The Rockfall Foundation is announcing the establishment of a new major grants initiative to expand its environmental Green Grants program. The application process will be opened this fall and the first major grants awarded in spring 2014.
“The goal of these larger grants – given either as single-year or multi-year disbursements – is to provide worthy groups with the resources to launch or complete a major project or program, and to be more effective in the community,” says Rockfall President Peter Patton. “This type of grant can help offset recent years of downturns in both public and private sector general support for nonprofits, especially environmental groups.”
The Foundation plans to make one or two larger grants, up to a total of $25,000, every other year.
The foundation has given smaller grants to organizations and towns throughout the county since 1972, providing critical seed money and support for innovative grassroots environmental education, conservation and planning initiatives. These grants have ranged from $500 to $5,000 and been awarded to 10 – 12 groups per year, totaling up to $20,000 annually.
“Studies on national giving and its impact on protecting the natural environment and conserving our natural resources highlight the critical need for greater levels of environmental-focused giving, particularly giving that supports grassroots groups and initiatives," says Claire Rusowicz, Rockfall's Executive Director.
For these new grants, awards will be given exclusively to innovative approaches to environmental education in Middlesex County. Education will range from pre-school to college level and be broadly defined, i.e., not limited to school curricula.
With this new program, the foundation will now have an every-other- year cycle for grant applications. In years A, smaller grants will be awarded to a number of groups, according to the ongoing program and at the current levels of giving. In years B the foundation will award only one to two major grants, totaling in 2014 up to $25,000.
The major grants guidelines, application and supporting materials will be available on Rockfall’s website (www.rockfallfoundation.org ) later in the year; the application deadline will be late fall. The foundation will also hold an application workshop for prospective applicants.
Founded in 1935 by Middletown philanthropist Clarence S. Wadsworth, Rockfall is named after the large waterfall in Wadsworth Falls State Park. In addition to its grants, the foundation sponsors educational programs, continues to preserve and help sustain open space land holdings in the county and supports the 100-year-old Wadsworth/Kerste deBoer Arboretum, a Wadsworth legacy property on Long Lane (Middletown.)
Rockfall is headquartered in Middletown in the historic deKoven House Community Center, which it maintains and operates as a community center with meeting rooms and office space for locally-based environmental groups.