Conze grant program (pronounced “Con-zee”)

The South Coast Chapter of the California Native Plant Society received a bequest of about $400,000 from the Vincent Conze Living Trust on March 5, 2009.

The Trust document states simply that the bequest is for “Native Plant Garden Projects” and the Board of Directors discussed preliminary ideas to honor this intent at special retreats on June 19 and August 24, 2009. Over the next year, the Board developed a Conze grant program with detailed criteria for evaluating funding requests, and a related grant application form that can be downloaded using the link below.

On November 1, 2010 the Board awarded the first Conze grant to Friends of the Parks, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in Hermosa Beach, for the purpose of renovating the historic Theodore Payne Native Flora Area of Valley Park in Hermosa Beach.

Since that time, other organizations have submitted grant applications and received funding. To download a copy of the fill-in application click here and if you have any comments or questions, please contact us at info@sccnps.org.

Background of the Conze grant program

Elaine Conze was one of the 22 charter members who founded the South Coast Chapter in 1982. She was active with the Chapter through the late 1990s and passed away January 12, 2008 at the age of 97.

Andy, Elaine and Vince Conze formed the Conze Machine Shop just after World War II and provided innovative products for the auto racing industry.

Conze teams had raced at the dry lakes of Southern California in the 1930s, then became known for their oval track cars, and their attempts to win at the Indy 500 and Pikes Peak Hill climbs. Vince preferred to build and maintain the cars, while Andy managed the teams and Elaine handled the day-to-day business of the shop.

Vince never married, and Andy and Elaine never had any children of their own, though they always made their employees feel like family. Andy and Elaine created some memorable trips together. They loved primitive camping. They explored Mexican jungles to see the ancient ruins and stayed with the native Indians in their villages. They visited the Pribaloff Islands to live with Aleut Eskimos and watch the seals, walruses and exotic birdlife. They hiked, backpacked and camped in every state in the USA and all of the Provinces of Canada, except one.

The Conze Machine Shop closed in 1993 and Vince Conze passed away May 6, 2005.

Andy predeceased Elaine.

Brief History of the Conze Family

Conze Machine Shop History
https://www.hotrodhotline.com/feature/friends/05conzebros/

Vince Conze Remembered – 1995 – need updated linkSociety of Land Speed Racing Historians
https://www.hotrodhotline.com/feature/heroes/landspeedracing/2008/08newsletter41/

Vince Conze Obituary
https://www.oilstick.com/rparks/blltnbrd/70.htm

“*Vince Conze passed away on May 6th at the age of 91.  A private family service will be held.   Vince was the brother of Andy Conze, and the brother-in-law of Elaine Conze.  Together these three pioneers in automotive innovation formed the famous Conze Brothers speed shop and garage.  Many racers received support from the Conze’s and used their products, including the Conze rear ends and the knock off bolts for quick tire changes.  Vince and his brothers raced at the dry lakes of Southern California in the 1930’s, then became known for their oval track cars, and their attempts to win at the Indy 500 and Pikes Peak Hill climbs.  Vince preferred to build and maintain the cars, while Andy managed the teams and Elaine handled the day to day business of the shop.  Al Unser drove Vince’s Down Tube car to victory at the Pikes Peak Hill climb and Jimmy Davies also drove for the Conze’s.”

Additional Opportunities

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service offers grants up to $8,000 as part of the Schoolyard Habitat Program, and a free 132-page Schoolyard Habitat Project Guide is available for download.