Apply for Spokane River Grants

Groups of any size are eligible to apply. Regardless of the size of your organization, the maximum grant your group may request is $25,000. In addition to larger organizations, we’ve specifically reserved some of the grant funds for smaller grassroots organizations and we encourage proposals from local, volunteer-based groups. Small organizations should request a grant appropriate to their budget size and capacity. Larger groups should demonstrate how this grant will have specific local impact. If your group has an annual budget of $100,000 or less, we encourage you not to apply for a grant greater than $10,000.


Use these suggestions to help craft a clear, compelling proposal.

Define the goals of the group or project, and how they can be achieved. How will this project benefit the water quality of the targeted watershed? Why are the goals important both in a big picture sense and to the communities and the environment immediately affected?

Clear and Reasonable Work Plan
The work plan is the specific actions or steps to be undertaken in order to achieve the goals. When writing a work plan it is important to clearly spell out exactly what the group plans to do over the grant period. Be specific.

Organizational Capacity
We consider whether the group has the capacity and resources to carry out the work plan. If a group has a great idea, but a minimal track record, then we consider the skills and experiences of the staff, volunteers and board members. Does a group have the knowledge, skills (or access to others who have the knowledge and skills) and ability to raise the amount of money that is needed to implement the proposed work?

Measurement of Success
Tell us how the success of the group will be measured.

Quantifiable Goals
What are the quantifiable goals or outcomes (i.e. distribution of 1000 newsletters, table at 5 events, protection of 200 acres, generation of 100 comment letters or 250 postcards, restore 1,000 linear feet of shoreline, protect 15 acres of wetlands,…)?

Non-quantifiable Goals
How will hard-to-measure goals be evaluated (i.e. change how community members think about environmental protection, build long-term environmental constituency, create a new generation of environmental leaders,…)?

Financial Need and Urgency
One factor that we consider is the degree of financial need and the urgency. If a group seems to have plenty of other opportunities to secure funding, then we may consider that group’s need to be less of a priority. Is there an urgent need for the money or is there a window of opportunity that makes the need especially urgent?

Project vs General Support
If your group is small and entirely dedicated  to the targeted watershed, you may want to apply for a general support grant. But even so, please be specific about what your programs are that the grant would fund. If work related to the targeted watershed is only one part of your group’s work, the group is still eligible to apply, but you should define a specific project that directly focuses on the targeted watershed. If you are seeking funding for a piece of a larger project, please be clear about what these specific grant funds will support and the local impact your group would be able to make with this grant.

Review Grantee Lists
Take a minute or two to look at lists for our pior grantees. This will give you an idea of the types of groups and projects that we support. You can view the grants list by clicking here.

Organizational Size
Size is primarily based on the applicant’s actual income and expenses for the previous year. However, we also consider the budget for the current year, and whether there was a one-time income/expense that inflated the budget. Additionally, we consider whether a group is actually independent from a larger group that would not have qualified due to their large size. For example, if your group is fiscally-sponsored by a larger entity, what matters is your group’s budget size, not your fiscal sponsor’s.

Big Impact
Funding is limited, so we are looking for the maximum strategic impact or the “most bang for the buck,” which means that programs with a very small area of impact may not be as high of a priority as projects with a broader impact. We consider how a project affects not only the immediate area, but how it affects the broader community and whether it can be used as a model for others. The size of the grant you are seeking is also part of the calculus. If you have a small-scale project, you may be more competitive vis a vis other proposals if you ask for a smaller grant.

Events and Festivals
While there are always exceptions, the Fund is generally been reluctant to fund one-day or weekend events and festivals because of the short-term nature of events, and difficulty in measuring the long-term impact. Festival applicants need to demonstrate the educational value and long-term impact of their event. However, a one-day event may be an appropriate element of a larger, year-round education and outreach program.

Compelling Outcomes
Groups often ask for money for a specific reason (which is fine), but are sometimes unable to articulate the importance of using the money that way. If you ask for money for a study or report, tell us how it will be used to produce a specific outcome. If you ask for money for a website, tell us how that website will motivate people to take action. If you ask for money for office space, tell us why it is important to further the mission of the organization.

Diversity and Working with Underserved Communities
Do the group’s volunteers, staff and board reflect the ethnic, economic, and gender diversity of those that are impacted by the project/issue? What efforts have been made to diversify the group, and to reach out to affected communities? Sometimes the only way we can measure this is if it is clearly spelled out on the application. Tell us about the socio-economic, ethnic, and/or racial composition of your board, staff or volunteers, as well as their involvement with disadvantaged communities. What is the socio-economic, ethnic, and/or racial composition of your group’s constituency? Don’t assume that we know the ethnic, racial, or economic composition of a neighborhood or city, tell us. Also tell us about people who are involved with your organization who are in a category of people who are commonly discriminated against: like people in the gay / lesbian / bisexual / transgendered community, disabled people, elderly, people of color, and people who are under-employed or unemployed.

Outreach Strategy
How does your group reach out to the people to inform them and motivate them to take action? Events, newsletters, press releases, tabling, writing articles in the local paper, getting people to sign petitions or mail postcards are all examples of outreach tools.

Don’t be an Island
The environmental movement is stronger when it works together, avoiding duplication and collaborating on policy issues. How is your group reaching out to other groups in your area and to groups who are doing similar work around the region? Can you demonstrate community support for your work?

Can’t Support or Oppose Political Candidates
Nonprofits are banned from supporting or opposing any candidate running for elected office, nor may nonprofits support or be affiliated with any political parties. Applications for any candidate-related or partisan activity will be rejected.

When in Doubt, Try Again!
If your application was not funded last time and you feel that your organization did well on all the above mentioned points, then it may simply have been a case of not enough money to go around. We are forced to make some really tough decisions, so we want to encourage groups to try again. Each group is eligible to reapply one year after an application is submitted to the Fund. Groups are often funded the second time because they can show a stronger track record and/or their application is better crafted. Feel free to give staff a call for feedback on your last application and to strategize about submitting a new one.


These criteria are intended to guide consideration of proposals, but are not considered to be “absolutes.” In some cases, individual proposals might be worthy of funding even if they do not fully meet all of the criteria. A round of grants, or more holistically, several rounds of grants, collectively represent an overall mosaic. The goal of the Rose Foundation is that its mosaic of grantees and projects represents a diversity of environmental issues, strategies and communities.

  • Does the proposal address the goals of the Fund?
  • How important is the overall issue addressed by the proposal?
  • Is the work plan clear and reasonable?
  • What is the strategic value of the applicant’s work?
  • Is the issue or workplan urgent?
  • Is the budget realistic? Can the work be done for the amount requested? Is there a viable plan to raise any additional needed funds?
  • Does the organization have the capacity and leadership to complete the workplan?
  • Does the group or project impact underserved communities? Are those communities reflected in the group’s board and staff?
  • Does the group or project help build a broad environmental constituency?
  • Does the group or project have an effective outreach strategy?
  • Will the work produce clearly defined results?
  • What local objectives will be achieved?


Kevin Hendrick, Grants Manager
khendrick -at-

Tim Little, Executive Director
tlittle -at-
(510) 658-0702 x301

For technical questions or assistance with the application system, please contact:

Laura Fernandez, Grants Associate
lfernandez -at-
(510) 658-0702 x304

*(please replace AT with @)
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