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Dec 15|The Conservation Alliance

The Conservation Alliance Announces 2022 Confluence Program Grants

Four groups have been awarded $100,000 in multi-year grant funding to support their community-based conservation efforts 

BEND, Ore. (December 15, 2022) – This week, The Conservation Alliance announced its 2022 Confluence Program grantees: Ridges to Riffles, Great Plains Restoration Council, Wind River Tribal Buffalo Initiative and Detroit Black Farmer Land Fund. Each of these groups will receive $50,000 in grant funding in December 2022 and another $50,000 in 2023, as well as advocacy and communications support. The four grantees are each historically racially excluded groups with an operating budget less than $500,000. Their projects seek to protect land and water using an intersectional approach that addresses the environmental and social needs of their community. 

The Conservation Alliance piloted the Confluence Program in 2021 to intentionally connect to Asian, Black, Brown, Hispanic, Indigenous, Latin American and other communities who identify as People of Color working to conserve natural places. The program is designed to support small groups working collaboratively to center solutions led by impacted communities. In the program’s second year, the organization disbursed funding to support the following projects: 

Ridges to Riffles Indigenous Conservation Group (R2R) is a California-based non-profit, fiscally sponsored by the Resources Legacy Fund, that advocates for Native American tribes in natural and cultural resource matters. Confluence funding will enable them to continue their work to see the largest dam removal and restoration project in U.S. history through to completion. The project is located in the Klamath River Basin, which is home to the Yurok, Karuk, Klamath and Hoopa Valley Tribes, in present-day northwest California. R2R works in coordination with the Yurok Tribe in Klamath River dam removal and restoration efforts. The grant will support their communications needs, provide funding for staff travel to consult with federal agencies, as well as to support their work with Klamath River Tribes to develop an action plan to acquire and manage lands that will no longer be submerged by reservoir waters. 

Great Plains Restoration Council (GPRC) is a non-profit organization based in Fort Worth, Texas with a mission of helping people take care of their own health through restoring and protecting native ecosystems, particularly damaged prairies, plains, and waters. Grant funding will support their work to protect old-growth native prairie inholdings adjacent to the Fort Worth Prairie Park complex. GPRC will also work in partnership with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) to secure conservation of at least 5,000 acres in West Texas. This is a first step that will build towards GPRC’s and TPWD’s goal of establishing what will one day become a landscape-scale Southern Great Plains Conservation and Recreation Area on the Llano Estacado shortgrass prairie region of the Texas Panhandle. These lands will provide habitat for endangered Texas bison along with pronghorn, prairie dogs, burrowing owls, swift fox, elk, and other species of concern. The Confluence grant will be used to launch a diverse campaign aimed at raising national awareness, inclusion and engagement, and to hire a Comanche or Kiowa organizer to ensure Indigenous voices are centered. Funding will also be used to train and employ formerly incarcerated Black and Brown/POC youth currently excelling in GPRC’s Restoration Not Incarceration™ program.  

Wind River Tribal Buffalo Initiative (WRTBI) is a Native-led, non-profit organization near Kinnear, Wyoming. Their mission is restoring the Shoshone and Arapaho connection to the buffalo, ensuring that buffalo restoration and land rematriation efforts serve the needs and priorities of the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho Tribes. WRTBI is working to acquire and maintain fee lands, enact land use changes on Tribal land (BIA) for buffalo conservation through cattle grazing retirement and conservation easement, and ensure that buffalo are protected as wildlife under Tribal law. The Confluence Program grant will support costs associated with youth engagement, staff time dedicated to working with the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho Tribal Councils and the Bureau of Indian Affairs to shift land use from cattle grazing to wildlife conservation, and land maintenance costs.

The Detroit Black Farmer Land Fund (DBFLF) is a coalition of three long-standing Detroit, Michigan urban farming organizations with a collective mission to rebuild inter-generational land ownership for Black Farmers in Detroit. The grant funding will help support the organization’s work to transition vacant land in Detroit to urban farm landscapes. The Confluence grant will support fundraising efforts to acquire 20 acres and complete 15 infrastructure projects, technical assistance for land purchases, and an educational campaign and legal support to ensure properties are protected from development in perpetuity. 

This year, the Confluence grant program was directed by eight advisory committee members. This committee established the funding criteria, project types, application process, and also reviewed applications and chose the grant recipients. Grant Program Director Josie Norris co-chaired the committee and worked collaboratively to develop the second iteration of the program. After reviewing 64 applications and vetting eleven finalists, they identified the four organizations funded through the 2022 Confluence Program. 

“The Advisory Committee applauds the diversity of incredible conservation work across North America,” said Janelle Hillhouse, Advisory Committee Co-Chair. “This year’s committee prioritized community-driven conservation programs led by people of color with annual revenues of less than $500,000. We’re excited to amplify the award recipients, and we also recognize the need for far more support to create a vibrant and inclusive conservation movement led by directly impacted communities.”

 “Confluence Program applicants are small and passionate groups addressing the social and environmental needs in their community on a shoestring budget,” said Josie Norris, Grant Program Director at The Conservation Alliance. “Our hope is to bring awareness to the funding need for this type of work, and to inspire others to help us close the funding gap.“

About the Confluence Program

The goal of the Confluence Program is to intentionally connect The Conservation Alliance to historically racially excluded people for the protection of natural places. The program was developed in 2021 in recognition that the organization’s network of partners included few groups representing historically racially excluded people. The Conservation Alliance seeks to expand their network of grantee and business partners to represent a coalition of everyone working to protect or conserve land and/or water to foster a planet where natural places, wildlife, and people thrive together. 

The Confluence Program is a first step in The Conservation Alliance’s efforts to help create new systems and structures that bring all of the groups, organizations, and businesses committed to this work closer together to protect shared natural places. In 2022 and 2023, The Conservation Alliance will work to build trust and meaningful relationships with the four Confluence grantees through resource-sharing and communications support. They will shape the relationship-building phase of this program to meet the unique needs of each group. 

One of the founding goals for the Confluence Program was to capture and share learnings regarding the gap between financial needs and available funding. As stated above, we received applications from 64 groups that are led by Asian, Black, Brown, Indigenous, Latinx, and other People of Color working to protect land and water by centering solutions led by impacted communities. This represents a need for $3.2 million in funding for small organizations less likely to be connected to mainstream foundations. With this round of funding, we are able to meet just 6% of the need among our applicant pool. Please contact The Conservation Alliance for information about the groups that applied and how to directly support them.

About The Conservation Alliance:  

The Conservation Alliance is an organization of 270 like-minded businesses whose collective contributions support grassroots environmental organizations and their efforts to protect wild places where outdoor enthusiasts recreate. Alliance funds have played a key role in protecting rivers, trails, wildlands, and climbing areas throughout North America. Membership in the Alliance is open to all companies who care about protecting our most threatened wild places for habitat and outdoor recreation. Since 1989, we have contributed more than $27,370,000 in grants to conservation organizations whose collective efforts have helped protect 73 million acres of land and 3,580 miles of rivers; stop or remove 37 dams; acquire 21 climbing areas; and designate five marine reserves. For complete information about The Conservation Alliance, visit www.conservationalliance.com.  

 

Media Contact:                                                                                                                                                                            

Alie Kouzoukian  

Creative and Digital Manager 

alie@conservationalliance.com 

203-979-4790 

Photo Assets: HERE (please ensure photo credit from file names are given for each individual photo)

Matt Medendorp
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