Capacity Building Initiative

Program Status: Closed

To view the most recent RFP, click here.

Deadline: The most recent deadline was Thursday, November 12, 2020 at 4pm EST

Background: The Capacity Building Initiative (CBI) is a joint initiative from the Chesapeake Bay Trust and Chesapeake Bay Funders Network. CBI seeks to build the organizational capacity of natural resource focused nonprofit organizations working in the Chesapeake, Coastal Bays, and Youghiogheny watersheds. “Organizational capacity” is defined as activities that strengthen an organization and help it better fulfill its mission. Organizations that are strong and healthy are better able to accomplish their missions, which in turn allows the entire community to realize its collective goal of healthy natural resources given the degree of partnership that exist across organizations.

What does this program fund? This program funds key capacity building strategies vital to establishing a strong base, including (but not limited to) the development of robust financial plans to modify or diversify organizational revenue sources and collaboration among organizations. Collaborative models may range from increased coordination through network development, sharing of back office support, and/or shared decision making and resources to full integration of programs, planning, and funding via organizational mergers. Requests to modify or develop more robust organizational financial plans or to investigate and plan for collaborations or mergers among organizations are encouraged.

Examples of other specific tools for which funds may be requested include: organizational assessments, consultant or facilitation costs for planning, financial management or donor management software, financial planning, video conferencing software, fees or registration costs for board or staff training opportunities, website design specifically related to online giving and membership, printing and postage for membership drives or annual appeals, presentation materials, and administrative hardware costs.  This list is not exhaustive.  Please contact the program manager to discuss your idea before applying.

Who can apply? The Funding partners and the Trust welcome requests from 501(c)(3) Nonprofit organizations working in the Chesapeake Region with a water and/or natural resource focused mission. For all eligibility requirements refer to the RFP.

How much can be awarded? Requests up to $30,000

How much is available in the program? $350,000

Grant Application Process: The Chesapeake Bay Trust’s grant applications are all submitted through an online system; begin by using the “Start a New Application” button below. If you have questions regarding the application process, please contact this program’s grant manager, Kacey Wetzel at 410-974-2941 ext. 104 or

Get started with a new grant application

Manage an Existing Grant


Kacey Wetzel
(410) 974-2941 x 104

To learn more about Capacity Building in Priority Regions, visit our new page located here.


Current Opportunities

Past Trainings

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Training Opportunity – Organizational Leadership and Leadership Culture

The purpose of the trainings was assist non-profit leaders with their commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice (DEIJ). Through structured engagement, including small break-out groups, participants had the opportunity to discuss organizational leadership and culture regarding DEIJ, specifically focused on:

  1. how organizations can and should diversify their boards and leadership,
  2. how to overcome common (real or perceived) obstacles to doing so, and
  3. how to develop and maintain a leadership culture that ensures leaders and/or board members of color not only stay with the organization but feel they have agency and power to make change where necessary.

About the Facilitator:

Francisco “Paco” Ollervides, PhD has worked directly with individual leaders and organizations in diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice initiatives in the environmental sector for over 20 years. He assists strategic planning as well as conceptualizing, innovating, and driving forward initiatives that allow individuals to learn and act equitably and as stewards to our planet. His focus is on building the power of the environmental movement by facilitating opportunities for People of Color to excel in the sector through client and sponsor relationship management, customer satisfaction and retention, and staff management.

DEIJ in Action Webinar 

During this webinar, the Chesapeake Legal Alliance, Chesapeake Conservancy, and Chesapeake Commons discussed successes and barriers they have encountered to carry out their organizational DEIJ goals. The Chesapeake Bay Trust, on behalf of the Chesapeake Bay Funders Network (CBFN) also provided an update on CBFN’s Capacity Building Initiative and resources available for DEIJ efforts. Attendees left with a greater understanding of approaches to make the Chesapeake Bay community more diverse, equitable, inclusive, and just.

View the recording here.


Current Opportunities

Coming Soon!

Past Examples

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Program Partners