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Capacity Building


As the focus of the Chesapeake Bay restoration and protection effort shifts more and more to the local level and with the adoption of the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) that requires the development of Watershed Implementation Plans by state and local governments, watershed groups are poised to play an even greater role in the Bay’s recovery. Given their growing importance in efforts to clean up the Chesapeake Bay and local rivers and streams, increased levels of financial and technical support to river and watershed organizations is imperative. The Chesapeake Bay Funders Network (CBFN) Capacity Building Initiative will provide grants and technical assistance to increase the effectiveness of organizations that protect and restore rivers and watersheds, increasing their power to advance local watershed protection priorities through collaborative strategies.

Who is eligible to participate?
The next phase of the initiative will invite the participation of watershed and river organizations from all the Bay jurisdictions (VA, MD, DC, WV, PA, NY, and DE) Criteria described below and in the RFP will be used to evaluate proposals submitted to the Chesapeake Bay Trust on behalf of CBFN. CBFN anticipates 15–25 organizations will be selected to receive capacity building support for three years, with second and third year participation contingent upon available funding. To be eligible to participate in the Initiative, an organization must:

1) Have current 501(c )(3) status
2) Provide services in one or more of the Chesapeake Bay region jurisdictions: VA, WV, MD, Washington DC, DE, PA and NY
3) Have a primary mission to protect and preserve rivers and streams in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed and established programs to support that mission
4) Have a minimum of two (2) staff (at least one position must be paid with total hours equaling 35 hours or more per week; other positions must be at least 20 hours per week, paid or volunteer)
5) Have an active board that provides leadership in governance, community outreach, and fundraising

Eligible watershed organizations will be selected to participate in the program based on additional criteria including the significance of their watersheds to the overall Bay TMDL implementation process, their ability to play an effective role in the implementation of Phase II WIPs, their readiness for capacity building, their leadership capacity, and their willingness and ability to participate in collaborative initiatives.

Is this a three year initiative?
Yes, once selected you are eligible for assistance for up to 3 years; however, funding is not guaranteed for 3 years so levels of assistance may vary year to year. If more funds become available additional opportunities to participate in the initiative may be announced.

What if my organization does not meet the eligibility criteria?
CBFN is committed to offering capacity building support to as many organizations as possible. Whenever possible any interested organization may participate in trainings and workshops offered through this initiative. CBFN also hopes to offer capacity building mini grants on an as needed basis if funds are available. More information about other forms of assistance will be shared through the Chesapeake Network as they are available.

What types of assistance will be provided?
CBFN will provide participating organizations with three forms of assistance.
1) A third party assessment to facilitate the identification of organizational and programmatic capacity building needs most critical to their ability to advance local watershed restoration priorities. This confidential assessment includes completion of an on-line questionnaire, an in person interview and development of a capacity building work plan.
2) Capacity building grants will be provided based on the organization’s existing capacity, experience with capacity building as well as the potential for their increased capacity to affect significant change in their watershed. Grant funds can support specific tasks that will increase organizational capacity and programmatic effectiveness. Examples provided below. Grant award amounts will be based on the organizations existing capacity, potential to leverage support and available funds. CBFN anticipates award amounts to range from approximately $15,000 to $50,000.
3) Trainings and technical assistance will be offered throughout the 3 years of the initiative. Training topics will range and will be determined by the participating organizations and 3rd party assessment outcomes.

Examples of capacity building activities that could be supported through this initiative:
Participating organizations will prioritize their capacity building needs through an organizational assessment. This will inform the development of an annual capacity building work plan. The work plans will identify how capacity building activities will increase the impact of the organization’s programs on the successful implementation of watershed action plans (or WIPs). Examples include: strategic planning to prioritize programs, constituent/membership development in targeted regions/jurisdictions, program development assistance, enhancement of constituent management and organizing capacities, leadership and board development, assistance to assess programs and increase their effectiveness, and other activities to address high priority capacity building needs.

Initiative Timeline

Target Date Task
December 2, 2011 5pm Deadline for proposals to be submitted to www.cbtrustgrants.org
February 2012 Participating groups selected and notified
March 2012

Groups participate in 3rd party organizational assessments

March 2012/April 2012           Groups develop capacity building work plan to address organizational and programmatic priorities
April 2012 Groups submit capacity building work plans for approval and provide feedback on training topics
May 2012 Approval of year one capacity building grants,
Ongoing throughout the year Work Plan site visits, training sessions, networking sessions, leadership development workshops, etc.
Fall 2012    Year two assistance levels determined and communicated to participating groups
February-May 2013 3rd party organizational assessments, development of year two work plans, grants issued
Ongoing throughout the year Work Plan site visits, training sessions, networking sessions, leadership development workshops, etc.
Fall 2013 Year three assistance levels determined and communicated to participating groups
February- May 2014 Organizational assessments, development of year three work plans, grants issued
Ongoing throughout the year Targeted trainings and workshops provided regionally

Program Status
This grant program is currently CLOSED

Grant Application Process
Proposals must be submitted online via the Chesapeake Bay Trust’s online grant system. A copy of the RFP and application instructions. Capacity building grants will be awarded and trainings will be in May 2012.

Questions and Technical Support
Jamie Baxter

410-974-2941 x105