In Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, Funding, News, River and Water Organizations

Trust Building Support Initiative – Applications Open Now!

Applications due February 28, 2022

River Network and the WaterNow Alliance are working together to provide support for community organizations and water utilities seeking to build trusting relationships as part of their work together toward more equitable and sustainable water and community outcomes. We are seeking applications from interested water utilities and community groups who jointly want to receive technical, financial, capacity building, and leadership development support to help bolster their partnership over an eight-month period. Support will be based on the best practices outlined in Building Blocks of Trust: Creating Authentic and Equitable Relationships Between Community Organizations and Water Utilities.

To support community groups and water utilities interested in strengthening their relationships and building leadership, the Trust Building Support Initiative provides the following toward developing skills and approaches for building trust:

  • Financial support and/or leadership development training valued at approximately $6,000 for each partner (depending on needs and ability to accept direct financial assistance);
  • Technical, capacity building, and leadership development support via coaching, mentoring, and peer support;
  • Access to additional WaterNow Alliance and River Network membership benefits, including conferences, leadership and technical training, and recognition opportunities;
  • Showcasing of progress and results via River Network and WaterNow publications and conferences or other events.

Initiative Expectations – both the community group and the water utility are expected to:

  • Participate in an initial assessment that further defines goals, identifies 1-2 trust building best practices to deploy, and to guide technical and leadership development support received;
  • Attend monthly calls/virtual learning opportunities with other selected Trust Building Support Initiatives partnerships;
  • Participate in and apply technical and/or leadership development support throughout the project (March-October);
  • Document progress in building trust and share final assessment of barriers and successes via a short final report and participate in 1-2 activities to share lessons learned and the results of their work with the project team and/or a national audience (e.g. writing a blog post, presenting at a webinar or national conference, etc.).

Selection Criteria

  • Commitment from both the local community organization and water utility to participate in this effort.
  • The degree to which specific desired outcomes can be achieved through technical, leadership and capacity building  assistance.
  • The degree to which the funding and technical assistance will support the partnership’s overall development, as well as each partner’s organizational missions.
  • Issues of equity are identified as important to the partnership and improved quality of life and social and environmental benefits for marginalized communities are desired outcomes of the partnership.

Application Process 

  • Organizations should submit an application via the online form no later than February 28th, 2022, at 11:59 PM Pacific Time.
  • Final decisions will be made by Tuesday, March 15th, 2022. We will make four to six Trust Building Support Initiative Awards. Organizations will be selected based on their commitment and readiness to participate in the Trust Building Support Initiative and the Selection Criteria outlined above.
  • We invite you to use this Word version of the grant application to draft your proposal, before filling out the online application. Fill out all sections of the online application adhering to the character limits provided.

Program Team 

The Trust Building Support Initiative is led by River Network and WaterNow Alliance staff. The project team has a proven track-record supporting organization and water utility efforts to effectively engage with community, to advocate for and develop policies and programs to address water issues, to integrate an equity framework into environmental initiatives and develop leadership skills.

Contact Information

For questions related to this grant opportunity, please contact Katherine Baer, Vice President for River Programs at River Network.

To apply click here.

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