Photo by Loy Elliott

Frequently Asked Questions

Who can apply?

Municipalities, municipal agencies, counties, academic institutions and authorized non-profit organizations are all eligible applicants. Authorized organizations must be both tax-exempt under Section 501(c) 3 of the Internal Revenue Code and registered with the PA Department of State Bureau of Charitable Organizations.

When is the deadline to apply?

The typical schedule is as follows: Pre-Application - Pre-application opens on the first Monday of April. Pre-applications are due on the last Friday of May. Final Application - If invited to do so, a final application must be submitted by the last Friday of July. Notification - Applicants will be notified of the status of their application in October.

What are the Grant request limits?

Applicants may submit proposals that range in size from a minimum of $2,500 to a maximum of $15,000. At the discretion of the review committee, projects exceeding $15,000 and up to $25,000 may be considered for projects that have demonstrable regional impact and integrate across multiple priority areas.

What projects are eligible?

All projects must be within Cumberland, Adams, Franklin, or York County and have significant ties to the assets of South Mountain, the working lands that surround the mountain, and/or the communities tied to both. Multi-year funding is not considered within this program; awarded grants close out at the end of the calendar year following the year in which the grant is awarded. For instance, projects funded as part of the 2016 grant cycle must close out by December 31, 2017.

What types of projects have been funded in the past?

For a description of past projects funded by the South Mountain Partnership Mini-Grant program, see “Past Mini-Grants.”

I need funding to do this and that; can I apply for a Mini-Grant?

The Mini-Grant program is intended to be project-specific. We anticipate receiving applications for concrete, defined projects that have clear objectives, outcomes and deliverables. The Mini-Grant program is not intended to support organizational capacity efforts (printing membership brochures or promotional brochures for instance, or to facilitate fundraising efforts for the organization) nor provide general operating support for organizations.

How will you decide what applicants receive funding?

Applications are considered across the following criteria:

  • Detailed and Complete Project Narrative
  • Complete Budget
  • Alignment with Partnership
    • Advances the Partnership’s Mission and Goals
    • Partner Collaboration
    • Integration
  • Connection to Partnership Activity and/or Outcomes
  • Project Evaluation & Project Sustainability

What is a “nexus project”?

A nexus project is a project that integrates across two or more of the Landscape Resources (natural, cultural, agricultural, and recreational) that the Partnership prioritizes in its work throughout the region. Nexus projects have positive, demonstrable impact on not just one specific resource but on multiple ones; such projects are prioritized within the Mini-Grant Program.

Who decides what applications are awarded funding?

A small committee of Partnership partners representing diverse interests and geographies review and rank the proposals. Participation in the committee is on a voluntary basis, and the committee membership changes yearly; partners serving on the committee in any given year may not apply for funding in that year’s Mini-Grant funding round.

Who should I contact if I might be interested in applying for a Mini-Grant?

Contact South Mountain Partnership Director Katie Hess or Lead Mike Eschenmann for more information on the Mini-Grant program. We strongly encourage all organizations considering applying to this program to contact us to discuss the proposed project.

Does this Grant program require a match?

Yes. A 1:1 match is required. That is, the Mini-Grant request may not exceed 50% of the total project cost (including cash and in-kind contributions).

When do we have to have the cash match available?

Your cash match should be available when you list this match on your grant application, although we do consider applications that have pending match. Your grant application must include a support letter from the partner organization(s) that notes the agreed upon donation amount or value.

Can a non-cash match be used?

Yes. Non-cash match can include donated materials, professional time, volunteer time, donated land value, and services conducted in-house for which the grantee organization does not receive compensation.

Where does the funding come from for the Mini-Grant Program?

The Mini-Grant Program is administered by the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. The original source of funding is the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources’ Community Conservation Partnership Program, Environmental Stewardship Fund.

Can I match the Mini-Grant to a DCNR grant?

No. The Mini-Grant program is funded through a DCNR funding source, and you cannot match DCNR funds to DCNR funds.

If awarded a Grant, how much money would we get up front?

Terms can vary, but generally you would get between 50 and 90% of the amount up front with the remaining amount to be dispersed when the project is closed out. ATC will hold a minimum of 10% of the grant amount until all grant close-out documents have been received.

What are the terms and conditions of the grant agreement if I am awarded a Mini- Grant?

Mini-Grant funds originally come from the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources as part of the Environmental Stewardship Fund Program. ATC is the grant administrator but requires recipients to comply with the standard DCNR terms and conditions. To view an example of a past agreement, including the terms and conditions, click here.

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