The Vital Ground Foundation works to protect and restore North America’s grizzly bear populations by conserving wildlife habitat for future generations and supporting projects that reduce conflicts between bears and people. To further its mission, Vital Ground will announce up to two Conservation Partner Grant Requests for Proposals each calendar year. These granting opportunities are designed to encourage new partnerships and will be offered to non-profit or governmental entities whose missions complement Vital Ground’s. Proposals must demonstrate that they will assist in the protection of grizzly bear and other wildlife habitat or that they include specific activities or actions that will benefit grizzlies and other wildlife by preventing future conflicts with people.

To be eligible, both the entity requesting assistance and the project or program proposed for funding must meet the following criteria:

1.      The proposal must be submitted by a qualified non-profit based in either the United States or Canada, or be a state, federal, or tribal entity focused on science-based wildlife management.

2.      The project or program proposed must benefit grizzly bear habitat that is currently occupied, documented in an approved federal, state or tribal wildlife management plan, or expected to promote connectivity between occupied or potential grizzly bear habitats. Projects to reduce conflicts between bears and humans or those efforts reasonably connected to an outreach or educational function that will benefit grizzly bears and other wildlife will also be considered.

3.      Absent special circumstances, the project or program will be funded for no more than two consecutive calendar years.

4.      Proposals are generally funded for $10,000 or less, and applications may not exceed $25,000.

5.      The proposal including budget should be limited to 2 pages (excluding essential supporting documentation such as photos and maps).

6.      Matching funding is required at a minimum ratio of 1:1.

7.      The Proposal should clearly state or address the project or program evaluation criteria provided below.

8.      All proposals will be reviewed for completeness by Vital Ground staff and if qualified, will be forwarded to the Lands and Conservation Committee for its review and recommendation to the Board of Trustees.

9.      Vital Ground will not provide “unrestricted” funds. All successful applicants must sign a contract or grant agreement with Vital Ground that describes the proposal and responsibilities of the parties before funds will be dispersed.

10.  Vital Ground prefers that all funds awarded are directly applied to the proposed project costs, and under no circumstances may administrative or indirect costs exceed 5% of the grant request.

11.  Send proposals via email as an attached pdf file with the email subject line stating: Vital Ground Conservation Partners Proposal (month/year).

For more information, contact:

Kim Davitt, Conservation Initiatives Manager

See a synopsis of previously funded Conservation Partner Projects.

Conservation Partners Proposal Evaluation Criteria

1.      Conciseness and clarity of written Proposal.

2.      Consistency with Vital Ground’s stated Goals and Mission (for more information on Vital Ground’s mission and goals, go to

3.      Location/Proximity of the project within, adjacent to, or between designated Grizzly Bear Ecosystem(s) or other documented grizzly bear habitat (e.g. Northern Continental Divide, Cabinet-Yaak, etc.).

4.      Names and expected contribution amounts of other funding/participating partners.

5.      Confirmation of matching funding to VG at 1:1 or greater.

6.      Proposed monitoring or measurement methods to be used by applicant to evaluate success or need for future modifications.

Habitat Conservation Projects or Proposals:

7.      Habitat Project: Project size and quality/types of wildlife habitat.

8.      Habitat Project: Type and Level of risk to habitat if no-action is taken.

9.      Habitat Project: Condition/ownership/protection status of adjacent lands.

10.  Habitat Project: Type of protection (fee, conservation easement & relevant CE terms, other).

Public Education/Outreach/Conflict Reduction Projects or Proposals

11.  Demonstrated need for the program/project.

12.  Proposal outcomes such who you plan to reach, how many, within what time-frames, and how that will affect others.

13.  Quality and message of outreach/conflict reduction materials.

14.  Quality or consistency of proposal with current Best Management Practices (e.g. proper use of materials for electric fencing, bear-proof dumpsters, etc.).


Adopted October 2016
Revised February 2017