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Grants to Pennsylvania School Districts, Schools, Nonprofits, Businesses, IHEs and Conservation Districts for Environmental Education Projects

Environmental Education Grant Program


GrantWatch ID#

Funding Source
Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP)
Array ( )

Geographic Focus
USA: Pennsylvania

Important Dates
Deadline: 11/15/23 11:59 PM Save

Grant Description
Grants of up to $5,000, grants of up to $30,000, and grants of up to $65,000 to Pennsylvania nonprofit organizations, businesses, school districts, schools, IHEs, and conservation districts for projects that educate students about the environment. Funding is intended to support education projects that foster an understanding of natural world functions and cultivate critical thinking and actions that promote environmental protection and sustainable resource management.

DEP’s Environmental Education Grants Program welcomes applications for the development of innovative formal and non-formal environmental education projects that: 1) Address grant program priorities; 2) Provide opportunities to expand the public’s understanding of Pennsylvania’s environmental issues; and 3) Develop skills required to make informed decisions and take responsible action on behalf of the environment.

Funding priority is given to environmental education projects that engage people living, working and/or attending school within Environmental Justice areas in topics related to Climate Change and/or Water: 

  • Water: Education programs promoting effective ways to reduce non-point source and source water pollution to improve water quality.
  • Climate Change: Education projects that promote practical solutions for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and the negative impacts of climate change including floods, changes to groundwater, pests, disease, agricultural disruptions, and potential threats to human health. 
  • Environmental Justice: Education programs designed to engage audiences (youth and/or adults) living and/or working within Environmental Justice (EJ) areas. 

For project examples, see page 3 of the Grants Program Manual on the Full Grant Text RFP link. 

Two types of awards are available:

  • Mini Grants may be awarded for local (school, county, municipality or other defined area) environmental education projects.
  • General Grants: - General grants are offered at two funding levels:
    • General Grants (Level I): may be awarded for implementation of large-scale environmental education projects, such as School District-wide projects, engagement of multiple communities, collaboration involving multiple counties or statewide projects.
    • General Grants (Level II): may be awarded for non-formal projects engaging youth and teachers at three (3) levels: local, state and national. 
      • Widely* engages teachers and youth at the county, state and national levels. (*Teachers and students from at least 60 Pennsylvania counties will directly participate in the project); and
      • Demonstrates at least 30% of program participants live, work, or attend school within an Environmental Justice area.

People living, working and/or attending school within Environmental Justice areas are considered priority audiences. Projects may be designed to engage youth, teachers, municipal officials, farmers, developers, site designers, businesses, and homeowners, community residents, or others. 

For Eligible Grant Expenses, see page 13 of the Grants Program Manual on the Full Grant Text RFP link. 


Additional Eligibility Criteria
Eligible Applicants
- Public schools and school districts (PreK-12) (includes Intermediate Units and Charter Schools)
- Incorporated private schools (under limited circumstances, private religious schools may be exempted from the incorporation requirement)
- Incorporated conservation and education organizations and institutions
- Universities and colleges
- County conservation districts
- Incorporated nonprofit organizations
- Businesses (must be registered to do business in Pennsylvania)

Additional Geographic Information:

Use the DEP Environmental Justice Area Viewer to verify an audience is located within an Environmental Justice area:

Ineligible Applicants
- Entities, including municipalities, that do not appear on the list of Eligible Applicants cannot receive 2024 Environmental Education Program funds. Ineligible applicants are encouraged to partner with an eligible applicant to deliver environmental education programs.

Note: Applicants that were previously awarded a DEP EE Grant, but failed to meet their contractual obligations, may be deemed ineligible to receive 2024 Environmental Education Grant Program funds.

The Environmental Education Grants Program will not provide funding for:
- Projects that are not entirely focused on environmental education.
- Basic research such as: data collection, surveys and/or stipends for researchers.
- Beautification projects or landscaping.
- Fundraising or membership drives.
- Political advocacy, campaigning, legislative lobbying or litigation programs. Applications that advocate for a particular policy position or appear biased will not be considered.
- Real estate acquisitions or due diligence research related to such acquisitions.
- Construction activities including building construction, improvement to existing structures, pond or wetland construction.
- Establishing recreational trails, gardens or other outdoor spaces, unless the proposal demonstrates such spaces are critical to effectively implement a proposed environmental education project.

Proposals that fail to support the Environmental Education Guiding Principles (see Page 6 of the Grants Program Manual, in Supporting Documents, below), but simply disseminate information, will not be funded.

For Ineligible Grant Expenses, see page 14 of the Grants Program Manual, on the Full Grant Text RFP link.

Pre-Proposal Conference
The 2024 Grants Program live Webinar is scheduled for September 26, 2023 from Noon-1:30 p.m. DEP Environmental Education staff will highlight information contained in the 2024 Manual and be available to answer questions. Please register for this event no later than Friday September 22, 2023.


Pre-Application Information
2024 Environmental Education Grant Program Timeline:
- August 2023 – The 2024 DEP Environmental Education Program round opens. The 2023 Environmental Education Grants Program Manual and other pertinent information will be posted to DEP’s website. DEP EE database notifications will be sent via email.
- November 15, 2023 – Applications must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. on this date. Late submissions will not be considered.
- Spring 2024 – Awarded projects will be announced. Unanticipated circumstances may result in announcement delays.
- July 1, 2024 – Awarded projects may begin on or after this date.
- January 15, 2025 – Draft project assessment plans/tools due for review and feedback.
- January 15, 2025 – Mid-term progress reports due.
- June 30, 2025 – Completion date for all projects.
- July 15, 2025 – Final reports, including assessment results, and final requests for reimbursement due.

Multiple applications may be submitted from the same organization. Each project application will be viewed as an independent proposal and evaluated accordingly.

Grant Match:
- Match (Cash and/or In-kind) equivalent to at least 20% of the requested amount of Grant funds is required of General Grants.
- Match (Cash and/or In-kind) in any amount is required of Mini-Grants. Match equivalent to at least 20% of the requested grant amount is encouraged.

Funds are provided to Mini Grants on a reimbursement basis. Requests for expense reimbursement are due Midterm (January 15, 2025) and within 14 business days of when the project concludes, but no later than July 15, 2025. After the Grant Agreement is fully executed, should a Mini Grant awardee experience an unusual financial circumstance, the awardee may request a full Advance payment. A written request must be submitted to the Environmental Education and Information Center explaining the unusual financial circumstance that warrants consideration. Advance payment requests are not guaranteed.

About Environmental Education Grants:

Grants Program Manual:

Application Instructions:

2023 Environmental Education Grants Program Scope of Work Instructions:

Application Letter of Commitment Instructions:

See the Full Grant Text RFP link for additional relevant links.

Estimated Size of Grant
- Mini Grants: up to $5,000
- General Grants Level I, ranging in amounts from $5,001-$30,000
- General Grants Level II, ranging in amounts from $30,001-$65,000

Term of Contract
Awarded projects may begin on July 1, 2024 and must end by June 30, 2025. No time extensions will be provided. Expenses incurred outside of the Project Time period are ineligible for grant funds.

Contact Information
Apply online:

General questions about the Environmental Education Grants Program may be directed to:

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