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 less than $5,000, though larger requests will be accepted
  • 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.

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 us at 724-455-4200, ext. 10# or email

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.



Organizations serving on the coordinating committee include:

Black Appalachian Coalition, Indigenous Environmental Network, Earthworks, People Over Petro Coalition, Marcellus Outreach Butler, Mountain Watershed Association, and the Center for International Environmental Law

Previous members have represented:

Clean Air Council, Clean Water Action, Berks Gas Truth, Protect Our Children, Shalefield Stories, OnePA, Center for Coalfield Justice, and the Ohio Chapter of the Sierra Club.

News & Updates

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

MWA Announces Creation of Direct Support Fund

August 1, 2014

Today we’re pleased to announce the launch of our Direct Support Fund. Through this project we can provide small amounts of money to grassroots groups and advocates working toward social…

Read More