Grant Programs Overview

The Robert and Patricia Switzer Foundation has four environmental grant programs that aim to identify and support environmental leaders.  The cornerstone of all of our programs is the Switzer Environmental Fellowship that selects at least 20 new Switzer Fellows each year.  Switzer Fellows have access to all other grant programs – the Leadership Grant Program provides support to nonprofits and public agencies that work in partnership with Switzer Fellows when they have completed their studies, the Switzer Network Innovation Grants program supports collaboration among Switzer Fellows, and finally, Professional Development Grants offer small grants for Fellows to obtain professional development training or attend conferences that support defined goals for career advancement.

The goal of the Switzer Environmental Fellowship Program is to support graduate students who have a commitment to improving environmental quality and who demonstrate leadership in their field.  The Fellowship provides a one-year $15,000 award for academic expenses as well as networking and leadership support.  Only the most active, committed and focused individuals will compete successfully to join the network of over 500 Fellows selected since 1986.  Twenty Environmental Fellowships are awarded each year, ten in California and ten in New England.  Candidates compete separately for Fellowships in New England and California.  The application period opens in the fall and interviews for finalists are held in May.

The Switzer Leadership Grant Program is designed to advance the professional careers of Switzer Fellows and to give non-profit organizations, educational institutions and government agencies access to individuals with superior technical, scientific or policy expertise, while working in partnership to build the Fellow’s leadership skills.  Leadership Grant Projects may address any environmental issue, however, there must be a clear partnership between the Fellow and the non-profit agency that utilizes the Fellow’s expertise to build capacity for the organization and address a critical environmental issue.  Grants may support salary and project expenses for the Fellow of up to $40,000 for one year.  Only Fellows who have completed their graduate studies are eligible for this program.  Grant requests will be considered twice yearly, in spring and fall.

The Switzer Network Innovation Grants program is designed to foster collaboration among Fellows, tapping the Switzer Fellowship Network's collective potential for innovation and action to advance progress on an issue.  This will be achieved by facilitating Fellow dialogue on an issue and, if needed, provide funding for Fellow-led collaborative efforts.

The Professional Development Fund aims to support and facilitate the professional development and career advancement of Switzer Fellows.  Professional Development Grants are primarily for Fellows that are professionally employed or continuing their graduate studies towards improvement of environmental quality and conditions.  The Foundation will respond to individual requests for professional development support of up to $500.  Grants may be used for Fellow participation in conferences, professional meetings or trainings that will advance the Fellow’s career.