Grants

We envision a future where flourishing watersheds and the unimpeded flow of water are of the utmost importance and water is highly valued as the sacred source of life. Our grants program will support work that nourishes our waterways, upholds the strength of Indigenous voices and ways of being in relation to the land and water, and weaves together enduring relationships and partnerships that flow throughout and across watersheds.

Funding will meet watershed stewards and champions where they are at, building partnerships and collaboration amongst First Nations, local governments, NGOs, community groups, and scientific communities.

Like the natural ebb and flow of our waterways, we will grow and evolve through this work with water remaining the most important environmental, cultural, economic, and spiritual wellspring we share.

Overview

River flowing into ocean. Phot by Kyler Vos.
Kyler Vos

Our grants program supports projects and initiatives that advance the resiliency of our watersheds while adhering to a framework of reconciliation and pursuing collaborative relationships to steward the restoration and conservation of healthy watersheds for generations to come.

In this first year, the Fund’s Grants Program will start flowing commitments of $7-$10 million to communities, spread across two grant intakes in 2024/25, to address urgent and long-term watershed security needs. Together with the Grants Working Group, we endeavor to build a foundation of work, systems, and approaches that transfer over and evolve into the long-term multi-year grants program offered through the Watershed Security Fund.

It is early days for the Fund, and we are on a tight timeline to respond quickly to community needs, with a modest amount of dollars available initially. We will do our best to bring forward a good program, recognizing that we will continue to build, resource, and adapt it over the coming year and beyond. We are excited and proud to work together with project teams in watersheds across B.C. on this inspiring, impactful, and healing work.

The Grants Working Group

The WSF Grants Working Group is comprised of a diverse group of leaders with deep knowledge, experience and connection to regional watershed needs and communities across BC. They are generously providing their learning and insights to support the development of an evolving innovative multi-year co-developed grants program offered through the Watershed Security Fund.

Handing holding pebbles from a stream. Photo by Kyler Vos.
Kyler Vos

The Watershed Security Fund is fortunate to benefit from the collective wisdom, experience, and leadership of the members of the Grants Working Group:

  • Lydia Hwitsum, Co-Commissioner, First Nations Water Caucus (Cowichan Nation)
  • Teena Demeulemeester, Delegate, First Nations Water Caucus (Saulteau First Nation)
  • Deana Machin, Delegate, First Nations Water Caucus (Syilx (Okanagan) Nation)
  • Brodie Guy, Chief Executive Officer, Island Coastal Economic Trust
  • Tara Marsden/Naxginkw, Consultant, Hlimoo Sustainable Solutions (Gitanyow (Gitksan) people)
  • Tim Morris, Director, BC Water Legacy
  • Ione Smith, Senior Agrologist, Upland Agricultural Consulting

Working Group Members are encouraged to contribute their own unique perspectives and are not representing the views or positions of their respective Nation, community or organization.

Our Priorities and Funding Streams

In this first year of the program, grant funding will support projects and initiatives that take place in territories and regions within what is known as British Columbia, and that prioritize reconciliation, ecosystem restoration, climate resilience and sustainable economies. Funded projects will support healthy watersheds across a range of project types in any of the following areas of watershed-based work. We recognize the holistic, interwoven aspects of watershed work and understand that most projects will connect across several areas.

Funding Themes (Areas of work) include:

  • Watershed Collaboration, Planning and Governance
  • Watershed and Ecosystems Restoration
  • Nature-based infrastructure
  • Watersheds & Food Systems
  • Monitoring and Assessment
  • Land & Water-based Learning, Intergenerational Knowledge

Funding Streams

There are widespread needs and interests in watershed funding across the province which far exceed available funds. Given the small size of our funding envelope in 2024/25, three funding streams have been identified with some limitations on the maximum grant size.

Organizations are eligible to make one application per intake.

Emergent, early forming, or smaller projects or those at exploratory and learning stages, partnerships and relationship building.

Scope: project design, research & planning, initial partner conversations & readiness building

Small to medium scale, further along in design, development, collaboration, and implementation than headwaters.

Scope: community engagement, detailed research planning, partnership, and project development; smaller scale implementation and shovel ready projects.

Larger scale, stronger foundation of prior work and partnerships, collaboration, and readiness to implement.

