Fish & Water
Funding is one of the most significant challenges for small environmental groups and municipalities trying to make environmental improvements in their Alabama communities. This list of grant opportunities is intended to help watershed groups, environmental nonprofits, and small municipalities locate seed funding for their projects. Contact the Alabama Watershed Stewards program if you know of additional funding sources that should be added to this list.
Grant Opportunities for Nonprofits or Individuals
Alabama Invasive Plant Council Education and Outreach Grants*
This grant funds organizations or individuals who wish to work with the public on nonnative invasive plant removal and the effects of invasive plants on the environment. Proposals are accepted from individuals, public or private nonprofit organizations, and academic institutions.
Alabama Power Foundation Grants*
Diverse groups can apply for foundation grants on the Alabama Power website, where various grants are available. Proposed projects must address a need in at least one of the five initiatives: educational advancement, civic and community development, arts and cultural enrichment, health and human services, and environmental stewardship. The project must have the potential to lead to permanent improvements in a community while addressing the needs of underserved segments of the population, such as racial or ethnic minorities.
Reimbursement grants (minimum of $5,000) are provided by various Resource Conservation and Development councils across the state serving different regions. Grants generally fall into two categories: general grants and education grants. All counties in Alabama are represented by an RC&D Council. You may be eligible for a statewide grant from the Alabama Association if your project spans multiple counties. RC&D councils accept applications from April 1 to June 30.
General grants often cover the following:
- projects related to natural resources conservation
- public health
- community facilities and services
Education grants often cover the following:
- K-12 outdoor education
- education to benefit small farmers and community gardens, etc.
- K-12 technology
Alabama Wildlife Federation Outdoor Conservation Education Programs*
Schools already in the Alabama Outdoor Classroom Program are eligible to apply for an AWF Outdoor Classroom Grant up to $1,000 to provide for the following:
- Outdoor learning stations: native plantings, building supplies, materials needed to develop or enhance a songbird sanctuary, butterfly gardens, sensory gardens, and more.
- Outdoor activity kits: instructional materials, educational tools, and nonconsumable activity supplies to develop or enhance hands-on activities to be used in conjunction with the school’s outdoor classroom and specific outdoor learning stations such as field guides, magnifying glasses, and digital cameras.
- Outdoor educational signage: kiosks, plant identification signs, and educational signs that improve the use of the outdoor classroom as an educational tool and can be used in conjunction with outdoor classroom activities.
Ben & Jerry’s Foundation National Grant Program
Through their National Grassroots Organizing Program, Ben & Jerry’s offers general operating support grants of up to $30,000 per year over the course of 2 years. Most grants are roughly $20,000 per year. Grassroots groups outside of Vermont are eligible for these grants. Applicants should demonstrate that there will be societal, institutional, or environmental change due to their grant.
Clif Bar Family Foundation Grants
This grant provides operational support for environmental programs. Proposals should address strengthening the food system, demonstrating equitable community health outcomes, and protecting environmental resources to be eligible for this grant. The group must operate within clearly defined objectives, demonstrate strong community ties, and operate at the community level. The group should promote positive change through the projects and their implementation process. See website for details.
Coca-Cola Grant Foundation
The Coca-Cola Foundation, the Coca-Cola Company’s global philanthropic arm, offers grants that improve the quality of life in communities, focusing on women, water and the environment, education, and community well-being. Grants are distributed worldwide.
Conservation Alliance Grant Program
The Conservation Alliance is a group of outdoor businesses that supports efforts to protect specific wild places for their habitat and recreational values. Before applying for funding, an organization must be nominated by one of its member companies. Members nominate organizations by completing and submitting a nomination form. Members are given a link to the nomination form in early April and October. They will then send each nomination organization a request for proposal (RFP) instructing them how to submit a full request. They accept grant requests of up to $50,000.
Natural Resources Conservation Service Conservation Innovation Grants
Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) are focused on bringing new natural resource conservation tools, technologies, and practices to private property owners. The program is open to all non-federal entities and individuals if the project involves an EQIP-eligible producer. CIG grant partners consider the relationship between air quality, water quality, soil health, and wildlife habitat challenges. Visit the website to see funding categories, webinars from past grantees, and fact sheets.
Daniel Foundation of Alabama*
The Daniel Foundation of Alabama is based in Birmingham but strives to improve the quality of life for citizens from all regions of Alabama by funding four types of initiatives: education and youth grants; arts, culture & community grants; health initiatives; and community needs. Each funding category has its own application time frame and deadline. Organizations must be within Alabama.
