How to Apply for a Grant

Meet the Mission

The Waterman Fund fosters the spirit of wildness and strengthens the stewardship and understanding of the alpine areas of northeastern North America to conserve their ecological, cultural, and recreational values.


  • 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations and local, state, or federal agencies are welcome to apply.
  • Individuals may apply through a nonprofit organization, agency, or university.
  • The Fund encourages Canadian alpine managers and researchers to apply for grants.


Start-up projects are encouraged.  The Fund generally does not support long-term or programmatic needs for more than a year or two. However, please be sure to contact a Board member should your program continue to need assistance. Past grant awards range from $500 to $7,000, although larger applications are encouraged.

Project Payment

Project payment will take place on a reimbursement basis. The project sponsor must incur all costs for project completion, and should only submit a request for reimbursement once work is completed, all deliverables are received, and a final report is approved by the board. Working capital advances may be approved on a case-by-case basis.

Grants will be capped at $5,000 for Research, $15,000 for Trails, and no cap for Education.


Sponsorships are available for those individuals or organizations in need for more long-term funding. Applications will be considered for up to three years, and will follow the same application process as grants.

The following are examples of potential sponsorships: funding for an Educational position, a multi-year Trails project, long-term Research monitoring, or a New Program startup. After sponsorship, established programs need to wait two years to reapply for a grant or sponsorship. New programs can reapply.

Sponsorships should prioritize alpine summit ecosystems, though are also available for places that are an extension of alpine zones, including subalpine zones that are defined as containing rare plants above treeline.

Evaluation Criteria

Your project should:

  1. fulfill the Waterman Fund mission (see italics above)
  2. include an education and/or outreach component which can be a short 2-minute video on the project
  3. demonstrate your ability to carry out the project
  4. for research projects, show technical and scientific merit, and a direct link to on-the-ground conservation.
  5. illustrate any ethical considerations and/or mitigation efforts you will take to minimize the effects of your project on the “spirit of wildness” in the outdoors.

Important Dates

  • Application Deadline – December 31
  • Grants Awarded – mid-February
  • Status Report Due – September 30
  • Final Report Due – by August 31 of year 2 (17 months from award date)

A Waterman Fund board member is likely to get in touch with the applicant to review the application prior to the award determination.  All grant applicants shall be notified of decisions by mid-February.

Examples of Appropriate Projects

  • Alpine area trail rehabilitation.
  • Alpine education, including summit steward projects.
  • Projects that blend education efforts with resource protection in line with our mission.
  • Projects that further the ethics described in the Waterman’s writings on the spirit of wildness.
  • Research that strengthens human stewardship and understanding of the alpine zone.

Please contact us at [email protected] if you have any questions regarding the eligibility of your proposal.

Examples of Projects the Fund Would Not Support

  • Major trail reconstruction below treeline.
  • Trail reconstruction or research projects lacking an educational or outreach component.
  • Campsite rehabilitation or composting toilets.

To Apply

To apply, please submit a pdf file(s) to [email protected].  Please be sure your application addresses all 7 numbered elements listed below, using the headers provided. Do not forget to include letters of permission and support. There is no limit to the number of applications an organization can submit.

Application Elements

Applications should be limited to 3 pages, not including additional materials listed below. Formatting should be 11pt Times New Roman font with 1-inch margins.

