The People and Nature Fund (PNF), is initiated by Keystone Foundation as a funding facility for grassroots groups working on issues of environment protection and livelihoods of vulnerable communities in India. The fund recognises the important role of grassroots initiatives as communities are the key implementers of environment and development agendas. They face the brunt of adverse changes and are impacted the most by global policies. Striving to make a change is often most palpable in the field and its relevance to the world is striking.

Keystone Foundation is a not-for-profit registered Trust working with indigenous hill communities in Tamil Nadu since 1994. Keystone works across three states in the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve (NBR) with tribal communities in 150 villages -covering a population of 25,000 people. The program areas include work on livelihood, conservation, environmental governance and special initiative for indigenous people, addressing culture, health and nutrition. Keystone has also started work on water resources covering wetlands, springs and issues related to waste and sanitation

Keystone is a founder member of the NTFP-EP, Asia, a collaborative network of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and community-based organisations in South and Southeast Asia, and is member of IUCN, the World Conservation Congress.

One of the key partners in many of Keystones’ endeavours has been Both ENDS, an environment and development organization based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, with over 25 years’ history of working with civil society organizations in India and other Southern countries.  Both ENDS has, among others, been involved in developing an Indo-Dutch Environmental NGO Fund within the framework of formal Dutch-Indian bilateral collaboration, in close collaboration with the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC, GoI).

Governance and Administration

The fund has been initiated with some reserves of Keystone Foundation. This will be augmented with projects from different agencies. These will include national donors, Indian business CSRs, international and individual donors. Keystone will actively seek for donations to keep this fund alive.

In the new set-up, a governing board decides on grants to be made. Grants are disbursed once a year, whilst the Opportunity Facility can act upon needs and chances as they arise. The Opportunity Facility, a flexible response mechanism, can be accessed any time in response to urgent needs and opportunities. Where opportunities and needs arise, special efforts will be made (through the Opportunity Facility) to address the needs of women and indigenous communities across India.

A small administrative unit, overseen by Keystone’s controller, dedicated to administering the Fund. A grant making Committee which formally approves. A Fund Manager assisted by one of Keystone’s directors, who prepares final proposals for submission to the grant making Committee. A network of advisors/experts who scout, visit, advise on grant making.

The partners will be informed about the calls for proposal and information on the website will also be available and they can submit proposals. PNF will maintain a database of grassroots’ organisations, it will invest in scouting for good groups performing effectively in the field.

As we know the partners well, we have easy ways of monitoring and evaluation. Field visits and attending meetings are common ways of seeing the progress of work. A group of advisors spread across the country, will provide back up support and field information.

The fund is managed with very few overheads, so most of the resources can be used for grant making.


  • PNF does not support buildings, land purchases or capital improvements
  • PNF will take a case by case approach towards emergencies and humanitarian aid
  • PNF will not support religious and political activities

Grant Amount

Funds are categorised as follows:

  1. Micro Grants upto INR  500,000
  2. Small Grants upto  INR  1,000,000
  3. Research Grants (for research linked to grassroots action & specific CBOs)
  4. Fellowships – project-based
  5. Opportunity Facility


The People and Nature Fund would support most types of non-governmental organisations that can provide evidence of their non-governmental status or charitable purpose. Priority will be given to socio-environmental groups with an agenda to promote gender balance.

In general, the People and Nature Fund will support

  • Community-based organisations
  • Womens’ Collectives
  • Civil society collectives
  • Non-governmental organisations (Trust or Societies)
  • Not for profit organisations
  • Para legal groups/individuals
  • Independent researchers
  • Student scholarship, fellowships
  • Barefoot experts in all fields
  • Community managed micro-enterprise Groups
  • Study Grants (for studies linked to grassroots action & specific CBOs

Current Available Grants :

1. Community Empowerment Support for Indian NGOs.

The thrust of work focus on capacity building, awareness raising and policy dialogue concerning natural resources, good governance, and constitutional provisions in scheduled/tribal areas and important laws such as FRA and PESA

Note:  Call for proposals is currently closed.

2. Global Alliance for Green and Gender Action (GAGGA)

GAGGA has a vision of strengthening and unifying the women’s rights and environmental justice agendas and will work with both national and grassroots groups to bridge the gap between local and international lobby and advocacy.

Note:  The People and Nature Fund currently accepts solicited proposals only.

People and Nature Fund Office

The People and Nature Fund is maintained at Keystone Foundation

Keystone Centre, P.B. No.35,
Groves Hill Road, Kotagiri 643217,
Nilgiris, Tamil Nadu.
Phone: +91-4266-272277, 272977

For queries contact
Grant Administrator
Email: pnf@keystone-foundation.org

lastforest Aadhimalai Radio Kotagiri nnhs
Nilgiris Water Portal NTFP South East Asia

Keystone Foundation
Keystone Centre, PB 35
Groves Hill Road, Kotagiri 643 217
The Nilgiris, Tamil Nadu, India

Telefaxes: +91 (04266) 272277, 272977
Email: kf[at]keystone-foundation[dot]org

Directions and more »