Direct Support Fund

Participants gather at the Clean Energy Summit in Clairton.

Apply to MWA’s Direct Support Fund Today!

Currently, one of the greatest threats to the health of the watersheds and quality of life in the Appalachian region is industrial resource extraction, primarily the development of shale gas, coal, and petrochemical infrastructure. The Direct Support Fund provides small grants to grassroots groups and advocates working toward social change on any of these environmental justice issues and more.

The Direct Support Fund provides small grants to grassroots groups and advocates working toward social change on environmental justice, shale gas and petrochemical issues. The Direct Support Fund is made possible by The Cloud Mountain Foundation, The Plastic Solutions Fund, The Heinz Endowments and The 11th Hour Project and is a project of the Mountain Watershed Association.

Proposals are reviewed on the third Friday of each month. In order to be considered, applications must be received one week prior to this date. Applications received past this deadline will be considered the following month.

Participants gather at the Clean Energy Summit in Clairton.

Participants gather at the Clean Energy Summit in Clairton

Our awards committee strongly considers:

  • Proposals from groups organizing in locations where petrochemical and shale gas development is occurring – predominately Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia
  • Proposals seeking to ameliorate environmental harms and/or environmental justice issues (~$2,500)
  • Proposals from groups with annual budgets not exceeding $50,000, but proposals from groups with an annual budget between $75,000 and $100,000 will be considered.
  • Requests from grassroots, resident-led groups or resident-activists with few available resources
  • Projects that seek to organize, inform or educate community members about the impacts of shale gas and petrochemical development (including gas wells, pipelines, compressor stations, refineries, cracker plants, and other related infrastructure)
  • Projects organizing, educating, or mitigating around the harms of coal field extraction, buildout, and/or pollution.
  • Projects focused on developing new community leadership, collective strategizing or problem solving, community outreach, or those that support direct action
  • Projects that are led by systemically under-represented and under-funded communities (i.e. people of color, rural, and low income)
  • Activities pursued in collaboration with other activists, groups or communities
  • Travel and/or conference expenses for events that increase networking, strategizing, and communication among activists or grassroots groups.
  • Proposals less than $5,000, though larger requests will be accepted

We do not consider:

  • Requests for relief for a specific household (air quality monitoring, health care expenses, expenses associated with temporary living quarters)
  • Operating expenses (such as electric bills or staff time)
  • Attorney fees (though some legal aid – such as printing, filing fees, and support for expert witnesses – will be considered)
  • Funds being used for matching grants
  • Funds to be used for political campaigns
  • Activities that benefit private interest, business, or profit-making groups
  • Incomplete applications will not be considered

To apply, please complete our short application

Proposals are considered monthly. A final completion form (linked below) is required within 30 days of project completion.

For assistance with this process, please contact James Cato at 724-455-4200, ext. 10# or

All applicants who are approved will be required to submit a W-9 form before funding is dispersed. Our accountant has advised us these funds will be considered income for recipients and at the end of the year a 1099 will be provided.


Screen Shot 2022-09-02 at 1.11.17 AM

News & Updates

Direct Support Funds Available For Shale Gas Advocacy

September 6, 2017

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…

Read More

Direct Support Funds Available for Shale Gas Work

December 2, 2014

Our Direct Support Project continues to provide small amounts of funding to grassroots activists and organizations working toward social change on shale gas issues around the region.  Since the launch…

Read More

MWA Announces the Distribution of Funds to Grassroots Efforts, Empowering Change

September 29, 2014

Oftentimes, social change can be a slow and gradual process that could test the patience of a one-hundred year old tree. Today, Mountain Watershed Association forges onward by announcing the…

Read More