Welcome to Pennsylvania Environmental Council's Mini Grant Programs

The Pennsylvania Environmental Council (PEC) currently administers six mini grant programs. Each program is unique with specific goals and objectives but all focus on one or more of the following areas of interest: land and water trails; outdoor recreation; resource protection and conservation; and community engagement.

Mini grant and award programs administered by PEC include:

Pennsylvania Sojourn Mini Grants: Supported by funding from the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the American Canoe Association PEC administers the Pennsylvania Sojourn Mini Grant Program under the auspices of the Pennsylvania Organization for Watersheds and Rivers (a supporting organization of PEC).

This program provides mini grants on a competitive basis for single and multi-day paddling events on Pennsylvania’s waterways. Sojourns must incorporate significant educational programming and be open to all participants (i.e., private trips are not eligible).

Eligible applicants include non-profit organizations with tax-exempt status 501(c)(3), municipalities, counties, and educational institutions. Non-profit organizations must submit proof of non-profit status and be registered with the PA Department of State Bureau of Charitable Organizations. Applicants can request up to $1,000 per day for multi-day sojourns and $500 for a single-day sojourn. Proposals must include a 1:1 match (cash, in-kind, or a combination).

Laurel Highlands Conservation Landscape Mini Grants: Supported by funding from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources’ Community Conservation Partnership Program PEC administers the Laurel Highlands Conservation Landscape Mini Grant Program.

This program provides mini grants for projects within Cambria, Fayette, Somerset, and Westmoreland Counties that support and advance the goals of the Laurel Highlands Conservation.

Priorities: Projects should complement the mission to foster conservation and stewardship of the natural and man-built environments while promoting sustainable economic development through outdoor recreation in one or more of these topics: Land Conservation, Water Conservation, Trails, Tourism & Outdoor Recreation, Infrastructure Maintenance and Development, Climate Resilience, or Communication.

Eligible applicants include non-profit organizations with tax-exempt status 501(c)(3), municipalities, counties, and educational institutions. Non-profit organizations must submit proof of non-profit status and be registered with the PA Department of State Bureau of Charitable Organizations. Applicants can request $1,000 - $7,000 and project proposals must include a 1:1 match (cash, in-kind, or a combination).

Pocono Forests & Waters Conservation Landscape Mini Grants: Supported by funding from Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources’ Community Conservation Partnership Program PEC administers the Pocono Forests and Waters Conservation Landscape (PFWCL) Mini-Grant Program.

This program provides mini grants for projects within Carbon, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Monroe, Pike, and Wayne Counties that support and advance the goals and objectives of the Landscape.

Priorities: Projects should help protect and sustain the natural resources of the Pocono Forests & Waters Conservation Landscape in one or more of these topics: Conserve Critical Lands and Waters, Engage our Communities and Create Connections.

Eligible applicants include non-profit organizations with tax-exempt status 501(c)(3), municipalities, counties, and educational institutions. Non-profit organizations must submit proof of non-profit status and be registered with the PA Department of State Bureau of Charitable Organizations. Applicants can request $2,000 - $10,000 and project proposals must include a 1:1 match (cash, in-kind, or a combination).

Pennsylvania Water Trails Partnership Mini Grants: The Pennsylvania Environmental Council works in partnership with the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission, Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, and the National Park Service to facilitate the Pennsylvania Water Trails Program. With 28 designated trails established across the Commonwealth, the program brings technical assistance and executive oversight to the diverse network.

Grants are available on a competitive basis for projects that implement the PA Water Trail Program’s eight guiding principles: Partnership, Stewardship, Volunteerism, Education, Conservation, Community Vitality, Diversity, and Wellness & Well-being.

Proposed projects must demonstrate that they will advance program goals such as creating recreational opportunities for all Pennsylvanians on water trails; developing trails that support sustainable use of natural resources; increasing and improving physical and psychological access to Pennsylvania Water Trails for all; and connecting water trails to land trails or to other culturally significant community assets.

Eligible applicants include registered non-profit organizations and public entities (such as a county, municipality, or municipal agency). All projects must occur on or for a designated Pennsylvania Water Trail (view map here: https://www.pawatertrails.org/pa-water-trails). Applicants can request up to $5,000 and project proposals must include a 1:1 match (cash, in-kind, or a combination).

Ohio Basin Access for Canoes and Kayaks Mini Grants: The Pennsylvania Organization for Watersheds and Rivers (POWR), in partnership with the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, the Richard King Mellon Foundation and the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, are excited to offer the Ohio Basin Access for Canoes and Kayaks Mini Grant Program.

