Environmental Grants

Continuing the philanthropic tradition of our founder Colonel Clarence S. Wadsworth, the Rockfall Foundation invites non-profit organizations, municipalities, and schools to apply for grants through our annual Environmental Grants Program. The goal of the Program is to preserve and enhance the environment in the Lower Connecticut River Valley and to increase public knowledge of and respect for its natural resources. Projects that demonstrate new and imaginative ways to achieve this are encouraged.


  • Eligible projects are those that contribute to the general environmental education of the public, promote responsible environmental planning, contribute to the preservation of the Connecticut River watershed, or fund an internship for an environmental project.
  • Organizations certified as 501(c)(3) nonprofits, towns, or schools are eligible to apply. Prospective applicants may partner with a 501(c)(3) or a municipality, as co-applicants, to comply with this requirement. A letter of agreement of this partnership from the host entity must be included with the application, stating that they agree to be equally responsible for compliance with all grant requirements.
  • Organizations or projects must be based in one of the focus towns: Chester, Clinton, Cromwell, Deep River, Durham, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Killingworth, Lyme, Middlefield, Middletown, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook, Portland, or Westbrook. Proposals that focus on the Connecticut River corridor or Long Island Sound will be considered as long as there is a demonstrated impact in at least one of the focus towns.

What We Fund

Programs, projects, internships, or capacity building initiatives within one or more of the Foundation’s priority areas are eligible for funding. Annual grants support both ongoing programs and start-up initiatives. The guidelines are purposely broad to encourage a wide range of applicants and innovative proposals.

Grants generally range from $500 to $15,000. Multiple grants are awarded, however, only one grant in excess of $10,000 can be funded in a given year. For grant requests exceeding $5,000, the Grants Committee will schedule applicant interviews to augment the information provided in the application and may request interviews for other applicants as needed.

The Foundation’s grants often provide critical seed money and support for groups that do not have large budgets or staff. Ideally, these grants can be leveraged to attract additional funders. Of special interest are projects that impact youth (preschool through college) or are multi-generational.

Funding for materials, transportation, program/presenter fees, intern stipends and similar items is eligible. Items such as food and regular operating expenses (e.g. insurance, rent, etc.) will not be funded. Regular salaries and benefits are not generally funded, but may be considered if a substantial benefit is perceived. Funding must be applied to the items/activities described in the application form. Substitutions are not permitted unless prior approval has been obtained.

Priority Areas:

  • Environmental Education – Broadly defined, and not limited to school curricula, environmental education programs can target any age from preschool through adults. Activities that engage young people, provide hands-on experiences, or offer creative approaches to learning are encouraged. Capital projects that facilitate learning are not prohibited but will be carefully scrutinized for their application to hands-on learning.
  • Responsible Environmental Planning – Planning projects approached with consideration for the natural environment and those that support sustainable communities.
  • Preservation of the Connecticut River Watershed – Projects designed to protect and benefit the water quality of the Connecticut River watershed and raise awareness of responsible living in the watershed.
  • Internships – Proposed internships must provide a significant environmental education and/or research opportunity. A detailed summary letter from the intern to the Rockfall Foundation is required at the end of the internship in addition to the grantee’s final report.

Grant Requirements

  • Applications are evaluated on how well they meet one or more of the stated priorities, as well as the topic’s merit, educational value, feasibility, creativity, and application beyond the proposed activity. Also considered will be the value of the funded item/activity to the project and as a whole.
  • Experienced supervision for the proposed project should be demonstrated in the application.
  • Projects should be for a period no greater than 12 months and begin no later than July 1, 2019 (may include a planning phase).
  • All grants require a match of cash or in-kind items or professional services. Grant requests up to $3,000 require at least a 25% match of the amount requested. Grant requests exceeding $3,000 require at least a 50% match of the amount requested.
  • Funding must be applied to the item/activity described in the application. Substitutions are not permitted unless prior approval has been obtained.
  • If the applicant is a recipient of a past grant, grantee must be in compliance with the terms of the prior grant agreement.
  • Grantees must detail expected results and agree to submit a final printed report, in the format provided by the Foundation, that details the project’s outcomes with copies of resulting publications and/or maps of activities and/or results.
  • Grantees must agree to prepare and supervise a tabletop exhibit about the project at the Rockfall Foundation Annual Meeting and awards event in the fall.
  • Grantees must facilitate a site visit to observe the project in action.
  • Grantees must recognize The Rockfall Foundation’s grant publicly in marketing materials, and provide The Foundation with electronic photos related to the project.

Preparing Your Application

PLEASE NOTE changes have been made to the grant application. Be sure to download and use the “2019 ENVIRONMENTAL GRANT APPLICATION”  fillable pdf document to submit your proposal.

Wednesday, September 12, 5 – 6 pm: Informational Session – For new and returning applicants, this session will provide information about the grant program, highlight changes to the application, and answer questions about the process.
Location: deKoven House Community Center, 27 Washington Street, Middletown, CT 06457

Thursday, November 8, 12 pm: Application Deadline – Applications and all required documents must be received electronically by the Rockfall Foundation by noon. Completed applications should be submitted by email to grants@rockfallfoundation.org. Applications received after the noon deadline will not be considered. Incomplete applications will not be considered.

Grant awards are announced in mid-February with funds available by April 1.

Required Attachments (for Applicant and Co-Applicant, if applicable)

  • A one-page summary of the applicant organization’s current budget.
  • A letter of agreement of a Co-Applicant partnership and a one-page summary of the co-applicant organization’s budget, if applicable.

For non-profit organizations only:

  • A copy of the first two pages of the most recently filed 990. For those not required to file a 990, a copy of Profit & Loss and Balance Sheet statements of the most recently completed year as approved by applicant’s board;
  • A list of the applicant’s Board of Directors, including name and professional affiliation.

Contact the Foundation
Please contact Amanda Kenyon, Administrative Assistant, at 860-347-0340 or via email with questions about the process, required documents, or to discuss project ideas.

Grant application review and selection is overseen by the Foundation’s Grants Committee. New applicants are highly encouraged to attend the Information Session. A list of previous recipients in recent years is available at here.

The Rockfall Foundation Competitive Grant Program is funded by endowment and by donations. If you would like information on making a donation, please contact the Foundation office at 860-347-0340 or donate online.

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