Grant Guidelines


  • The Shield-Ayres Foundation funds organizations with programs that serve the communities of Bexar and Travis counties in Central Texas. Proposals from organizations working in other areas of Texas, the United States, or internationally are by invitation-only. You can view our funding priorities here. Within our environmental priority area, the Foundation focuses on the Edwards Plateau, the Gulf Coast, and the Trans Pecos regions of Texas. We also consider requests from conservation organizations working statewide in the areas of environmental education and public policy. Proposals from organizations working nationally or internationally are by invitation-only.
  • Organizations are eligible to apply to the Shield-Ayres Foundation once in a twelve-month period, regardless of the approval status of the organization’s last application.
  • Organizations are eligible to receive grants from the Shield-Ayres Foundation for up to three consecutive years.
  • Following a third, consecutive year of funding, grantees are asked to sit out for a full year. Effectively this means waiting 24 months following their most recent application before applying to the Foundation again. If the third consecutive year of funding was paid out during our fall 2023 grant cycle, the grantee would next be eligible to apply in our fall 2025 grant cycle (skipping the fall 2024 cycle).
  • The Foundation will consider multi-year commitments of up to three years. In order to be considered for multi-year funding, the case for multi-year funding should be made clearly in the proposal. We typically do not consider multi-year funding for organizations that we are funding for the first time.
  • The Foundation considers grants for the following expenses: capital campaign, endowment, program, capacity building, or unrestricted operating expenses.
  • Please note that the Shield-Ayres Foundation may elect to fund select organizations more than once in a twelve month period, or for more than three consecutive years, on an invitation-only basis.

Organizations or programs generally not eligible:

  • The Foundation does not lend or grant money to individuals.
  • The Foundation does not make grants intended to support candidates for political office.
  • The Foundation does not grant money to private foundations.

Application, Decision, and Notification Timeline

The Shield-Ayres Foundation has moved to a two-stage, electronic application process. Letters of Inquiry (LOIs) can be submitted at any time; however, LOIs must be received by February 15 and August 15 to be considered at the first and third quarterly Board of Directors meetings, respectively (generally held in March and September).

The Foundation will review all inquiries and provide an emailed response within two weeks following the Board meeting at which your LOI is reviewed – either a denial, a request for further information, or an invitation to submit a full grant proposal. Only those applicants who have received a favorable response to their LOI will be able to access the application to submit a full grant proposal. Full proposals are reviewed at the second and fourth quarterly Board meetings (generally held in June and December).

Please know that the Foundation is unable to fund all worthwhile requests. Since we receive funding requests far in excess of our funds available for grants, only a portion of received requests can be approved. A decision not to fund a request is typically not a reflection on the value of the applicant or program, but a result of limited resources.