Capacity Building Initiative: Network Development

Purpose:

The Capacity Building Initiative (CBI) seeks to build regional networks of diverse conservation and civic organizations working to improve local environmental and community health conditions in priority landscapes.

Background:

Many have begun to recognize that a broader set of communities and organizations must be involved in natural resources issues in order to improve them, and that improving natural resources and improving other aspects of communities go hand in hand. Additionally, the essentials of non-profit effectiveness – adequate and stable unrestricted fundraising (members and major donors), sustained board and leadership development, robust volunteer engagement, strategic program alignment and evaluation – remain a challenge for many groups in the region. As a result, in 2015, the Chesapeake Bay Trust, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Chesapeake Bay Program, and seven other partners in the Chesapeake Bay Funders Network, including the Keith Campbell Foundation, The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation, Rauch Foundation, Town Creek Foundation, the Prince Charitable Trusts, MARPAT, the Agua Fund, and the Hillsdale Fund advertised a funding opportunity to provide capacity building support to organizations working together to attract a diverse array of partners to the effort. Competition was high, with 29 “networks” (defined as a group of partner organizations within a region working towards the same goals) applying, and only five selected to participate in the Regional Capacity Building Initiative.

Status:

Closed to new networks at this time.

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Capacity Building Support Beyond the Networks:

The initiative also aims to increase the organizational effectiveness of watershed or other similar organizations that work to advance the restoration and protection of the Chesapeake Bay and Coastal Bays. In an effort to serve organizations not participating in the 5 regional networks, a grant program will be offered annually for three years, to eligible organizations within the watershed to support their ability to accomplish their missions.

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