Program Mission

Midpen's grantmaking program supports organizations and projects that further understanding and protection of our natural world, build the capacity of the conservation field, and facilitate access to the outdoors or augment interpretation and education opportunities for the public. The grantmaking process is guided by an emphasis on investments that reflect a regional focus and provide avenues for partnership, both with Midpen as well as among other stakeholders. Grants are awarded in the following categories:

  • Applied science – advancing scientific understanding of natural processes and promoting environmental stewardship.
  • Network and partnership support – cultivating, sustaining and growing conservation networks.
  • Access, interpretation and education – educating and promoting open space protection.

Current Grantees

On July 24, 2019 the board of directors awarded funding to the first round of grantees:

Grantee Spotlight: Vida Verde Nature Education

Lifelong connections to nature are often kindled in childhood, however, some of today’s youth have few opportunities to explore and experience undeveloped natural landscapes. A funding recipient of Midpen’s new grantmaking program, Vida Verde Nature Education, is working to change that.

This San Gregorio-based nonprofit promotes equitable access to nature and environmental education by providing free overnight experiences for youth from low-income neighborhoods within the San Mateo County Coast and greater Bay Area communities. Vida Verde’s teachers design their programs to provide tools and experiences that help students heal, build community and grow through essential exposure to nature.

“Vida Verde has so many powerful moments. My favorite are always the bonds that my students create with the Vida Verde instructors,” East Oakland Pride Elementary teacher Nelly Alcantar said. “Sometimes, our students’ daily lives are absent of caring and empathic adults. Vida Verde instructors show so much love, empathy and patience to our students that the kids find a new respect for adults. Trust seems finally possible in their eyes. That is a life-changing experience that will change their outlook on life, school and possibilities.”

The grant from Midpen helped Vida Verde staff launch week-long nature programs (modified for COVID-19 safety) throughout the fall, including in-person outdoor activities at local parks, guided family hikes, self-guided family camping and Zoom discussions with a mix of live activities and nature videos.

Midpen’s grantmaking program began in 2019, providing funds to seven local nonprofit and research organizations, including Vida Verde. The grantmaking program allows Midpen to support and strengthen our partnerships with local organizations that further community-wide understanding and protection of the natural world and provide people of all ages with outdoor access and interpretive and educational experiences.


The grant application period is now closed. To receive information about our next round of funding, please sign-up for our email list below.


A total of $250,000 in grant funding was available in FY18-19. 

Eligible Organizations

Eligible applicants must be a public agency, K-12 school or academic institution, or non-profit organization (501(c)(3). 

Project Location

Projects without a field work component need not take place within the Midpen’s boundaries but all projects must support Midpen’s mission. All proposed field work must take place on Midpen preserves and transportation-related projects must be to and from Midpen preserves.

How to apply

The grant application period is now closed. For more information on the previous application cycle, refer to the FY18-19 Grantmaking Solicitation. Please sign up for the grantmaking program interest list below to receive notifications about our next solicitation.

Questions and Contact

For questions, please contact Deborah Hirst, Grants Program Manager, at 650-625-6507

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