Doris Duke Charitable Foundation Environmental Grant
The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation’s Environment Program awards grants through invited proposals and the occasional funding competition. Funding opportunities may also be available through organizations administering re-granting programs supported by the foundation. The Environment Program focuses on the following categories:
- land conservation in an era of climate change
- wildlife and energy development
- strengthening the conservation field
- environmental stewardship in the tristate area
Extreme Terrain’s Clean Trail Grant Program
Extreme Terrain’s Clean Trail Grant Program allows eligible groups (including Scout troops) to apply for a $250 grant to fund their next trail improvement-related project, including cleanup, restoration, or expansion. Eligible expenses include tools needed for trail cleaning, restoration, and expansion; food and nonalcoholic beverages for all volunteers; promotional materials used to attract volunteers; and miscellaneous trail improvement expenses.
J.L. Bledsole Foundation–Southwest Alabama*
The J. L. Bedsole Foundation serves Southwest Alabama and is focused on providing post-secondary educational opportunities for the region. It supports qualifying organizations that provide civic, artistic, cultural, artistic, and economic development opportunities in the greater region.
Landscape Scale Restoration Grants
From the USDA and the US Forest Service, Southern Region Landscape Scale Restoration (LSR) grants focus on restoring priority forested landscapes through agency collaboration and leveraging public and private resources. The grant supports priorities identified in State Forest Action Plans. The LSR application requests come out once per year (usually in August).
Legacy Environmental Grants
Legacy grants are available every year through the Environmental Education Grant Program. Grant funds go towards educating people to be environmentally conscious citizens. Grants are open to public and private nonprofit organizations in Alabama. Grants funds are available up to $2,500.
National Park Service Trails, Rivers and Conservation Assistance Program
This non-financial assistance grant offers planning assistance to state and local agencies, tribes, nonprofit organizations, or citizen groups seeking to develop local trails, river, or park projects. The grant provides planning and visioning support from the National Park Service for locally-led conservation and outdoor recreation projects across the United States. For examples of projects that have been funded in Alabama, visit their community assistance projects page.
Community Foundations in Alabama*
Community Foundation of Northeast Alabama
The Northeast Alabama Community Foundation offers a number of funding opportunities for nonprofit organizations with varied focus areas. Nonprofits must operate within the Northeast Alabama region: Talladega, Clay, Randolph, Cleburne, Calhoun, Etowah, St Clair, Cherokee, and Dekalb Counties.
Community Foundation of Greater Huntsville
Serving the greater Huntsville area, the Community Foundation of Greater Huntsville provides funding opportunities focusing on the neighborhoods and community, environment, recreation, economic opportunity, education, arts and culture, health and wellness, and basic needs. Find a full list of their grant funding resources on their website.
Our Community Foundation–Birmingham
The Community Foundation of Birmingham serves organizations and nonprofits in the greater Birmingham area. The Community Foundation has two grant-making cycles and five priority areas: Thriving Communities, Equity and Inclusion, Regional Cooperation, Economic Opportunity for All, and Overcoming Persistent Poverty.
Community Foundation of East Alabama
The Community Foundation of East Alabama supports various special programs and events in the East Alabama area. They offer a Mini-Grant program that annually awards three $500 grants to nonprofits for operational support. Nonprofits that have been in operation between 2 to 5 years are given preference. They must operate in Lee, Macon, Tallapoosa, Chambers, and Russell Counties.
Community Foundation of West Alabama
The Community Foundation of West Alabama offers community and education grants that support various nonprofit organizations in various areas, including arts and humanities, children and youth, education, elder care, environment, health and medicine, recreation, and social welfare.
Walker Area Community Foundation
Qualified 501c3 nonprofit organizations may apply to the foundation for funding during the spring cycle (deadline of March 1) or the fall cycle (deadline of September 1) each calendar year. Feeding programs and food banks must apply in the spring. Grants are made for the following charitable purposes: arts and humanities, children and youth education, elder care, environment, health and medicine, recreation, and social welfare.
Central Alabama Community Foundation
The Central Alabama Community Foundation funds community projects via Community Trust Grants to Central Alabama and serves Montgomery, Lowndes, Macon, Autauga, Elmore, Coffee, Dale, Geneva, Henry, and Houston Counties.
Black Belt Community Foundation
The Black Belt Community Foundation is a nonprofit that seeks to uplift and fund projects of need in the Black Belt region. They serve a 12-county region including the following counties: Bullock, Choctaw, Dallas, Greene, Hale, Lowndes, Macon, Marengo, Perry, Pickens, Sumter, and Wilcox.
The Wiregrass Foundation offers grants to nonprofit community organizations that positively impact the greater Dothan area’s health, education, and quality of life.
