Skip to content

Montana Watershed Coordination Council | P.O. Box 1416 Helena, MT 59624 | info@mtwatersheds.orgClick Here to Sign-up for our Watershed Newsletter

2021 Capacity Support Request for Proposals

The MWCC Watershed Fund has funding to help our local watershed conservation partners develop the organizational capacity necessary to achieve community conservation goals.  Up to $5,000 may be awarded to each recipient, with a total of $40,000 in funding available. Match funding is not required but is encouraged to maximize the impacts of this funding and our partners’ programs.

Proposals are due by 5 pm on Friday, October 1, 2021. Funding decisions will be made in November 2021. Funding will be distributed upon completion of a contract between MWCC and the grantee.


The purpose of this funding is to fill critical capacity gaps, enabling local watershed conservation organizations to more sustainably and effectively pursue targeted conservation goals identified within their communities. Projects must directly relate to community-led solutions using the Watershed Approach and must also demonstrate a strong connection between organizational or community capacity and improved watershed health. 


Watershed conservation organizations that are supporting local communities to advance community-based, locally led conservation using the Watershed Approach to conservation are eligible. This includes watershed groups; conservation districts; irrigation districts; water quality districts; non-profits; forest collaboratives; tribal communities; and tribal government agencies. Federal agencies, state agencies, individuals, and for-profit entities are not eligible.

Examples of Eligible Projects:

The following are merely examples and not inclusive of all potentially eligible projects. MWCC encourages innovative approaches to building organizational capacity to achieve local watershed conservation goals.

  • Establishing a new conservation program
  • Developing partnerships for a specific conservation goal
  • Establishing cooperative conservation initiatives, such as weed management areas, drought response and mitigation efforts, local climate change response, etc.
  • Developing sustainable fundraising strategies for specific watershed conservation efforts
  • Landowner outreach efforts aimed at specific conservation efforts or developing more on-the-ground projects on private lands
  • Increasing Board involvement in conservation initiatives
  • Creating education and outreach programs


This money cannot be used for the following:

  • On-the-ground projects or monitoring programs
  • Political lobbying or litigation
  • Purchase of equipment that is not directly related to a capacity-building project or that exceeds 20% of the project budget.
  • Projects not directly related to improving or sustaining local conservation efforts, such as financial planning, strategic planning, general communications, organizational succession planning, etc. The Montana Nonprofit Association’s Resource Center provides resources and training related to nonprofit development and management. MWCC is also working to develop similar resources tailored to watershed conservation group needs, including upcoming trainings. (Stay tuned!)

What is Required of Organizations that Receive Funding?

Organizations that receive funding will be required to:

  • Complete their project on or before September 30, 2022
  • Submit a brief final report on project outcomes, activities, deliverables, budget, and publicity on or before October 15, 2022
  • Be willing to share materials developed from funded activities with MWCC and our watershed conservation partners to build capacity statewide

How to Apply

If your organization has an existing account in the online platform Submittable, please ensure that you are logged into that account before clicking on the proposal form link below. If your organization does not yet have a Submittable account, create one using your organization’s name as the name of the account, i.e. First Name: Shady Creek, Last Name: Watershed Council. If you are new to Submittable, you can click here to learn more about how to create a free account and fill out a proposal form (“submission”) via this platform.

Submit your proposal for funding by 5 pm on Friday, October 1, 2021 via the online 2021 Capacity Support Proposal Form.

  • You may submit up to three letters of support from project partners mentioned in your proposals. Letters of support are encouraged, but not required.
  • Use the spreadsheets linked at the bottom of this RFP for the Tasks, Deliverables, and Timeline and Project Budget uploads in the proposal form.
  • A Word document of the full proposal form is also attached at the bottom of this RFP for reference, but final proposals must be submitted via the online form.

We strongly encourage applicants to contact Watershed Programs Coordinator Terri Nichols to discuss their proposal ideas, and with any questions., 406.210.1217

Review Criteria

The MWCC Watershed Fund evaluates proposals based on the following criteria:

  1. Project addresses a specific issue or problem that is preventing the applying organization from pursuing targeted conservation goals identified within their community.
  2. Project will enable the applying organization to more sustainably and effectively pursue targeted watershed conservation goals identified within their community.
  3. Project demonstrates a strong connection between organizational or community capacity and improved watershed health.
  4. Project implements the following principles of the Watershed Approach:
    1. Is community-based and community-driven
    2. Ensures broad stakeholder involvement and inclusivity
    3. Relies on local leadership
    4. Encourages collaboration with partners in the watershed
  5. Strong support demonstrated from local watershed partners.
  6. Project Tasks, Deliverables, and Timeline will move the organization toward its stated goals.
  7. Project Tasks, Deliverables, and Timeline can realistically be completed by the end of September 2022.
  8. Project budget and details are clear and realistic in the context of the proposed project
  9. There is a clear need for funding from the Watershed Fund.

The MWCC Watershed Fund wishes to thank the following supporters for making this capacity funding available to our local watershed partners