This program provides grants for design and engineering, construction, or upgrade and rehabilitation of non-motorized public access projects within the Ohio River Basin. Priority will be given to projects that improve recreational access on rivers and streams as well as those that support and advance POWR’s mission, specifically the facilitation, stewardship, and enjoyment of Pennsylvania’s waterways.

Eligible applicants include non-profit organizations with tax-exempt status 501(c)(3), municipalities, counties, and educational institutions. Non-profit organizations must submit proof of non-profit status and be registered with the PA Department of State Bureau of Charitable Organizations. Applicants can request up to $20,000 and project proposals must include a 1:1 match (cash, in-kind, or a combination).

Pennsylvania River of the Year: The Pennsylvania Organization for Watersheds and Rivers (POWR) administers the River of the Year program with funding from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR). Pennsylvania’s River of the Year is an honor designed to elevate public awareness of specific waterways and recognize important conservation needs and achievements. River of the Year designations have been presented annually since 1983.

Waterways selected through this nomination process go up for public vote on the POWR website (www.pawatersheds.org) The POWR website enables voting and offers details on nominated waterways and the River of the Year program. Voting is managed through Woobox, an online contest application restricting voting to one email address.

Eligible applicants include non-profit organizations with tax-exempt status 501(c)(3), municipalities, counties, and educational institutions. Non-profit organizations must submit proof of non-profit status and be registered with the PA Department of State Bureau of Charitable Organizations.

After a waterway is chosen for the annual honor, local groups implement a year-round slate of activities and events to celebrate the waterway, including a paddling trip, or sojourn. The organization nominating the winning river will receive a $10,000 leadership grant from DCNR to help fund the River of the Year activities.

Programs that are currently accepting applications will be listed below.

Once you select a submission opportunity you must then create a free Submittable account to get started. Your account will allow you to save/review your work before submitting.



 



 



POWR Ohio Basin Access for Canoes and Kayaks Mini Grant Program
Instructions & Guidelines


General Information
The Pennsylvania Organization for Watersheds and Rivers (POWR), in partnership with the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PAFBC), the Richard King Mellon Foundation (RCMF) and the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (PA DCNR), are excited to offer the Ohio Basin Access for Canoes and Kayaks Mini Grant Program (OBACK). This program will provide grants of up to $20,000 for design and engineering, construction, or upgrade and rehabilitation of non-motorized public access projects within the Ohio River Basin. Priority will be given to projects that improve recreational access on rivers and streams as well as those that support and advance POWR’s mission, specifically the facilitation, stewardship, and enjoyment of Pennsylvania’s waterways.


Eligibility

  • Grants are available to public entities, including townships, boroughs, municipal and county governments as well as to nonprofit groups including land trusts, conservancies and watershed associations that have or will have the capability to provide boat access facilities that are open and available for public use.
  • Eligible projects must occur on lands owned by the project applicant, or where the applicant has a long-term lease or agreement on the site.
  • Projects must remain open to the public and free of charge for 25 years (successful grantees will be required to sign a 25-year maintenance agreement).


Funding and Match
The program is funded through the PAFBC, RCMF and PA DCNR. All projects, related costs and funding must conform to the guidelines of the PAFBC, PA DCNR and POWR. All grants require a one-to-one match (match can consist of cash, in-kind, or a combination of cash and in-kind). 


Additional Requirements

  • Applicants must agree to provide for all costs for ordinary and routine maintenance of the facility for the term of the agreement.
  • Applicants must provide a sign that acknowledges that the facility was constructed or improved with funds from this program.
  • Applicants must obtain all the necessary permits and local land use approvals required for the construction and operation of the proposed facility


Questions

  • For content questions about this application, contact Janet Sweeney, PEC, jsweeney@pecpa.org
  • For technical questions regarding completion of this application, contact support@submittable.com Monday-Friday, 11:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m. with limited availability on the weekends.
  • For additional information on POWR, visit www.pawatersheds.org


Completing the Application
It is possible to complete the application during multiple sessions. Be sure to save as you go and before you end any session. Please answer all questions and upload all necessary and supporting documentation before your final submission.


Important Dates
Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis and awarded on a rolling basis. Please note: All applications must be submitted on or before January 31, 2023. All projects must be completed no later than September 30, 2023.


Applications will be evaluated based on the following:

  • Project integrates/reflects/ implements initiatives of existing community plans
  • Project advances one or more of POWR’s priorities as listed on application
  • Project is clearly described, complete, and well thought out
  • Project can be completed in a year or less
  • Budget is comprehensive and realistic to complete project
  • Match is secured and documented with letters of commitment of match
  • Support letters are included in application and indicate need and partnering efforts

*Note: It is possible to receive additional bonus points if you show that your project addresses a unique or extraordinary need within your community. 

Pennsylvania Environmental Council