Direct Support Fund

Currently, one of the greatest threats to the health of our watershed and quality of life in the communities we serve is the development of natural gas in the Marcellus Shale region. The Direct Support Fund provides small disbursements to grassroots groups and advocates working toward social change on shale gas issues.  The Direct Support Fund is made possible by The Heinz Endowments and The 11th Hour Project and is a project of the Mountain Watershed Association.

Proposals are reviewed on the third Friday of each month. In order to be considered, applications must be received one week prior to this date. Applications received past this deadline will be considered the following month.

Our awards committee strongly considers:

  • Proposals from groups with annual budgets not exceeding $10,000
  • Requests from grassroots, citizen-led groups or citizen-activists with few available resources
  • Projects that seek to organize, inform or educate community members about the impacts of shale gas drilling
  • Projects focused on developing new community leadership, collective strategizing or problem solving, community outreach, or those that support direct action
  • Activities pursued in collaboration with other activists, groups or communities
  • Travel and/or conference expenses for events that increase networking, strategizing, and communication among activists or grassroots groups.
  • Proposals less than $2,000, though larger requests will be accepted

We do not consider:

  • Direct requests for water testing or replacement (although expenses associated with holding a fundraiser to raise money for water for impacted communities or families will be accepted)
  • Requests for relief for a specific household (air quality monitoring, health care expenses, expenses associated with temporary living quarters)
  • Operating expenses (such as electric bills or staff time)
  • Funds being used for matching grants
  • Activities that benefit private interest, business, or profit-making groups
  • Incomplete applications will not be considered

To apply, please complete our short application.  Proposals are considered monthly.  A final completion form and electronically submitted receipts are required within 30 days of project completion.


For assistance with this process, please contact Ashley Funk at 724/455-4200, ext. 6# or

All applicants who are approved will be required to submit a W-9 form before funding is dispersed. Our accountant has advised us these funds will be considered income for recipients and at the end of the year a 1099 will be provided.

Organizations serving on the coordinating committee include Berks Gas Truth, Center for Coalfield Justice, Clean Air CouncilClean Water Action, Marcellus Outreach Butler, Mountain Watershed Association, Protect Our Children, and Shalefield Stories.