The Biden-Harris Administration launched a $1 billion America the Beautiful Challenge this week that will leverage Federal conservation and restoration investments with private and philanthropic contributions to accelerate land, water, and wildlife conservation efforts across the country.

The America the Beautiful Challenge is anchored by an initial commitment of $440 million of Federal resources over the next five years to a new public-private grant program, administered by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), that will support locally led ecosystem restoration projects that invest in watershed restoration, resilience, equitable access, workforce development, corridors and connectivity, and collaborative conservation, consistent with the America the Beautiful Initiative. The historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is a major source of the initial Federal investments for the America the Beautiful Challenge.

Through the America the Beautiful Challenge, NFWF will leverage initial Federal commitments from the Department of the Interior (DOI), Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the Department of Defense (DOD) to raise additional philanthropic and private support, with the goal of directing at least $1 billion in grants to communities over the next five years.

A broad coalition of philanthropic leaders sent a letter thanking the Biden-Harris Administration for setting an ambitious and inclusive conservation vision through the America the Beautiful Initiative, applauding the launch of the America the Beautiful Challenge, and reaffirming their commitment to help the administration realize its vision. Signers of the letter include:

  • 444S Foundation
  • Harold K.L. Castle Foundation
  • The Christensen Fund
  • Conservation Alliance
  • Doris Duke Charitable Foundation
  • Edgerton Foundation
  • William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
  • The Holocene Foundation
  • The J.M. Kaplan Fund
  • Lazar Foundation
  • Merck Family Fund
  • Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation
  • Liz Claiborne & Art Ortenberg Foundation
  • David & Lucile Packard Foundation
  • Patagonia
  • William Penn Foundation
  • The Pew Charitable Trusts
  • REI Co-op
  • Resources Legacy Fund
  • Volgenau Foundation
  • Walton Family Foundation
  • Water Foundation
  • Wilburforce Foundation
  • The Wyss Foundation

In addition to support from philanthropic groups, business interests, hunting, fishing, outdoor recreation, equity and conservation communities applauded the America the Beautiful Challenge.

See below for what they’re saying:

Kirin Kennedy, Sierra Club Director for People and Lands Policy: “We welcome the Biden Administration reaffirming their commitment to the 30×30 initiative. The science is clear – we must protect 30% of all lands and waters in this country if we are going to take on the intersecting challenges of the climate crisis, biodiversity crisis, and nature equity gap. Key to achieving that is the diverse, locally driven conservation projects the America the Beautiful Challenge will support. To fulfill the 30×30 initiative, we need to protect more lands and waters in the next decade than we did in the previous century. Today’s announcement could not come any sooner.” [Statement, 4/11/22] 

Jennifer Rokala, Center for Western Priorities Executive Director: “Kudos to President Biden and Interior Secretary Haaland for giving this boost to locally-driven conservation efforts. Protecting 30 percent of America’s lands and waters by the end of the decade can only be accomplished through partnerships and knowledge on the ground in all 50 states. This billion-dollar commitment shows the administration is on the right track to reaching 30×30.” [Statement, 4/12/22]

Ben Alexandro, Senior Government Affairs Advocate, League of Conservation Voters: “The America the Beautiful Challenge is an exciting step forward to accelerate the locally-led conservation and restoration of our public lands, water, and wildlife and an example of the public-private partnerships that will help us meet and exceed the goal of protecting 30% of our lands and waters by 2030 (30×30). We applaud the Biden-Harris administration for continuing to build an inclusive and resilient conservation legacy by championing locally-led initiatives to protect places with incredible cultural, historic and ecological resources before it is too late. We also applaud the local leaders, Tribal Nations, farmers and ranchers, hunters and anglers, and advocacy groups who have worked hard to develop locally-driven conservation initiatives.  This effort will help make investments for these critical locally-led, voluntary projects more accessible to states, Tribes, territories, local groups, and more as we continue to act on the urgent need to make rapid progress to meet the 30×30 challenge.” [Statement, 4/11/22]

David Willms, Senior Director of Western Wildlife and Conservation, National Wildlife Federation: “If we’re serious about conserving and restoring America’s lands and waters for future generations of people and wildlife alike, collaborative partnerships are essential to the success of the America the Beautiful initiative. This long-term investment and partnership with the nonprofit and private sector underscores how the Biden Administration is serious about lands conservation, resilience, watershed restoration, equitable access, and connectivity.” [Statement, 4/11/22]

