You must be logged in to apply.  New ZoomGrants™ Account
Parks and Nature
Parks and Nature
2023 Nature in Neighborhoods community stewardship and restoration grants
CLOSED  Deadline  1/25/2024
View Open Programs  |  Hide DescriptionHide Minimum QualificationsHide Purpose and Goals Show Contact Admin

Description  [hide this]

NATURE IN NEIGHBORHOODS COMMUNITY GRANTS 2021 community stewardship and restoration grants 

For nearly two decades, Metro has provided grants for conservation, stewardship, nature education and other programs and projects that connect people to nature and respond to community innovations. Metro’s investments in improving urban ecology, restoring habitat, addressing inequities in the conservation movement, and enhancing economic opportunities and connection back to land for communities of color continues, thanks to the voters’ renewal of Metro’s five-year parks and natural areas levy in 2016 and 2022.

Funding for the 2023 community stewardship and restoration grants funding cycle is set at $750,000. The final slate of proposals recommended for funding will include a mix of small, medium, and large grants. Small grants have a maximum award of $50,000, medium grants have a maximum award of $75,000, and large grants have a maximum award of $100,000. These grants are currently offered every other year; this is the first community stewardship and restoration grant opportunity of the 2022 levy renewal.

Please see the 2023 Nature in Neighborhoods community stewardship and restoration handbook on the Nature in Neighborhoods website for guidance and details.

If you have questions about your application or grant, please contact Karissa Lowe, program manager 360.261.4683 or

Do you have questions about ZoomGrants? Use the Help button at the top of the page. For more information, please visit ZoomGrants University or contact the Help Desk at .

To ensure that you are receiving emails about your grant, please add to your “safe senders list” the email address

Minimum Qualifications  [hide this]

Who may apply?

Community groups, watershed councils, collectives, neighborhood associations, nonprofits, faith groups and service groups with nonprofit or other tax exempt status, or with a fiscal sponsor who has that status may apply. Metro is not eligible to apply for or receive grant funds.

The community stewardship and restoration grants are intended to support community-driven initiatives and programs. Partnerships are key to a competitive proposal because this is a requirement stated in the 2013 local option levy, and because partnerships can facilitate innovation, collaboration, solidarity, accountability and communal or collective approaches to climate justice and racial equity.  These grants are intended to benefit people of all ages and abilities from all backgrounds. Organizations are encouraged to submit applications for projects benefitting, designed by, and led by Black and Indigenous communities, communities of color and other historically and continually marginalized groups. For example, a project designed by members from historically and continually marginalized communities would demonstrate that they are involved in decision-making, project planning, implementation, outreach activities and evaluation. Applicants may seek funding for “shovel ready” projects or for projects that are in earlier planning phases.

Examples of past grantees:  Past grant recipients have planted native species at Ross Island, improved water quality and amphibian habitat in Willow Creek, and restored habitat at the Sandy River Delta for fish, migrating birds and turtles – all while engaging local residents in being stewards of their local natural areas.


Nature in Neighborhood grants support community innovation and collaboration. Successful applications typically involve multiple partners actively engaged in leveraging their skills and financial or in-kind services in order to facilitate the program. Partnerships should center racial equity and lead to creative approaches that address multiple social, economic, and ecological needs and desires from the community. Therefore, this grant program requires each application to have at least three partners (including the lead applicant). Applicants may partner in multiple grant applications.

Project Requirements

  • Projects must address at least one of the program goals (see below).
  • Projects require at least three partners (including the lead applicant). Applicants may partner in multiple grant applications (doing so has no impact on a project’s competitiveness).
  • After being awarded the grant, projects must be completed within 36 months (3 years).
  • Metro allows the use of fiscal agents for groups that don’t have 501(c) (3) status or another tax exempt status.


  • Detailed financial information will be requested as part of the full application. If you would like additional information about overhead costs before that stage, please contact Karissa Lowe, Community Grants Program Manager,, 360-261-4683.


