Holden Grants

Holden Grant deadline to apply is October 15, 2019


Generous Bequest from the estate of Roberta “Polly” Holden

Through a generous bequest from the estate of Roberta “Polly” Holden, a long-time resident of the Hopewell Valley and supporter of environmental causes, Washington Crossing Audubon Society has been able to establish a small grants program to assist individuals and organizations in advancing conservation, environmental education and research through initiatives broadly related to birdlife.


  • A total of approximately $20,000 per year is available from the fund.
  • Individual grants will be capped at $5,000.
  • Applications are due by October 15, 2019.
  • Grant applications will be reviewed by the WCAS Grants Committee, which will provide recommendations to the full WCAS board by December 15.
  • The full board will make the final decision at the January board meeting, and grants will be announced by February 1.

Individuals and organizations wishing to apply for a grant should submit an application that supplies the information as outlined below (with supporting material as appropriate) by October 15, 2019 to [email protected]


  • Holden Grants are not given for profit making projects. Holden Funds will not be awarded for the applying organization’s operating costs, including staff salary, stipends, or transportation.
  • The Holden Grant Committee does not preview grant applications.
  • If the proposal is funded, recipients will be required to submit a report on the project upon its conclusion and to present a poster on the project at the next October WCAS public meeting.

Statement of Purpose

Holden Grants are for conservation and conservation education. The grants emphasize, but are not limited to, three main areas: habitat protection and restoration, avian monitoring and conservation, and public awareness and education. Twenty-five percent of the bird species found in the United States are of conservation concern, with many of these species declining at an unsustainable rate. Habitat loss, degradation, and fragmentation are the major factors in this decline. Since the majority of species that are declining unsustainably are Nearctic-neotropical migrants, projects related to both the breeding grounds and wintering grounds are considered. Areas with robust bird numbers and diversity of species are indicators of a healthy, dynamic ecosystem. Thus monitoring bird populations is a time and cost effective way of assessing over-all environmental health, justifying our emphasis on bird conservation. However, the program also encourages grants that address conservation concerns related to other threatened taxa or preserving overall biodiversity. The grants also recognize the importance of education in reconnecting people with the natural world and thereby building a stronger base of advocates for conservation.

Holden Grant Guidelines

Holden Grants are available to individuals or non-profit groups for conservation projects or conservation education.   Profit making projects are not considered for Holden Grants. Each proposal will be evaluated for its effect on preserving biodiversity with emphasis on bird populations, other threatened and habitat quality. Conservation projects should enhance biodiversity by improving, protecting, or restoring habitat or by gathering information that would allow more informed decisions to be made about conservation. Priority is given to habitat restoration projects that impact areas of conservation importance, including Important Bird Areas, and species of conservation concern, including Audubon Watch list species. For example, the Sourland Mountains, including Baldpate Mountain, would be an area of conservation concern because of its high biodiversity and the presence of flora and fauna not found elsewhere in our area, including the highest concentration of breeding Nearctic-neotropical migrants in Central New Jersey.

A good conservation education project should enhance the understanding and appreciation of the natural world, including the importance of protecting biodiversity. Priority is given to projects that expose young people to their local natural history and/or involve them in hands-on conservation projects.

Other factors that may be considered are community involvement in the project and financial leveraging. Holden Grants will not be awarded for operating costs, including salary, stipends, or transportation.

Please provide the following with your application

  • Name of Individual/Organization
  • Contact Information
  • Address
  • Telephone No.
  • E-mail


  • What is the project objective?
  • What need will the project fill? What is the benefit?
  • Describe the project. Include how the project will proceed and who is in charge.
  • What qualifications do you have? What past experience does the organization have?
  • How will you evaluate the project? If the project will continue, how will it be funded?
  • Provide a timeline and a budget.

Optional Holden downloads (same as above):

Holden supports a Bluebird Festival

The 2016 Holden Grant recipients

D & R Greenway $4,950
Friends of Hopewell Valley Open Space $5,000
Friends of Taylor Wildlife Reserve $3,525
NJ Audubon $1,640
NJ Conservation Foundation $5,000
Splash $1,365
                   Total $21,480

D & R Greenway: to place interpretive signs at three of their preserves, Cider Mill Grassland Preserve, Sourland Ecosystem Preserve, and Cedar Ridge Preserve, which are grassland, interior forest, and mixed fields and woods, respectively.

Friends of Hopewell Valley Open Space: to help fund a Agkistrodon contortrix mokasen radio tracking research project at Baldpate Mountain to search for a den or dens of this species of conservation concern.

Friends of Taylor Wildlife Reserve: for materials for a boardwalk extension to make a Taylor Wildlife Preserve marsh trail more accessible to birders.

NJ Audubon: to continue improving the Plainsboro Preserve for Eastern Bluebirds and for continuing their five-year Bluebird box monitoring program.

NJ Conservation Foundation: for photographic equipment to make a short film on Red Knots, part of a series of short films for education purposes, called The Creature Show. The photographic equipment will also be used for future episodes of The Creature Show.

Splash: to buy optical equipment, binoculars and a spotting scope and tripod, for a children’s Birding on the Delaware River class offered on their floating classroom, Splash.