Leadership Grants

Leadership Grants advance the skills and leadership capacity of Switzer Fellows and connect organizations with experts in environmental science, policy, and justice.

Leadership Grants are awarded to nonprofit organizations to create a leadership position or project for a Switzer Fellow that actively advances environmental improvement. Grant projects may address any environmental issue; however, there must be a clear partnership between the fellow and the organization that accomplishes three things:

  1. Advances the leadership skills, expertise, and professional career of a Switzer Fellow;
  2. Achieves near-term measurable improvement on a specific environmental issue through the work of the Switzer Fellow; and
  3. Builds the long-term capacity of the organization to effectively address the environmental issue.

One-year grants of up to $60,000 are considered. Projects must involve Switzer Fellows in a substantive leadership role. Fellows may be employed as full- or part-time staff, or on a contractual or consulting basis, as long as the project is designed to utilize and advance the fellow's expertise and leadership on the issue. Funds are awarded to the organization, which is responsible for advising and mentoring the fellow toward achieving their professional goals.

Curious what makes a good Leadership Grant?


Leadership Grants are most appropriate for new projects in which a Switzer Fellow's expertise can contribute to near-term impact, or for creating a new position for a Switzer Fellow. Funds may be used to cover direct program costs, including salaries and benefits, consulting fees, travel, materials and equipment. Up to 15% of overhead recovery will be considered. Applicant organizations are expected to provide matching funds.

The foundation currently awards one-year grants. In some cases, requests for a second year of funding are accepted; however, the applicant organization is expected to demonstrate substantial progress toward project goals and an increasing cost-share over time.

Leadership Grants may support a project in an organization where a fellow is already employed. Such requests may be considered if the project will significantly elevate the fellow's leadership role in the organization and take their work in a substantial new direction with clear environmental benefits.

For projects in which the fellow will be based at a college or university, advance communication with foundation staff is required. Please be advised that projects which create new institutes, research centers, or educational programs are not eligible for leadership grant funding. Only those projects in which fellows will make a significant contribution to policy or practice beyond the university will be considered.

Fellows may receive a maximum of three years of funding through the Leadership Grant program in one or more projects throughout their careers. Organizations may only submit one concept letter per grant cycle and may receive a maximum of one grant per year.

Who Can Apply

U.S.-based nonprofit 501(c) (3) organizations with public charity status, public agencies and educational institutions that propose to employ a Switzer Fellow in a substantive leadership role are eligible to apply. See Recent Recipients for a summary of organizations that have received Leadership Grants in the past. The project or position must have an applied focus that will yield positive environmental change. Support for fellows doing international work may be considered as long as a U.S.-based host organization is the grantee and all other criteria are met.

How to Apply