Conservation Grant

From Richard King Mellon Foundation

Since 1947, the Richard King Mellon Foundation has invested in visionaries who seek to advance the competitive future and quality of life of Southwestern Pennsylvania, and to protect, preserve and restore America’s environmental heritage.

Type of Support


In Western Pennsylvania and across the nation, important habitats are imperiled, threatening biodiversity and undermining people’s quality of life. Wildlife flourishes and people thrive in those once-imperiled habitats, through strategic land protection, stewardship, and activation, and sustainable economic development that deploys renewable energy and new technologies that foster livable communities and healthy natural systems.

Grants are awarded to organizations and programs focused on:

  • Habitat Conservation, with priority to
    • Conserving large-scale working lands and other critical ecosystems
  • Stewardship, with priority to
    • Improving water quality and ecosystem health
    • Restoring habitat for key species 
    • Addressing invasive species and wildlife diseases
    • The Northern Forest, Appalachia, upper Midwest, and the Southeastern United States regions
  • Activation and Sustainable Economic Development, with priority to
    • Building strong rural economies in areas adjacent to conserved land
    • Hunters, anglers, and other outdoor enthusiasts
    • Broadening the conservation movement
  • Sustainable Communities, with priority to
    • Fostering the use of renewable energy, energy efficiency, and sustainable use of natural resources
    • Advancing novel environmental technologies
    • Improving environmental factors that affect people's quality of life


Organization's Location
Program Location
USA, with preference for PA
Organization Type
Public-sector agencies
For-profit businesses
Fiscally-sponsored organizations

Research and planning may be funded. Foundation bases its decisions whenever possible on data-driven, scientifically backed evidence, and therefore supports and recognizes the importance of research. Planning efforts also are supported with the expectation that they will lead to programs that advance the Foundation’s Conservation strategy.


Individuals or proposals that regrant to individuals
Lobbying, advocacy, or political causes or events
Terrorist activities
Postsecondary institutions or research institutions are not eligible for general operating support
not specified


Required Attachments
Board List
Letters of Support
Organizational Budget
501(c)(3) Letter
Audited Financial Statement
Project Budget
Contact info
Review Criteria

For-profit businesses only:

  • The Richard King Mellon Foundation is looking to invest in novel products, technologies or services from social-mission oriented for-profit companies.
  • Planning and Innovation: This funding supports experimentation and the development of novel concepts. Recipients might conduct activities such as piloting minimally viable products or services.
  • Implementation: The funding provides support for more developed concepts and services. Recipients of this funding often have demonstrated past success and have the capacity to engage in iteration and evaluation of their technology, products, or services.
  • Scalability: This funding supports scaling of a technology, product, or service.

Nonprofit and Public Sector only:

  • Planning and Innovation: This funding supports experimentation and the development of new ideas. Recipients might conduct activities such as piloting minimally viable products/services or completing a feasibility study.
  • Implementation: This funding provides support for more developed concepts and services. Recipients might continue current programs, construct a building, train staff, carry out a marketing campaign, or conduct a third-party evaluation. 
  • Scalability: This funding supports extending the reach of a promising model or project. Recipients might participate in conferences or publishing, convene networks, provide technical support to other organizations, or expand service delivery
  • Community engagement describes how the project will incorporate community perspectives to increase the likelihood of achieving the outputs and outcomes. You might describe how you have engaged with the target population to understand their view of the problem that you propose to address. You might also describe how you will engage your target population in ongoing leadership or advisory roles during the project’s implementation. You might also describe partnerships with other organizations that will increase the project’s effectiveness.
  • Project Sustainability helps us to understand your expectations for the relationship that might be formed between our organizations if funding were awarded. By asking this question, we want to understand how you are thinking about our role in your finances and program delivery. 
  • Partnerships with public agencies and for-profit companies are looked upon favorably.