Scope: Partnerships in place, plans and projects or initiatives are well developed and ‘implementation’ or ‘shovel’ ready.

Assessment Criteria and Eligibility

The WSF is committed to upholding the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). UNDRIP principles and efforts toward reconciliation and reciprocity can be intentionally woven into organizational culture, practice, and project work.

Teachings from Indigenous Leaders and outcomes from previously funded work demonstrate that the most effective means of advancing UNDRIP is for Indigenous-led teams to design and direct projects to benefit their Nation and members. For non-Indigenous-led project teams, up-front partnership development and co-design of project objectives with the Nations involved is a key enabler of advancing UNDRIP. Additional ways may be through project activities that support the exercise of Indigenous rights, incorporation of Indigenous Knowledge, communications, and outreach to First Nations leadership, and weaving of Indigenous ceremony, training, rights and interests into budgets, planning and activities.

The review and decision-making process for grant applications will consider many dimensions of a project proposal. These are some additional considerations, which if relevant to your proposal, will help guide our review and funding recommendations:

  • Free, Prior, Informed Consent (FPIC)
  • Equity
  • Community Connection
  • Economic Resiliency, Jobs, Training & Mentorship
  • Diversity of Interests & Collaboration

Applicants will have the opportunity to briefly describe how their project addresses any of these aspects. Descriptions of assessment criteria intentions are provided in the Application Guide.

Eligible Organizations for WSF grant funding include Indigenous and non-Indigenous Organisations in any of these categories:

  • Registered Non–profit
  • Educational Institution
  • Social Enterprise (C3)

And:

  • First Nation (including First Nation governments, Tribal Councils and others)
  • Local/Regional Government

Eligibility is not restricted to Canada Revenue Agency registered charities or qualified donees. In addition to those listed above, some other types of organizations may be eligible.

WSF Grants are not able to fund:

  • Activities that primarily provide financial benefits for individuals
  • Debt retirement, reserves, mortgage paydowns
  • Retroactive expenses (costs incurred prior to funding being approved)
  • Purchase of land or large-scale development of buildings
  • Endowments
  • Partisan political activities
  • Projects or initiatives that do not take place in what is known as British Columbia. 

Applications for short-term or multi-year projects and initiatives can be submitted.

Funding Opportunities

Our first intake opens June 3-26, 2024, for grants approved in September. Our second intake is planned to open in late 2024/ early 2025 for grants approved in Spring 2025.

These are our first intakes of an ongoing, evolving, multi-year program.

Please find below a Guide to the Grants Program and Application as well as a list of some Frequently Asked Questions. 

Applications for Funding

Current Intake: June 3, 2024 – Closes June 26, 2024
Applications are accepted until 5 pm PST on June 26, 2024.

Please find the Application and Budget Form below.

Ways to Apply

Applications for Watershed project and Initiative grants for this first intake will be accepted from June 3, 2024 until June 26, 2024.

We aim to uphold grant making practices that are approachable, accessible, adaptable, and supportive and grounded in good relationships, trust and partnerships. With this in mind, we are offering three different ways to apply:

Fill out the application through our online portal.

Fill out the Application Form and submit by email to our Grants Coordinator

Submit to grants@watershedsecurityfund.ca

(Please note, applications will be accepted between June 3, 2024 and June 26,2024)

Connect with our Grants program staff, who will complete your application based on your dialogue. Your application will be sent to you to confirm what was shared before finalizing.

To set up your conversation with a Grants Program staff member, please email us at grants@watershedsecurityfund.ca or call us at 604-343-2620 Ext 101.

(Please note, application intake via a conversation with our Grants team can take place between June 3, 2024 and June 18, 2024. Please arrange this with our team well in advance, to allow time for us to schedule the call and then confirm and finalize the application content before the deadline of June 26.)

Application Supports and Guidance 

Interested in applying for a grant? Not sure where to begin? We’re here to support you in your application.  

Grants Program Webinar

We’re here to support you in your application. Below are the recordings of two webinars hosted by the Watershed Security Fund team. The webinars provide information on the grants program, the application process, and more.

Webinar # 2 | June 17, 2024

Webinar # 1 | May 27, 2024

Connect with Program Staff 

We are here to support you. We encourage you to connect with our program staff prior to submitting your application.