Pigeon River Fund Grant

The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina

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Grant amount: US $5,000 - US $35,000

Next anticipated deadline: Sep 15, 2020 2:00pm PDT

Later anticipated deadlines: Mar 15, 2021 2:00pm PDT

Applicant type: Government Entity Nonprofit College / University Elementary / Secondary School

Funding uses: Education / Outreach, Project / Program

Location of project: Counties in North Carolina: Buncombe County, Haywood County, Madison County

Location of residency: United States

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About this funder:



The Pigeon River Fund (PRF) exists to improve the streams and rivers of Haywood, Buncombe and Madison counties in North Carolina. Preparation of river management plans and watershed studies, as well as acquisition of conservation easements, shall be considered to provide direct benefits.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) license creating the Pigeon River Fund in 1996 defined the objectives of the grant program as follows:
  • To improve surface water quality,
  • To enhance fish and wildlife management habitats,
  • To expand public use and access to waterways, and
  • To increase citizens' awareness about their roles in protecting these resources.

    Through May 2016, more than $5.8 million has been awarded in grants by the Pigeon River Fund to projects in Haywood, Buncombe and Madison counties. The Pigeon River Fund was established in 1996 through an agreement between Progress Energy and the State of North Carolina. The grant program is administered by The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina.

You can learn more about this opportunity by visiting the funder's website.


  • Tax-exempt organizations described in Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal RevenueCode and governmental entities are eligible to apply for these grants. 
  • PRF grants should leverage other funds or in-kind resources toward total project costs. 
  • If the project is/will be ongoing, PRF funds should only be a resource for start-up/pilot or a specific time-limited component of a larger project.
    • Applicants should have plans for sustainability beyond the PRF grant for on-going projects. 
  • Grant funds may be used to support “administrative costs” including share of staff costs when directly related to accomplishing the PRF-related project.
  • Grant requests may be in any of the four focus areas:
    • Improved surface water quality
    • Enhanced fish and wildlife management and habitats
      • Expanded public access
        • Increased citizen’s awareness about their roles in protecting these resources.


      • Grant requests may address any of the four focus areas listed above. To provide applicants with additional guidance, the Pigeon River Fund Board has the following expectations for grants: 
        • Priority for funding for requests that:
          • Support efforts to address water quality issues in streams or watersheds that are identified as priorities in county (or other authority) watershed action plans. 
          • Promote collaboration or coordination on projects that address comprehensive issues and will have long-term impact. 
          • Encourage education and awareness of water quality issues preferably focused on helping individuals understand how their actions relate to the overall health of the river basin.
          • Install water quality BMPs or other stream improvements that are part of a coordinated multi-faceted effort and will result in significant improvement in water quality. 
        • Lower priority
          • Scattered projects (including demonstration BMPs or other projects) not related to coordinated effort to improve priority streams/watershed in that community. 
          • Government agency operating support, especially staffing. 
          • Projects related to regulation enforcement which is the responsibility of the government.


      • PRF grant funds are not appropriate for any projects and activities related to or in support of litigation in any administrative or judicial forum.