Grant Center Overview

Philadelphia and its metropolitan region lie within the Delaware watershed, named for the longest un-dammed river in the United States east of the Mississippi. Although it comprises only four-tenths of one percent of the total continental U.S. land area, approximately five percent of the nation's population – over 15 million people – rely on the Delaware watershed for drinking water. In addition, the Delaware watershed includes large expanses of natural lands that both protect clean water and provide habitat of regional and hemispheric importance.

Globally, regions with access to plentiful supplies of clean water will increasingly have a competitive edge over regions with constrained or degraded supplies. Nevertheless, threats to water quality and supply abound, even in our region. These include inappropriately sited residential and commercial development that results in the loss of critical watershed lands, including forested headwaters, wetlands, and aquifer recharge areas; agricultural practices that result in increasing amounts of polluted run-off from farm fields; increasing volumes of polluted stormwater; and development of energy infrastructure, including the burgeoning extraction of natural gas. To protect and restore clean water in the Delaware watershed, the Foundation invests in science-based approaches along three mutually reinforcing strategies.

Follow the links below to view program guidelines for each strategy:

Support Watershed-wide Research, Policy, and Practice
  • Fund scientific research and analysis to provide information on water quality.
  • Advance policies and practices that accelerate, strengthen, or expand public and private watershed protection.

Protect and Restore Targeted Places of Ecological Significance
  • Develop, implement, and monitor conservation and restoration models.
  • Provide capital for land acquisition to promote conservation and protect water quality.
  • Provide capital for stream restoration to restore water quality.
Empower Constituencies to Act
  • Secure funds to complete “The Circuit,” Greater Philadelphia’s regional trail network.
  • Strengthen existing and emerging environmental education and outdoor recreation centers by encouraging shared programming and coordinated outreach.
  • Enhance the capacity of the region’s hunters, anglers, birders, and other outdoor enthusiasts, to support watershed preservation and restoration.

In each of these grant categories, we are also interested in opportunities to support initiatives that are transformational to an organization’s future or projects that bring innovations that advance water quality.

Prospective grantees are welcome to submit proposals to more than one strategy.