one. We do not feel we can currently run these grant processes in the thoughtful, participatory, equitable way we value and that you deserve. We are not clear on the revised timeline yet, but anticipate this is a months-long pause, not a weeks-long pause. We will keep you updated as our plans become clearer.

Impact Area Update and Background

Through the Sustainable Communities Program, we hope to support economically and environmentally resilient communities. The Sustainable Communities: Environmental Resilience grant cycle will continue to focus on funding organizations doing work at the intersection of environmental conservation and climate change.

There is a growing consensus that climate change poses a threat to the environment and the people and assets in communities across the globe. Locally, the Triangle is experiencing an increasing number of climate-related threats including more frequent flooding; increasing temperatures; increasing drought conditions; and population growth which leads to more development and demand for resources.

Conservation plays an important role in mitigating future effects of climate change. Across the globe, attention is being paid to nature-based solutions, “actions that work with and enhance nature so as to help people adapt to change and disasters”.  These can range from protecting natural areas (conservation) to planting new ecosystems to make cities greener. Studies suggest that, at scale, nature-based solutions can provide around one-third of the of the climate mitigation needed to stabilize warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius. Additionally, investing in activities that build or strengthen a community’s ability to prevent, respond to, and recover from climate stressors makes for stronger, more resilient communities in the face of a changing climate.

We know that certain communities that have endured chronic stressors such as poverty and racial segregation are more vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. So, a portion of the organizations funded will include those whose work explicitly benefits communities who experience disproportionate, complex impacts of climate change, including communities of color, low-income groups, people with limited English proficiency (LEP), and immigrant groups.

We look forward to continuing to fund work that will help conserve the Triangle’s land and natural resources and make our communities, particularly our most vulnerable ones, more resilient as climate-related events impact our region.


Grants will be available in the amount of $40,000 spread evenly over two years and will provide general operating support to organizations whose mission and work align with the program goals. By shifting to a two-year grant period, we aim to bring this grant cycle in alignment with our other discretionary grantmaking programs, providing predictable funding to awardees. We anticipate making 12-15 general operating awards of $40,000 each through this grant cycle and it is our intention to continue this program in the coming years with an every-other-year call for proposals. The next anticipated call for proposals is TBD.

The goals and funding strategies for this Environmental Resilience cycle of the Sustainable Communities Program are outlined below.

Program goals:

  • Increase awareness of and education around conservation and/or climate issues
  • Increase climate resiliency, particularly of low-income communities

Funding strategies:

  • Fund organizations implementing nature-based strategies that allow communities to adapt to climate change threats (with priority on low-income communities)
  • Fund organizations providing education & communications around conservation and/or climate issues
  • Fund organizations that are engaging in local advocacy efforts related to conservation and/or climate issues

See the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for more details and examples of the type of work we have and anticipate supporting through this program.


  • The Foundation invites 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations based in and serving Chatham, Durham, Orange and Wake counties to apply. Religious congregations, governmental agencies, and organizations operating under fiscal sponsorship of a tax-exempt nonprofit are eligible to apply.
  • Organizations must meet the Foundation’s non-discrimination policy (outlined in the grant application).
  • One application per organization will be considered.

Evaluation Criteria

Foundation staff work with volunteer advisory committee members to review proposals and reach grantmaking decisions. In reviewing grant proposals, the Foundation will use the following evaluation criteria. See the Frequently Asked Questions to see how these evaluation criteria overlap with the application questions.

  1. Organizational alignment with program goals
  2. Commitment to equity and community engagement
  3. Impact of Funding
  4. Organization financial health
  5. Overall recommendatio

Frequently Asked Questions

We have compiled  Frequently Asked Questions that we have received about this program in the past. If you have a question not outlined here, please reach out directly to program staff at the contact information below. This document also includes a scoring rubric.

Please reach out to us if you have questions PRIOR to the deadline!