Christy Goldfuss, Senior Vice President for Energy and Environment Policy, Center for American Progress: “Today’s announcement is precisely how President Joe Biden’s America the Beautiful initiative is intended to work and is a perfect example of this administration’s commitment to meaningfully improving people’s lives while realizing a visionary conservation commitment. Under CEQ Chair Brenda Mallory and the Biden administration’s skilled leadership, the America the Beautiful Challenge will open the door to countless communities across the country to implement their own home-grown conservation efforts with national support. From restoring habitat for critical game species to guaranteeing access to the great outdoors for underserved communities and funding tribal stewardship of their land, this program will give local communities the drive and the dollars to get it done. Today’s announcement begins to cement President Biden’s conservation legacy that will endure for generations to come.” [Statement, 4/11/22]

Anna Peterson, Executive Director, The Mountain Pact: “The Mountain Pact celebrates President Biden’s ongoing effort to conserve and protect lands and waterways thereby keeping America beautiful. These efforts will protect communities across the country from impacts of climate change and biodiversity loss. We thank President Biden for leading by example and setting aside the funds necessary to encourage additional private conservation efforts.” [Statement, 4/11/22]

30×30: “We’re SO EXCITED! @POTUS just announced $1 BILLION in grants to reach #30×30. Read more here:” [Tweet, 4/11/22]

Healthy Ocean Coalition: “Big news from the @WhiteHouse! A new $1B challenge will support community-led efforts to conserve our lands and ocean—in pursuit of protecting 30% of the nation by 2030. 👏👏👏 Thank you for investing in the future of #AmericaTheBeautiful!” [Tweet, 4/11/22]

Water Foundation: “Today, the Biden-Harris Administration committed $1 billion to address the nation’s biodiversity and climate crises. We support the ‘America the Beautiful’ Challenge for community-led efforts to keep our lands and waters safe.” [Tweet, 4/11/22]

National Parks Conservation Association: “The America The Beautiful Challenge is an incredible opportunity to direct funding to priority projects in and around national parks, like watershed restoration and wildlife connectivity. More from @c_m_dangelo:” [Tweet, 4/11/22]

National Audubon Society: “These funds will help #BringBirdsBack by restoring the places they need the most. Not only that, the #AmericaTheBeautiful Challenge can demonstrate the power of including everyone in the decisions on how we restore and conserve the lands and waters we share.” [Tweet, 4/11/22]

The Wilderness Society: “Breaking great news! The Biden administration just announced $1 billion in conservation and restoration investments to accelerate land, water, and wildlife conservation efforts across the country. #AmericaTheBeautifulChallenge http://bit.ly/3O2eKM5” [Tweet, 4/11/22]

The Nature Conservancy: “Today’s announcement is a welcomed step forward for the #AmericatheBeautiful initiative. Public-private partnerships will be critical to reaching this goal, and this challenge will help accelerate this effort. @NFWFnews” [Tweet, 4/12/22]

Latino Outdoors: “The America the Beautiful Challenge will help mobilize new investments in locally led, voluntary conservation & restoration projects across the country, while making it easier for communities to access these resources” – Chair of @WHCEQ, @BrendaMallory46.[Tweet, 4/11/22]

Outdoor Alliance: “New from @WhiteHouse: a $1 billion private-public partnership to speed up restoration and conservation of public lands and waters as part of the Conserving and Restoring America the Beautiful 🦀” [Tweet, 4/11/22]

Next100Coalition: “Today, the Biden-Harris Admin launched a $1b #AmericaTheBeautiful Challenge that will leverage Fed conservation & restoration investments w/ private & philanthropic contributions to accelerate land, water, & wildlife conservation efforts across the country.” [Tweet, 4/11/22]

Black in National Parks: “Today, the Biden-Harris Admin launched a $1b #AmericaTheBeautiful Challenge that will leverage Fed conservation & restoration investments w/ private & philanthropic contributions to accelerate land, water, & wildlife conservation efforts across the country.” [Tweet, 4/11/22]

Chispa Florida: “The America the Beautiful Challenge offers an opportunity to support local efforts led by those who know, love, and have a stake in their surrounding landscapes,” Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said in a statement.” [Tweet, 4/12/22]

Outdoor Industry Association: “BIG NEWS: The #AmericatheBeautiful Challenge is ON! This $1 billion challenge will leverage federal investments with private and philanthropic funds to accelerate progress on land, water, outdoor access & wildlife conservation at the state & local level.” [Tweet, 4/11/22]

Western Landowners: “Exciting news out of the @WhiteHouse today: Administration Launches $1 Billion America the Beautiful Challenge to Support and Accelerate Locally Led Conservation and Restoration Projects – […] WLA has been working with the administration since the transition in 2020 to ensure America the Beautiful works for working lands in the West. The new Challenge Fund through @NFWFnews is a sign that the admin is heeding input from western landowners on the Initiative.” [Tweet, 4/11/22]

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