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The AEF Bald Eagle Grant Program

The American Eagle Foundation is proud to announce that starting July 1, 2021, we will again be accepting proposals for our Bald Eagle Grants program.  This will be the tenth year of the American Eagle Foundation Bald Eagle Grants program, funding efforts by scientists, agency personnel, and non-profit organizations to further our understanding and conservation of the Bald Eagle.  To date, the American Eagle Foundation has awarded over $700,000 in grants to help insure the continued recovery of the Bald Eagle.  Grants were first awarded in 2012, with about $100,000 awarded yearly (no awards were granted for 2013 or 2020).  Grant proposals are accepted between July 1 and September 1 for work to be carried out the following year.  

The American Eagle Foundation uses a Bald Eagle Grant Advisory Team to rank all grant applications.  This team consists of some of the Nation’s outstanding eagle experts.  The Bald Eagle Grant Advisory Team has determined that three critical areas will be given priority.  The three priority areas are as follows. 

1.      Conservation of Bald Eagle habitat is crucial for the continued survival of the species.  Projects in this area would identify important Bald Eagle habitats, identify land ownership, determine alternative pathways to protection, and/or initiate habitat protection and/or enhancement.

2.      Meaningful public education and/or scientific studies resulting in benefits for the conservation of bald eagles.  Priority projects in this area may include those related to secondary lead poisoning from ingesting lead ammunition, safe siting of infrastructure (particularly wind turbines), or increased public awareness of life history needs through public monitoring programs. Proposals focused on other issues of key importance to eagles are also welcome.  

3.      Impacts to Bald Eagles related to climate change.  Climate change is expected to alter potential food webs and migrations patterns. Projects that look at potential impacts from climate change to Bald Eagles and their habitat may provide important information regarding the eagle’s future.

The American Eagle Foundation is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to protect and preserve the United States’ living symbol of freedom, the Bald Eagle, and other birds of prey. The American Eagle Foundation is celebrating its 33rd year of carrying out its mission through Preservation, Repopulation, Education, and Rehabilitation. It is headquartered in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains at Dollywood Family Theme Park in Pigeon Forge, TN.

The American Eagle Foundation accepts applications during July 1 – September 1 for 1-year grants, beginning at the start of the next calendar year.  The total grant allocation for 2022 projects is projected to be $50,000-$100,000 with individual grants varying from $5,000 to $20,000.    

If you are interested in applying for AEF Bald Eagle Grants, contact grant coordinator Jody Millar at eaglegrants@gmail.com to access required forms.

History of AEF Grants

The American Eagle Foundation obtained funding for this grant program in 2004, when both the U.S. Senate and House UNANIMOUSLY passed the ‘Bald Eagle Commemorative Coin Act.’ Congress authorized the U.S. Mint to mint $5 gold, $1 silver and $0.50 clad commemorative coins, which they sold to the public in 2008.

These Coins celebrated the 35th anniversary of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as well as the Bald Eagle’s successful recovery in the U.S.A. The Act authorized surcharges collected from the sale of collectible Bald Eagle Commemorative Coins to be paid to AEF of Tennessee “to further its works,” which includes grants for Bald Eagle Projects.

The U.S. Mint’s 2008 Eagle Coin sales yielded $7.8 million in surcharges. Seventy-five percent of the monies, $5.8 million, were earmarked in the American Eagle Fund, hereafter called the Fund. This Fund supports priority bald eagle projects within the USFWS Regions  of the United States. Projects may be conducted by state, federal and private agencies or parties.