Welcome to Pennsylvania Environmental Council's Mini Grant Programs

The Pennsylvania Environmental Council (PEC) currently administers seven 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.

Scroll to the bottom of this screen to view programs that are currently accepting applications and to apply. 

Mini grant and award programs administered by PEC include:

Circuit Trails Coalition Community Grant Program: Supported by funding from the William Penn Foundation, PEC administers the Circuit Trails Coalition Community Grant Program on behalf of the Circuit Trails Coalition and in collaboration with coalition member organizations.

The program provides one-year and two-year grants of $1,000 to $10,000 per year for projects that increase a sense of welcome, belonging, and safety among under-represented groups on the Circuit Trails, a network of hundreds of miles of multi-use trails throughout nine counties in the Greater Philadelphia region (PA and NJ).

Individuals, groups, and organizations are welcome to apply. 501(c)3 designation or a fiscal sponsor is NOT required to be eligible for funding. Projects must take place in the geography of the Circuit Trails network, which includes trails in Bucks, Montgomery, Chester, Delaware, and Philadelphia counties in Pennsylvania, and Mercer, Burlington, Camden, and Gloucester counties in New Jersey.

Priority will be given to projects led by and engaging under-represented and marginalized groups; projects that promote equity and serve historically disinvested communities; and organizations with a budget of less than $500,000. Find full details in the program guidelines below.

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 Lanscape.

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 - $10,000 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 $30,000 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 $30,000 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 April 28, 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 River Sojourn Mini-Grant Program

Pennsylvania River Sojourns are guided paddling trips, sponsored by POWR with funding support through the PA Department of Conservation of Natural Resources and the American Canoe Association. Grants are available on a competitive basis for single and multi-day paddling events on Pennsylvania’s rivers. Events must incorporate significant educational programming and be open to all participants (i.e., private trips are not eligible). Grants funds are distributed based on the number of on-water days, with up to $1,000 given per on-water day for multi-day sojourns and $500 for single-day sojourns.  * POWR will consider awarding additional funding to applicants that propose creative and unique ideas for inclusive community engagement. (i.e.: new, diverse and/or youth paddlers)


Mini Grants require a 1:1 match in the form of cash and/or eligible non-cash (in-kind) services, or a combination of both cash and in-kind. No portion of the cash match can originate from DCNR funding.

A nationally unique program, Pennsylvania Sojourns annually engage with over 4,000 people who participate either on the water or by attending celebration events and educational programs. Over the course of a typical sojourn season, paddlers cover over 500 rivers miles. Collectively, sojourn hosts offer more than 100 educational programs.

Please Note:

If you are successfully awarded a 2022 POWR Sojourn Mini-Grant, in addition to supplying the mandatory closeout materials, you will be required to submit the following:

  • Post event Success Story (a list of questions will be supplied with your contract documents which will assist in creating this document)
  • Your organization logo and several photos from your event(s)
  • Summary analysis of participant survey responses (if you conduct a post event survey)

Questions:

  • For content questions about this application, contact Angela Vitkoski (avitkoski@pecpa.org) or (570)718-6507.
  • 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. 



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, complete the budget worksheet,  and upload necessary documents before your final submission.


Important Dates:

Application Available: January 30, 2023

Submissions Due: March 31, 2023 by 5pm

Awards Announced: By end in April of 2023

Pennsylvania Environmental Council