Grant Opportunities for Cities and Larger Organizations
ADEM 319 Funding for Nonpoint Source Pollution*
Alabama Nonpoint Source (NPS) Implementation Grants fund projects via Alabama’s Nonpoint Source Management Program to reduce or prevent nonpoint source pollution. Using EPA funding from the Clean Water Act, 319 funding is used to support funding for projects that will lead to direct reductions in pollutant loads and measurable water quality improvements. State agencies, local governments, nonprofits, and public institutions are eligible to apply. Funds are most often used to implement existing watershed plans, however, some grants may go towards education and outreach initiatives. A 40 percent match is required for this grant funding.
Alabama Recycling Fund Grant Program*
The Alabama Recycling Fund (ARF) Program aims to promote recycling in communities across Alabama by providing reimbursement grants to local governments developing or enhancing recycling programs. Local governments and nonprofits are eligible for this grant funding. Applications must be submitted by March 1 of each year.
ADEM Redevelopment Programs*
ADEM Redevelopment Programs address the redevelopment of Brownfields. Programs include the Brownfields Redevelopment and Voluntary Cleanup Program (VCP), the Alabama Land Recycling Revolving Fund Program, the Drycleaner Environmental Response Trust Fund Program, and ADEM’s Federal Brownfields Program.
ADEM Scrap Tire Marketing Program*
The Scrap Tire Marketing Program’s goal is to promote the scrap tire market to address end-use concerns of tire waste. Local governments and local governmental nonprofits interested in reusing scrap tires in innovative ways are eligible to apply.
Alabama Tourism Community Grant*
The Community Grants Program is for municipal and nonprofit Alabama organizations striving to promote travel and vacation business in Alabama. Organizations approved for community grants may be considered grants of up to $2,500 for festivals and events and up to $5,000 for attractions on a reimbursement basis.
Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (FEMA Hazard Mitigation Assistance Grant)
Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) addresses hazard mitigation projects to reduce the risks communities face from natural disasters.
Community Development Block Grant: Planning Fund
The Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program is for municipalities fostering viable urban communities. Funding focuses on providing decent housing and suitable living environments and expanding economic opportunities for low- and moderate-income people. Municipal eligibility for the grant is dependent on population size.
Clean Water + Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) Loan Program- ADEM*
The Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) and the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) are low-interest loan programs that can be paid back over the course of 20 years. Ideal for cities and counties, they are intended to finance public infrastructure improvements in Alabama. The programs are funded with a blend of state and federal capitalization funds. Projects eligible for funding include but are not limited to green infrastructure, streambank restoration, wastewater treatment works, watershed protection projects, and more.
Flood Mitigation Assistance (FEMA Hazard Mitigation Assistance)
Grant funding from the Flood Mitigation Assistance program attempts to reduce repetitive losses for communities affected by multiple floods. The funds are intended to help communities that are at disproportionately high flood risk.
Land and Water Conservation Fund
The Land and Water Conservation Fund is a matching grant to aid states and local governments in purchasing and developing outdoor recreational areas. The program focuses on protecting natural areas, water resources, and cultural heritage while providing outdoor recreational opportunities. Grants include the acquisition of park and recreation lands, planning grants, redevelopment of older recreation facilities, improved access to natural resources, and more.
National Fish and Wildlife 5 Star Urban Waters Restoration Grant Program
The Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration Program is focused on environmental conservation and educational efforts. With an emphasis on restoring coastal, wetland, and riparian ecosystems, the program also focuses on the role of diverse partnerships in creating long-term stewardship. Funding areas include wetland, riparian, and coastal restoration; educational outreach and community involvement; measurable community benefits; and a diverse group of stakeholders.
Office of Water Resources: Floodplain Management*
The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA) and the Office of Water Resources (OWR) work with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to bolster community flood mitigation and action plans to reduce long-term flood risk. The program focuses on flood studies and flood mapping.
Recreational Trails Program*
The Recreational Trails Program (RTP) provides up to 80 percent of grant assistance to state and federal agencies and local government units to develop or acquire recreational trails and trail-related resources. There is a 20-percent match requirement. Projects eligible for funding include but are not limited to the following trail types: walking, jogging, cycling, skating, mountain biking, hiking, backpacking, off-highway vehicle, and equestrian. Applications may be submitted for the following activities: construction of recreational trails, restoration of existing trails, development of trailhead facilities, development of trail linkages, improvement of access to trails for people with disabilities, property acquisition or easements, or the development of educational materials promoting the environmental protection of recreational trails.
Laura Cooley, Administrator, Outreach Programs, Crop Soil, and Environmental Sciences, Auburn University
New May 2023, Grant Funding Resources for Environmental Groups in Alabama, ANR-3006