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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. Be sure to verify grant deadlines and requirements at individual websites, as details change frequently. 

Grant Writing for Land Trusts  (PDF)

Public Grant Funds Available for Land Conservation

Compiled by Maine Coast Heritage Trust staff, this spreadsheet outlines Federal and State government programs that provide grants for land conservation related activities in Maine.

Public Grant Funds Available for Maine Conservation (PDF)

Begin your research here by getting a quick snapshot for each program, including eligible grantees, subject focus, and required match. You will also find web links that lead to more extensive background materials and contact information to help answer additional questions. Keep in mind, the details for many of these programs, such as application deadlines, can shift regularly. We will do our best to keep the spreadsheet as up-to-date and comprehensive as possible and welcome your feedback.

L.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:

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  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

Maine Coast Heritage Trust (MCHT) has established a fund to assist land trusts seeking stronger organizational health and effectiveness through advanced collaboration, structural realignment, or merger with other organizations. Maximum grant size is $10,000.

Purpose. Organizations can collaborate to operate more effectively in many ways, up to and including merger. This grant assists organizations determining if a higher level of collaboration is in their best interest, including nuts and bolts costs for organizations pursuing a merger. These needs may include, but are 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 (, 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 Natural Resource Conservation Program

The Maine Natural Resource Conservation Program (MNRCP) awards annual grants to projects that restore and protect high quality wetland and aquatic resource habitat throughout Maine. MNRCP is a potential funding source for a variety of projects, including removal of fill or structures from wetlands and streams, salt marsh restoration, preservation of high quality wetlands and upland buffers, and eelgrass and other subtidal habitat restoration. MNRCP awards are available for non-profit conservation groups, municipalities, state and federal agencies, and the tribes of Maine. For more information, visit the MNRCP website or contact Bryan Emerson, Mitigation Program Manager at The Nature Conservancy in Maine.

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.