Since August 2014, Mountain Watershed Association, home of the Youghiogheny Riverkeeper, has been working to fund grassroots efforts throughout communities impacted by Marcellus shale gas development. Made possible by several grants, the Direct Support Fund has distributed over $140,000 to support grassroots groups and individuals working to organize and protect their communities from the damaging repercussions of natural gas development. Some of the battles impacted communities have been fighting include well pads and power plants in residential communities, highly-explosive pipelines near schools, injection wells on agricultural land, and more.
Too often, grassroots community groups who are just getting started find themselves having to personally fund many of the costs associated with organizing – such as advertising, printing, venue rental, travel, and refreshments. These costs can multiply and become a barrier to participation for many. The Direct Support Fund aims to alleviate these economic burdens so that any and all concerned citizens who wish to organize and educate their communities can do so.
Any individual or community group can apply for funds to support their efforts organizing around shale gas development. In the past, we have funded a range of creative and impactful projects that aim to organize, inform, and educate. Examples include citizen-science efforts to monitor air and water quality, community picnics to inform neighbors of potential impacts, and storytelling initiatives to highlight the experiences of affected residents. If you are already organizing in your community, or if you have an idea you want to get off the ground, we strongly encourage you to apply to the Direct Support Fund.
Applications can be downloaded from Mountain Watershed’s website, and they are reviewed on a monthly basis. The awards committee strongly considers proposals less than $2,000, though larger requests have often been accepted. If you have questions about whether your project qualifies for funding, or if you need assistance in getting started, please contact Ashley at 724-455-4200×6 or firstname.lastname@example.org.