Washington, D.C. — Today, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation announced the inaugural recipients of the America the Beautiful Challenge grant program. Launched by the White House in April 2022, the program coordinates resources from multiple federal agencies and philanthropic partners through a one-stop-shop grant process to help meet the goals of President Joe Biden’s America the Beautiful initiative. This includes conserving and restoring ecosystems and equitably connecting people and nature through collaborative, locally led projects.
In its first year, the America the Beautiful Challenge received 527 applications for $1.1 billion in projects, exceeding available funding by more than an 11-to-1 ratio. Of those projects, 133 proposals, or approximately one-quarter, were from Tribal nations. In response, Drew McConville, senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, issued the following statement:
Today’s announcement showcases the innovation, vision, and potential of conservation led by local and Tribal leaders. By supporting these solutions to conserve and restore America’s lands and waters, the Biden administration and its partners are making good on a promise to stand with communities as they tackle the loss of nature, climate change, and inequitable access to the outdoors.
But with the threats to nature accelerating and demand vastly outstripping available funding, the projects funded today are just a start. If America is going to conserve its natural assets before it’s too late, government and philanthropic leaders need to dig deeper and fund conservation projects at a scale that matches the urgency of this moment.
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