Partners in Conservation (PIC) Grants

The Partners in Conservation (PIC) program provides funding to support conservation projects and conservation education in the EMSWCD service area.

The PIC program awards grants annually from $5,000 to $100,000 to non-profits, local governments, educational institutions, and Native American tribes, for projects up to two years in duration. In order to be eligible for funding, projects or events must be located within the EMSWCD service area (all Multnomah County east of the Willamette River) or serve its residents. Projects must show a clear public benefit in one or more of the following: environmental education, soil erosion prevention/control, soil health, water quality, water conservation, watershed health, and/or habitat restoration.

We specifically encourage projects that are led by, engage or benefit Black, Indigenous and other people of color, low-income communities, or other historically marginalized groups.

Apply for a PIC grant

The 2023 PIC Grant application cycle is scheduled to open in Fall 2022. Subscribe to our email list to get our announcement.

In April 2022 our Board of Directors approved a recommendation from our Grant Review Committee to fund proposals from 14 organizations – including several first-time applicants! The successful applications focus on sustainable agriculture and community gardens, garden education programs, habitat restoration and conservation education, while also advancing our goal of building the capacity and structures necessary for equitable conservation outcomes. A variety of community-led projects serving diverse communities, youth and families will receive funding.

For general information on applying for a grant, please take a look at the 2022 PIC Guidelines.

Questions? please contact our Grants Program Manager, Heather Nelson Kent at or give her a call at 503-935-5370.

Learn more about the PIC Grants program

Find out everything you need to know about who we fund, what sorts of projects we fund, funding amounts and more below. You can download the new 2022 PIC Guidelines here, which contain more detailed information about the goals of the program and general instructions. Past grants awarded and other PIC-related documents can be found here.

Funding amounts

PIC grants may be awarded for projects up to two years in duration.

The minimum grant award is $5,000 and the maximum is $100,000.

For grants up to $10,000, no matching funds are required. For grants over $10,000 we require the applicant to secure at least a 1:1 match of in kind and/or cash funding from other sources to support the project.

For grants up to $30,000 the match funding requirement can be waived for applicants that meet one of the following criteria:

  • The organization has been in operation for less than three years, OR
  • The organization has not received a PIC grant before, OR
  • The organization’s annual operating budget is less than $250,000

Payment for approved expenses will be made by EMSWCD on a reimbursement basis. Applicants can request an up-front payment of up to 30% of the total grant award amount.

Eligible applicants include:

  • Non-profit 501(c)(3) organizations
  • Non-profit entities without 501(c)(3) status that retain a qualified fiscal agent
  • Educational institutions
  • Government agencies
  • Native American tribes

Examples of projects eligible for funding include:

  • On-the-ground restoration or conservation projects
  • Sustainable agriculture or gardening projects
  • Pollution prevention projects
  • Sustainable stormwater management projects
  • Engineering of a conservation project
  • Environmental monitoring of habitat conditions
  • Environmental education of youth and/or adults
  • Building organizational capacity for conservation efforts.

Not sure about whether PIC grants are suitable for your project? Here is more information along with sample projects in the highlight box below:


We know it is sometimes helpful to see samples of successful applications. Here are two applications from the 2020 PIC cycle for projects that ranked high and were funded by EMSWCD. Please note that some of the application questions have been modified for 2022 PIC.

  • Ecotrust sample application Food Systems Leadership Fellowships
    As a two-year project, the Food Systems Leadership Fellowship program trains 10-15 local food systems leaders of color. This training program aims to build these leaders’ capacity to develop and implement regenerative agriculture projects that promote growing practices rooted in conservation and restoration.
  • Friends of Trees sample applicationAdult Urban Forestry and Restoration Training and Internship Program
    Friends of Trees organized and hosted a paid ten week adult training program focusing on urban forestry and restoration related topics. Over 15 participants attended weekly trainings and at completion were connected with a 100-hour paid internship with a local leader doing urban forestry or restoration related-work.

EMSWCD values the diversity of our residents as an integral part of the success of our programs and our organization. We are committed to learning how to best ensure equitable conservation benefits. Through our Grants Program, we look to support projects that further opportunities for our region’s diverse populations to participate and help shape conservation efforts.



Contact our Grants Program Manager, Heather Nelson Kent: