Eligibility Requirements

Eligible Applicants

The following are eligible applicants for MWMO funding:

  • Registered non-profit organizations:
    501(c)(3) or other IRS code approved tax exempt organization that meets the Minnesota Nonprofit Corporation Act. You can determine if your organization is registered as a non-profit with the State of Minnesota by searching the Minnesota Secretary of State’s database.
  • Officially recognized neighborhood groups
  • Business and professional associations
  • Schools
  • Local units of government

Eligible applicants may not serve a dual role as project manager and project consultant. In other words, the MWMO cannot fund consulting services (e.g. coordination of project, curriculum development, design, engineering, and technical services) by the applicant. The MWMO can, however, fund project management (e.g. managing funds, administration, or reporting) services by the applicant.

Individuals or private business are not eligible applicants and should not submit the application to the MWMO on behalf of an eligible applicant. However, individuals, homeowner and condominium associations, and private businesses may be listed as a partner in an application submitted by an eligible entity.

Location and Funding Caps

All project types should benefit people who live, learn, and/or work in or near the MWMO watershed. Any physical projects must be located within MWMO boundaries or drain to receiving water bodies within the watershed. Use our find your watershed tool to determine whether you are in the MWMO watershed.

Applications that include improvements on private lands will be considered. These projects will be more competitive during review if they show ongoing benefits such as public access, public education, and environmental improvement or protection.

Applicants may apply for concurrent funding for projects that are unrelated to each other. Applicants may also apply for funding on the same project through sequential grant cycles. An eligible organization may apply for multiple Stewardship Fund Grants over time, as long as their requests: a) don’t exceed a total of $75,000 in Stewardship Fund grants for the same project location; and b) are not for funds to support the same project as in a past grant.

A single property may be awarded the maximum amount of $75,000 (the equivalent of one Community Grant, one Planning Grant, and one Action Grant, awarded in any combination of grant types and in any order). The MWMO cannot guarantee that a property will receive up to $75,000, as variables during each funding cycle may alter project funding.

Funding Priorities

The MWMO is particularly interested in supporting engagement or physical projects that will reach underserved populations (neighborhoods or residents not previously involved in MWMO projects) and projects located in environmentally sensitive areas as defined by the MWMO Watershed Management Plan or the MWMO Board of Commissioners.

Eligible Expenses

The MWMO focuses its grant funds in areas related to the Stewardship Fund Grant purposes. All MWMO grant funding must be used toward those items specifically connected with the stormwater or habitat improvement components of a project. This means we cannot support worthy projects outside our program interests. Learn more about past projects that have received Stewardship Fund Grants in our Projects section. Your project idea can be different from previous examples; the MWMO welcomes new and creative ideas.

Soil contamination in urban areas is common and implementation of projects that infiltrate water will be contingent upon successful demonstration that there is no contamination of concern, remediation has occurred, or there is no potential for negative impact on surface or ground water resources.

MWMO Stewardship Fund grants may not be used to fund projects installed solely to meet regulatory requirements. Projects may be initiated to meet a regulatory requirement; however, stewardship funds may only be used to fund portions of the project that create water quality innovations that exceed those regulatory requirements or provide demonstration of new, innovative practices.

The MWMO is not a regulatory agency; it does not generate permits for projects. Check in with your city regulatory department to ensure the project has proper permitting. The MWMO does have water quality standards, as defined by the MWMO Watershed Management Plan, which will be used as a measure of project impact.

Funding can only be used for activities that occur after the agreement has been fully executed (approved and signed by all parties) and before the agreement expires.

When a match is required (Planning and Action Grants only), the following rules apply:

  • Eligible organizations are required to provide a 25 percent match to the grant received. The match may be cash or in-kind support (e.g., volunteer time, donated materials, or services).
  • Individuals, homeowner and condominium associations, private businesses or any other organization partnering with an eligible organization to apply for a Planning or an Action Grant are required to provide a 25 percent cash match. In-kind contributions toward the project can be noted in the application but will not count toward the 25 percent cash match requirement.

The following project expenses may be eligible for reimbursement or use as matching funds:

  • Staff time (project management time only for applicants; consultants and contractors can include staff time for delivery of project goals)
  • Consultant costs (e.g., engineering, design, and training)
  • Contractor costs
  • Materials and supplies
  • Postage
  • Printing
  • Travel
  • Facility rental
  • Other expense as proposed and accepted by the MWMO

Expenses that are Not Eligible:

The following project expenses are not eligible for reimbursement or use as matching funds:

  • Costs incurred before a funding agreement is fully executed or after the grant expires
  • Any costs not directly related to the funded project
  • Costs associated with activities that are a normal part of the organization’s activities (e.g., production of an organization’s regular newsletter)
  • General overhead or administrative fees that are not specific to this project
  • Features that are deemed aesthetic or decorative only
  • Lobbying activities
  • Building plumbing
  • Traditional pavement (e.g. asphalt, curbs, aggregate subbase)
  • Regulatory requirements, such as sanitary sewer line disconnects
  • Environmental projects that don’t prevent stormwater pollution, protect water quality, or improve habitat and natural resources

Funding Disbursement

Community grant disbursement is 50 percent at the beginning of the agreement and 50 percent upon MWMO approval of project completion. Planning and Action Grant disbursement is 25 percent at the beginning of the agreement, 65 percent reimbursed upon completion of activities or deliverables, and the remaining 10 percent upon MWMO approval of project completion. Reimbursements will be contingent upon documentation of the expenditure of matching funds and/or completion of in-kind match.

Grantee Expectations

The MWMO has the following expectations if the project is awarded funding:

  • Attend an orientation meeting
  • Review and sign MWMO grant agreement
  • Meet with MWMO staff and other grantees periodically to check in on project progress
  • Maintain open lines of communication
  • Update MWMO about project events and milestones
  • Work with MWMO to develop solutions to any project challenges
  • Promote your project and MWMO partnership
  • Stay within budgetary restrictions and provide documentation of project costs
  • Submit timely reimbursement requests and documentation of project deliverables

More Information

Stewardship Fund Grants Brochure (PDF, 1 MB, 2 pages)
Grantee Resources