Melinda Gray Ardia Environmental Foundation: Grants for STEM Education


OVERVIEW: Melinda Gray Ardia Environmental Foundation grants combine K-12 classroom learning with hands-on scientifically rigorous field study projects that focus on ecology and conservation.

IP TAKE:  This small but passionate foundation seeks to make a larger impact in the field of environmental education and conservation and prioritizes projects based upon scientific principles. It selects projects to support by using its namesake’s legacy as a guide, so new grantseekers should familiarize themselves with Melinda Gray Ardia’s work.

PROFILE: The Melinda Gray Ardia Environmental Foundation was established in memory of Melinda Gray Ardia, “a biologist, an environmental activist, and a middle school science teacher.” It is important for grantseekers to look over what Melinda stood for because her interests form the tenets of the foundation’s grantmaking. In fact, of one past grant that went directly to a classroom teacher, the foundation stated that its recipient “reminded us of Melinda.”

Broadly speaking, all of the environmental education programs supported by this foundation strongly reflect Melinda’s work and interests. In its annual funding of Environmental Curricula Grants, the foundation seeks projects that rigorously apply the scientific method, integrate classroom and field learning, address ecological issues, and empower students to draw their own conclusions.

This small but passionate foundation gives a small number of grants annually, generally ranging up to $1,500. The foundation's past grantees include the teacher mentioned above (for her 6th graders to study streamside stabilization), a Colorado-based after-school program for disadvantaged students, and at least two international awards (in Cambodia and Costa Rica).

For K-12 environmental education programs operating out of Newark, Clarence, or Buffalo in New York, the foundation also funds a program that sends students to two different environmental education camps.

The application is a two-step process with a very quick turnaround. Its first step, a one-page “pre-proposal” is due by an annual deadline set each year by the foundation. For grantseekers invited to continue to the next stage, a more involved second step is due a mere two weeks later.  

The foundation also provides helpful grantwriting advice for potential applicants.