  1. Abstract.  Please provide a title, a one paragraph description of your project, and a one paragraph description of how the project helps meet the mission of the Waterman Fund.  Include the amount of funding requested here.
  2. Description and Location.  Tell us what you plan to do and why.  Tell us how this project involves the alpine zone (as defined by the Waterman Fund).  Describe your objectives, methods, materials, strategies, or techniques.  Describe the educational/outreach component of your project which can be a short video on the project.  Please provide maps and use photos as appropriate. For research projects, please include background information, including a brief literature review.
  3. Ethical Considerations.  Almost all projects will have an ecological and/or experiential impact on the spirit of wildness in the outdoors. Please tell us how you think your project involves or impacts the spirit of wildness in the alpine zone, and if or how you will mitigate those impacts. How will any long-term benefits or the outcome of your project outweigh the short-term impacts of its execution?
  4. Results & Documentation. Tell us briefly what successful completion of this project will look like and how it will further alpine stewardship. For research projects, what might be the on-the-ground conservation benefits for alpine stewardship? Tell us how this project will be documented and reported.
  5. Timeline.  Describe start date, key milestones for field work, and the projected end date for final reports. Be brief.
  6. Budget.  Include fund match amounts and sources (25% required)
  7. Commitment. Briefly describe yourself or your organization and any long-term commitment you have to alpine stewardship and to this project. If this is a pilot or starter project, what goals or plans do you have to fund it on a continuing basis?

Additional Material

  1. Qualifications. A CV or resume from the primary applicant of no more than 2 pages.
  2. Permissions. Attach a letter of permission from the land managing agency authorizing you to conduct the project.
  3. Support.  Attach two letters of support for your project.  Permission and support may be combined in one letter from the land managing agency.  Support letters may be from agencies, organizations, or other researchers or research advisors, and should address how your project will further alpine management and stewardship.

Grant Requirements

A. Matching Funds.

The Fund requires a match of at least 25% of the requested amount with cash, materials, labor, accommodations and/or in-kind services.  Higher match amounts could increase the competitiveness of your request.  Labor, skilled and unskilled, shall be appraised by the project sponsor at its market rate and can be used towards the project match.

B.    Deliverables

  1. Reports and Publications

The Fund requires a comprehensive final written report about the project within 17 months of the grant award, or August 31 of year 2. In addition, a brief status update via email is due after the field season on September 30. For multi-year projects, the Fund requires annual reports due December 31.  The Fund also requires copies of any articles or publications about the project including those in peer-reviewed scientific journals.  If creating a short 2-minute video was the educational/outreach component of your grant, please send it to the Fund with the final report to be shared online.  In the video, describe the project and how it will protect the alpine zone.

The intent of the final report is to assist both you and the Waterman Fund in evaluating the project and sharing its outcomes with other interested parties, so that together we can contribute to the cause of effective alpine stewardship. Reports are added to an alpine stewardship library that the Fund maintains and posts online and thus should be written and submitted in a professional manner. Quotations and/or photos may be used in future Waterman Fund articles or news releases.

  1. Final Report Format and Guidance

The final project report for the Waterman Fund should tell the story of your work in a professional manner for posting online.  The report should be brief and limited to two pages.


All reports must be submitted electronically to [email protected] in Word and PDF formats and include the following:

  1. Project Title
  2. Organization Name
  3. Project Leader Contact Information: Address, Telephone, Email
  4. Date of Grant Award
  5. Date of Grant Report
  6. Results or Outcomes, in quantifiable measures as appropriate.
  7. Digital images of your project, including some with people at work on it. They may be embedded in the report. If a report is too large to send electronically because of images, contact us at the address above. Send the 2-minute educational video if that is part of your project.
  8. A final accounting for the project, including, but not limited to, cash expenses, other sources of income and amounts, and contributed volunteer labor or other contributions.
  • Download a copy of the report guidelines [doc]

C.  Recognition

The Fund requires that any promotional material for the project be accompanied with recognition of the Waterman Fund’s support.  The Fund can provide a high-resolution image of its logo and copies of pamphlets and newsletters.  The Fund also requires recognition in any articles, publications, or presentations about the project (in print or online), including an organization’s newsletter or annual report.  If creating a video, recognize the Fund in it.  The Fund urges grantees to publicize information about the Waterman Fund grant and its outcome with its members and the general public.

Please Note–The Fund may also request that the grantee write a brief article for its newsletter and/or website or make a presentation at the Alpine Stewardship Gathering, the Waterman Fund Annual Meeting, or another meeting or event.