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Conservation Funding

Land trusts may be able to obtain support for their work from a variety of public and private funding sources. The following resources and programs may assist your organization in meeting its funding goals:

MCHT/MLTN Funding Resources & Programs

MLTN Infopack 1: Grant Writing Basics for Land Trusts

This infopack includes a list of private, state, and federal funding programs, tips for successful grant writing, and information on related resources. To obtain this infopack please email info@mcht.org.

L.L. BeanL.L. Bean Maine Land Trust Grant Program

L.L.Bean and Maine Coast Heritage Trust are pleased to provide grant support to Maine's land trust community. Together, L.L.Bean and MCHT are working to enhance the capacity of Maine's land trusts in support of land trusts' efforts to protect Maine's outdoor heritage and natural landscapes.

Download application and guideline documents (Microsoft Word required):

Ed Meadows Conservation Fund Grants

The Ed Meadows Conservation Fund of the Maine Community Foundation assists land trusts in the creation and installation of signage that facilitates interpretation and nature education on conservation land owned or held by Maine land trusts. Up to three grants will be available annually by competitive proposal for interpretive signs and/or trail apps, including design, construction and installation. Maximum grant award is $5,000. Maine Coast Heritage Trust will administer the proposal process.

Effective signage and interpretive information is a key component of stewardship, enabling ease of visitor use and appreciation of the natural resources and ecological relationships on the properties. Engaging youth in a learning experience outdoors is also critical to conservation programs in the future.

MCHT Revolving Loan Fund

In keeping with its long tradition of working in partnership with public and private entities throughout the state of Maine to permanently conserve significant natural lands, Maine Coast Heritage Trust offers conservation partners access to its Revolving Loan Fund. As the name implies, monies are intended to revolve out of the Fund in the form of short-term loans to qualified entities acquiring land for permanent conservation. MCHT gives primary consideration to members of the Maine Land Trust Network for use of this fund.

These interest-bearing loans from MCHT are typically made for one year or less and are offered at one point below the current prime lending rate. In the past, MCHT has provided loans ranging from $5,000 to $400,000. The steps for processing an application include assigning a staff person to the loan project to assist the applicant and prepare documents for review by MCHT’s Board of Directors, submission of all required supporting documentation, review of documentation and preparation and approval of any security documentation by MCHT’s general counsel. The whole process can take as long as 4 to 6 weeks. While the process is as detailed as a bank’s, MCHT does try to work creatively with land trusts on good projects to help make them happen.

For more details, please review the Land Acquisition Revolving Loan Fund Policy & Guidelines posted below and contact MCHT at info@mcht.org or (207)729-7366 to receive an application form. We prefer to receive a call from interested applicants prior to receiving a completed application form so we can help answer questions and determine deadlines, fund availability, etc.

MCHT Merger Assistance Fund

With generous support from the Elmina B. Sewall Foundation, Maine Coast Heritage Trust (MCHT) has established a fund to partially offset the cost of the merger of land conservation organizations within Maine. This fund assists land trusts seeking stronger organizational health and effectiveness by joining forces with one or more other Maine organizations. Maximum grant per merger is $10,000.

Purpose. In any merger there are a variety of needs, including but not limited to:

  • Consultant/facilitator time to guide merger discussions within and between organizations.
  • Legal costs associated with all aspects of such a merger.
  • Costs associated with the review of and due diligence for the transfer of assets including fee lands and conservation easements. For example, title work and insurance, hazardous waste inspections.
  • Stewardship costs such as the creation of missing baseline data, boundary work, and management plans and other costs associated with bringing preserves up to the standards of the new/remaining organization.
  • Initial marketing costs that result from a merger (e.g., new logo, website changes, signage).

The MCHT Land Trust Merger Fund provides support for these and other needs. Because every merger of conservation organizations is unique, interested groups are encouraged to contact Warren Whitney (wwhitney@mcht.org, 207-729-7366) before submitting a proposal.

Other Funding Resources

Land for Maine's Future Program

Established in 1987, the Land for Maine's Future program protects lands of statewide, regional, and local significance, including farmland, water access sites, and working waterfront properties. LMF provides land acquisition funding to state agencies as well as to land trusts and municipalities with certain provisions. For more information on the program visit the Land for Maine's Future website.

Maine Philanthropy Center

The Maine Philanthropy Center (MPC) is a statewide association of grant makers working together to promote philanthropy and to increase its impact in Maine. The Center offers grant maker members opportunities for networking, building grant making skills and expertise, and learning about local and national grant making trends. One example is the Environmental Funders Network an affinity group of grant makers and donors developed in partnership with the Maine Community Foundation.

MPC offers an extensive reference library, filled with information on local and national foundations and publications of interest to both funders and grant seekers. Library visitors can access FC Search, the most extensive national database with information on more than 80,000 corporate, private and public grant makers maintained by the Foundation Center, a national nonprofit. Also available is the Directory of Maine Grant Makers, available in both print and online versions. Additional publications are available in the library on proposal writing, nonprofit administration, financial management, board development, and public relations/marketing.

MPC offers "Meet the Funders" programs throughout the state with grant maker members. Workshops to build research and proposal writing skills are offered through the Maine Association of Nonprofits.