Project Grant Program

Project Grant Program

The Project Grants Program provides grant awards ranging from $500 to $3,500 (USD) to be used for specific project expenses. The Project Grants Program is Freshwater Future’s original grant-making program. These awards are to be used for grassroots* project expenses that promote water resource protection. This can be done through influencing community or individual behavior, addressing corporate conduct, or encouraging good public policies. Projects should strengthen the role of individuals and community groups working locally to protect shorelines, inland lakes, rivers, and wetlands in the Great Lakes Basin.

*What do we mean by Grassroots?
Grassroots groups are those with limited funds that rely on volunteers for all or a majority of their work. While Freshwater Future has no specific budgetary limitation for eligibility, it is highly unlikely a group with an annual budget over approximately $200,000 will be considered eligible as a grassroots initiate under our definition.

Click HERE for the 2021 Project Grant.

Please see our Special Opportunity Grant Program for opportunities for funding.

Priority Funding Areas

The following program areas direct Freshwater Future’s grant making for Project Grant funding. Projects to protect aquatic habitats in the following strategic program areas will be considered:

  • Projects to protect wetlands that will result in ongoing or positive permanent change in the habitat
  • Advocating for low-impact solutions to community storm water issues
  • Participation in land use planning and zoning
  • Watch-dogging and participating in the development, implementation, and enforcement of local, state, provincial, and federal aquatic habitat protection regulations
  • Non-partisan voter education, voter registration, and candidate forums
  • Advocating for naturally functioning river and coastal ecosystems
  • Creating opportunities to strengthen citizen involvement in the protection and restoration rivers, lakes, wetlands and shorelines

Types of Activities We Do Not Fund:

  • Governmental functions (including governmental entities such as units of government, governmental agencies and conservation districts)
  • Lobbying activities (activities that attempt to influence specific pieces of legislation)
  • Projects that have already been completed
  • Consulting activities for organization capacity building or strategy development services. These services are available from Freshwater Future staff through our Coaching and Consulting Services.

We strongly encourage you to discuss potential projects and ask questions before applying by contacting us –

How to Apply

Applicants must be a current organizational member of Freshwater Future; a grassroots initiative; a 501(c)(3), Canadian charity, or have a fiscal sponsor with either a 501(c)(3) or is a Canadian charity; and carry out a project that impacts the Great Lakes watershed.  If you are still not sure you qualify, Click here to determine your eligibility.

Complete the application and budget forms, according to the directions in the application.

You must use the current year’s application. The application cover page and application contains complete instructions for submitting a proposal, including all required materials needed.

Submitting Your Application 

Applications must be received electronically by midnight on the due date.  Please send your application via e-mail in a Word attachment to  Supporting documents may be sent via email or first class mail. Please do not fax your application.

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Images courtesy of Steven Huyser-Honig,
West Grand Boulevard Collaborative, & Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve.