On April 11, 2022, the Biden administration launched the $1 billion “America the Beautiful” Challenge, which will fund locally led ecosystem restoration and conservation projects throughout the United States.
The Challenge aligns with Biden’s “America the Beautiful” Initiative, which seeks to conserve 30% of United States water and land by 2030. The administration released an initial report on the initiative in May 2021 which outlined the key principles of America the Beautiful. Projects must serve one of the following key areas of need:
- Conserving and restoring rivers, coasts, wetlands, and watersheds
- Conserving and restoring forests, grasslands, and other important ecosystems that serve as carbon sinks
- Connecting and reconnecting wildlife corridors, large landscapes, watersheds, and seascapes
- Improving ecosystem and community resilience to coastal flooding, drought, and other climate-related threats
- Expanding access to the outdoors, particularly in underserved communities
An initial commitment of $440 million of Federal Resources will kickstart the Challenge and be administered by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. A major portion of the initial funding was implemented through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law which passed in November of 2021.
The Challenge has a “one-stop-shop” competitive grant application process, coordinating funding from several Federal agencies and private philanthropy. This streamlines the process for States, Tribes, territories, local groups, and NGOs to apply.
The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation will set aside funding specifically to support Tribal Nations’ efforts, and “applications will be encouraged to prioritize projects that uplift Tribal and Indigenous-led efforts.” In 2022, the America the Beautiful Challenge expects to award at least 10% of all funding to Tribal grants. The Challenge is also aligned with the Justice40 Initiative, which aims to deliver 40 percent of the overall benefits of Federal investments in climate and clean energy to disadvantaged communities.
This year alone, $85 million is allocated to the America the Beautiful Challenge. The Request for Proposals on the Challenge was released May 4, 2022. The Proposal Due Date is Thursday, July 21, 2022. For more information, refer to the applicant tip sheet, and attend their Applicant Webinar on Thursday, May 19. Stay tuned in our Policy Series for updates.