Cawaco receives funds from the Alabama Association of Resource Conservation & Development Councils to provide competitive grants to small towns and nonprofits that would likely not receive funding from major funders or agencies.
We fund projects that :
- Closely align with our current funding priorities,
- Is likely to make a broad community, environmental, or educational impact,
- Where the project proposed is cost-effective,
- Reaches the greatest number of citizens,
- Where a modest investment will make a significant difference.
Under the terms of our charter, Cawaco RC&D Council can distribute grants to qualified public entities or 501(c)(3) charities serving the people of Blount, Chilton, Jefferson, Shelby, and Walker Counties of Alabama. The Council does not lend or grant money to individuals or for-profit institutions.
Funding Priorities (2019-2023)
- Workforce development
- Access to local food (school and community gardens, projects that address food insecurity)
- Access to outdoor recreation (trails, canoe launches, signage, design, etc.)
- Community planning and design
- First responder support
- Improvement of local habitats
Types of Grants
For job/trade skill training, scholarships, field trips, books, or materials
Must fulfill an educational purpose and reach a large audience
$3,500 minimum; $20,000 maximum
For materials, infrastructure, or educational/safety equipment
$3,500 minimum; $20,000 maximum
NOTE: The average project funded ranges between $5,000 – $10,000. Prior to submitting a grant over $10,000, contact Cawaco’s program manager, Patti Pennington at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss the project.
Our grant cycle opens March 1 and closes July 1 of each year. Questions concerning the grant program should be directed to Patti Pennington at email@example.com or 205.623.0457. All grants must close out prior to August 1 of each year.
Applications are scored by one committee member from each of our five counties. Winners will be notified in September of each year. Grants are evaluated based on need, area/population served, strength of community support and volunteer network, and meeting Cawaco’s funding priorities. Cawaco will email you with the results of our selection process. If you are selected to receive a grant, we will attach a contract for your organization to review and sign.
Final Reports and Reimbursement
All grants are reimbursable grants. Reimbursement (in the form of a check) will be sent once your project is complete and we have received all the appropriate final report paperwork. Final report forms can be found below.
Final reports are due BEFORE August 1 and must include a brief narrative, a minimum of two digital pictures, copies of checks and/or bank statements, and copies of receipts and invoices. If you’ve received a grant and are looking to file your final report, visit this page for instructions.
NOTE: It may take up to three weeks to receive your reimbursement. The payment process will go much faster if you submit ALL receipts and check copies for purchases related to your project and follow the budget set in your proposal.
Acknowledgement of funding is important! We may choose to highlight your story on our website and Facebook page, or in our newsletter. All promotional materials related to your project, including T-shirts, flyers, etc., must acknowledge Cawaco RC&D Council as a funder with the following wording: “Funding for this project was supplied (in part) by Cawaco RC&D, Inc. www.cawaco.org.”
Helpful Hints and More Information
Before submitting a proposal, consider the following questions, which will help you present a clear vision and increase your likelihood of being awarded a grant:
- Define Your Needs
- What needs to be done? How will you accomplish your objectives? Does your project meet Cawaco’s strategic funding priorities?
- Define Your Leadership
- Who will oversee your project? If the program manager leaves, who will be responsible then?
- Define Your Goals
- What problem are you trying to solve? Who will benefit from this initiative? For how long? Who will maintain your program, structure, etc.?
- Define Your Supporters
- How do you gauge the level of commitment you have from the community? Are community members willing to volunteer or contribute to assure your project’s success?