Grants are awarded twice annually. Preliminary grant applications are due March 1 (Spring Grants) and September 15 (Fall Grants), and final grant decisions are typically made in May and November. Please read through application process for specific instructions on submitting a grant proposal.

Grants from the Wharton Trust are usually one-time awards for amounts up to, but no larger than, $15,000. However, the Trustees and Advisors are willing to make larger multi-year grants for important acquisitions of land for conservation purposes.


The Trust only makes grants to organizations as described in paragraph (1) or (2) of Section 509(a) of the Internal Revenue Code (i.e., a publicly supported charity or a governmental unit). The Trust does not make grants to individuals or organizations classified as a private foundation.

Grant monies must be used directly on the project described in the application. In the case of a grant awarded for direct land conservation, monies must be applied to the actual purchase price of the land or conservation easement/restriction and/or to relevant direct costs only, which may include appraisals, legal fees, closing costs, boundary surveys, environmental assessments, and/or ecological assessments.

Grant monies may not be:


The objective of the Wharton Trust is to support projects where the Trust’s grant is likely to make a significant difference and where the hoped-for results will be tangible, promptly accomplished, and long-lasting.

The Trust generally does not support long-term projects, projects that will only impact a small area or population, or projects that are so large that a grant from the Trust would comprise only a small fraction of the total project funding.

Applicants are encouraged to provide evidence that a project has a strong likelihood of success. However, the Trust also aims to support innovative projects and the Trustees recognize that the success of such projects is less certain.

The Wharton Trust is more likely to support a project if a grant from the Trust will help to attract & secure matching funds from other private & public sources. Additionally, the Trust looks to make grants to projects that involve the coordination of multiple organizations, both public and private, to meet common conservation goals. If a grant application is for an acquisition of land, note that the Trustees will generally give preference to those projects where a conservation restriction (CR) will be placed on the acquired land.

The Trust generally does not give grants for seminars, educational meetings or programs for youth below college level. Exceptions may be considered if the seminar or program is focused on specific environmental objectives that, in the Trustees’ and Advisors' judgment, are likely to be implemented by participants in the near future.

While the Wharton Trust's grants are normally not intended to provide general operating support, a small struggling organization with innovative ideas stands a far better chance of receiving such a grant.