  • Projects must occur on publicly-owned or permanently protected lands, such as land trust property, within the metropolitan-area urban growth boundary or Metro’s jurisdictional boundary, with a few exceptions.
    • Projects on private land must be able to show a clear public and environmental benefit.
  • Projects may occur at Metro sites; however, Metro may not receive grant funding.
  • All projects must benefit Metro-region residents.
  • Projects cannot take the place of required mitigation or penalty payments or result in direct profit or proprietary resources.
  • All projects must have written landowner permission at the time of full application.

Purpose and Goals  [hide this]

All applications must clearly meet the grant program’s overall purpose.


Community stewardship and restoration grants support and create partnerships in local communities that improve water quality, fish and wildlife habitat and connect people with nature.


Goal 1: Improve water quality, fish and wildlife habitat

These grants will preserve and restore fish and wildlife habitat in local communities and support larger environmental justice and conservation initiatives such as the Oregon State Conservation Strategy, Regional Conservation Strategy, Watershed Action Plans or local community plans.

This grants program centers historically and continually marginalized communities like Black and Indigenous communities, communities of color, and other marginalized groups.  Organizations are encouraged to submit applications that incorporate the priorities, cultural practices, and perspectives of BIPOC communities and other marginalized groups (ex: Indigenous Traditional Cultural Knowledge, services offered in languages other than English, food sovereignty, environmental justice work, increasing accessibility). For more information on how this program defines restoration, please review the land uses outlined in the Regional Conservation Strategy: Community Stewardship in Developed Areas and Restoration in Natural Areas.  

Community Stewardship in Developed Areas refers to community stewardship and restoration in developed areas (urban or suburban) in greater Portland. These grants are designed to invest in communities by building capacity for and strengthening stewardship of local natural areas. They typically have the greatest community collaboration and provide the best opportunity for transformational partnership and engagement.

Restoration in Natural Areas refers to restoration in protected and/or larger intact natural areas in greater Portland. These grants will support execution and/or development of restoration projects that meet local, regional, state and/or federal conservation, water quality and habitat restoration goals. Based on the location and habitat types, these projects will include a range of community engagement/community building/community led/community inspired activities, which may or may not provide individual or hands-on restoration activities involving community members or volunteers.

Examples of project strategies and activities:

  • Increase the health of the overall urban landscape for native species and people. Address environmental justice and our region’s history of displacement.
  • Promote stewardship of wildlife on urban landscapes and reduce human-wildlife conflicts.
  • Reduce hazards to wildlife and humans.
  • Remove invasive species and enhance native vegetation.
  • Support climate change adaptation and climate resiliency
  • Improve regional habitat connectivity. Increase urban tree canopy.
  • Expand access to first foods and other culturally significant plants and wildlife.
  • Expand access to parks and other outdoor natural areas.
  • Restore ecological processes and functions in natural areas.
  • Engage and support a variety of local approaches, and ways of knowing and being.
  • Focus on multiple key habitats and species.

Goal 2: Community collaboration and accountability

Create, support, and/or deepen partnerships in local communities by connecting people to nature and centering the needs of these communities; increase people’s awareness of the need for – and benefits of – protecting and stewarding natural areas; center racial equity and support communities (with priority given to BIPOC communities and communities most affected by white supremacy culture) in teaching and learning about, restoring, and experiencing the region’s natural areas.

Strategies for community engagement fall on a spectrum from deep, personal engagement to outreach via mass media, but should aim for transformational partnerships rather than transactional information sharing. A wide variety of activities and levels of engagement may meet this goal. One size does not fit all and the goals of the project and communities’ needs, aspirations, and skills should determine the approach and type of activities.

Examples of project strategies and activities:

  • One-on-one personal connection (e.g. involve multiple community members in project design, implementation and/or outreach, community participation in hands-on restoration projects, organizing, workforce development, and mentoring).
  • Outreach and/or marketing (e.g. social and mass media, group discussions, interpretive signs, mailings, project and/or site tours).
    • Collaborate with communities of color and other historically and continually marginalized groups to develop shared learning about environmental justice priorities and practices, and follow their direction to restore, experience and connect with nature.
    • Provide information, advertising, or other promotions so that residents can more easily learn where natural areas are located, how to access them, and what to do there.
  • Increase the capacity of, and support for, organizations or businesses that are led by, organize with and/or employ people of color and/or other historically and continually marginalized communities in habitat restoration or local park and natural area land stewardship activities. Examples of capacity and support building activities include technical assistance, professional or leadership development, or stipends/compensation to participate in project design and/or implementation.
  • Expand partnerships with local and/or regional community-based organizations to support increased stewardship of local natural areas, fish and wildlife habitat.
  • Intentional involvement of the community in restoration and stewardship efforts, contributing to community members’ sense of connection back to natural areas, providing opportunities to learn from and educate local users, residents, and nearby school populations.
  • Training on trauma informed care for natural and water resource professionals and community members who interact with people experiencing houselessness. Learning from houseless communities about their needs and desires to be in relationship with nature. Facilitating transformational, equity centered, trauma-informed approaches to address safety and provide resources for houseless communities to be in relationship nature.

Goal 3: Economic and environmental equity

The community stewardship and restoration grants help address inequities in the conservation movement. The grants provide outdoor, environmental, and natural resources; economic opportunities; direct access to protected natural areas; and the positive impacts of clean land, air and water to Black communities, Indigenous communities, communities of color and other historically and continually marginalized groups in greater Portland. (You can read how Metro operationalizes racial equity, diversity and inclusion at or  Please consider those resources as information only. They are not intended as guidance for your application.)

Examples of project strategies and activities:

  • Provide social and economic benefits to Black communities, Indigenous communities, communities of color and other historically and continually marginalized communities beyond the specific project scope or original design.
  • Increase the number and improve the experience of visitors, staff and programs at natural areas representing diverse racial, ethnic and cultural groups and other historically and continually marginalized groups. Provide opportunities to communities of color and other historically and continually marginalized groups to learn about, guide, and have decision-making power in how agencies and communities manage and care for the land and create opportunities to care for trails, harvest seeds or plant native plants. Improve accessibility to and within natural areas for elders, people with disabilities and communities of color.
  • Include workforce development goals for partner organizations or programs, including internships or career pathways programs. Shift power to create possibility for equity in career pathways, hiring, retention, and educational opportunities. Prepare program participants for their next opportunity and help them connect with it.
  • Work with and shift power to Indigenous communities to protect, preserve and access culturally significant land; salmon, steelhead and lamprey habitats; and native plants.
  • Include work with Black communities, Indigenous communities, and/or communities of color and other historically and continually marginalized communities on anti-displacement and housing security.
  • Provide economic opportunities for Black communities, Indigenous communities, and/or communities of color and other marginalized communities in the construction of natural area improvements, restoration or community stewardship projects by working with COBID-certified firms and hiring and training a local workforce. (COBID is the State of Oregon Certification Office of Business Inclusion and Diversity.)

For examples of past project that address these goals, please see the 2023 Nature in Neighborhoods community stewardship and restoration handbook on the Nature in Neighborhoods website.

Library  [hide this]

$ 0.00 requested
Application Status: Not Submitted

You must be logged in to begin.
Program Summary Pre-Application Questions Budget Scope of Work Document Uploads Activity Log

Program Summary (answers are saved automatically when you move to another field)
Instructions Show/Hide

Program Name
Amount Requested
Up to $50,000 for smaller projects, up to $75,000 for medium projects, and up to $100,000 for larger projects; one, two or three year projects
Estimated Match

Applicant Information

First Name
Last Name
Organization Information
(changes to this data will be reflected on all other applications for this organization)

Create an Organization