The AEF Bald Eagle Grant Program

The purpose of the AEF grant program is to further assist in the recovery of the Bald Eagle by partnering with and financially supporting recovery efforts—not just in Tennessee, but around the country.

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

Since 2012, (with the exception of 2013) the American Eagle Foundation has awarded over $700,000 in grants to help insure the continued conservation, protection and recovery of the Bald Eagle. Each year, the American Eagle Foundation awards more than $75,000 in Bald Eagle grants.

Due to the impact of the COVID-19 Global Pandemic, we are suspending the Bald Eagle Grant Program for 2021.  We are hopeful that we can resume taking applications for this invaluable program again in the future.  Please check in with us in January 2021 for additional information on how to apply for Bald Eagle Grant funding for 2022.

Keep reading below for information on how the American Eagle Foundation Bald Eagle Grants are awarded.

Grant proposals are accepted between July 1 and September 1 for work to be carried out the following year. The American Eagle Foundation recommends interested parties submit pre-proposals so that we may provide guidance in relation to our grants, and gain awareness of the variety of projects to be submitted.

The American Eagle Foundation uses a Bald Eagle Grant Advisory Team to numerically 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. Project proposals directed in these areas will be assigned additional ranking points in the Application Rating Form, ranging from 0 – 5, with five additional points attributed to projects that fully meet the expectations of the priority areas.

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. Secondary ingestion of lead shot by Bald Eagles is lethal. Reduction of use and bioavailability of lead shot is crucial to avoiding mortality of Bald Eagles and other wildlife. Projects in this area may identify hot spots, instruct the public, and/or provide incentives to reduce lead shot in the environment.
  3. Energy exploration and development may proceed at times despite adverse consequences to Bald Eagles and other wildlife. Projects in this area might include research and management to aid the avoidance of adverse eagle interactions with wind power, oil and gas exploration, power lines, and other areas of energy development.

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 2020 projects is projected to be $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 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.

The American Eagle Foundation continues to make those coins available to the public through its web site. 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.

Grant Recipients

Last updated:  April 3, 2019