Funding Opportunity: Free Rivers Fund Grant

About the Organization

The Free Rivers Fund (FRF) originated from the minds of three international kayaking activist. Dan Yates (UK), Rok Rozman (SLO) and Bernie Steidl (AUT) were all engaged in a different struggle against hydropower projects that were threatening the free flowing creeks and rivers of their homes. The idea was to give financial support to those who spend their free time protecting rivers from being dammed. With all three founders being grassroots activist, they have experienced with how vital even small funding is for running a campaign successfully. And how time consuming it is to raise those funds. The Free Rivers Fund intends to help here.

Our intention is for the process to be as easy as possible for small grassroots projects to access money to help cover their costs. We don’t want projects to waste time on applications and forms and rather use that time to reach their conservation goals.

In October 2016, Yates, Rozman and Steidl approached kayaking companies to see if their idea would be supported. It was greatly encouraging that many companies understood the need to protect rivers and were willing to support FRF. This very positive feedback encouraged them to go ahead with establishing the fund.

The Free Rivers Fund collects donations from adventure sports companies and distributes funds to conservation groups. FRF partners with companies in the paddle sports industry, but is also building up co-operations with kayak clubs, and accept private donations as well.

About the Grant

The Free Rivers Fund (FRF) supports initiatives and actions in defense of free flowing rivers. Partnering with the paddle sports industry we provide grants for activist and conservation groups that commit to the fight to protect rivers from dams and development. Free Rivers Fund aims to support those initiatives that most urgently need funding.

To apply for a FRF grant you just need a river and a plan of how the money will be used to help this river become or stay free flowing. This could be either action towards undamming rivers (removing existing structures that prevent a natural flow in a river bed, natural transport of sediments and barriers to migrating fish), or action to preserve free flowing rivers (fighting against new dams or hydropower projects). You do not need to be a registered non-profit organization but you must have a clear plan or already be in action to protect rivers in some capacity.

We do not fund: Clean-Ups, general research projects, general renaturalisation and reforestation projects and any other project that has not the general aim to preserve or reinstate a river in it’s free-flowing state. As long as that general goal is met – the kind of project or action is up to you. In the past we have funded: costs for lawyers & legal fees, construction, protests, equipment to conduct research, photography, film & art projects & equipment, travel costs and much more.

Grant size

The total amount of funding is not fixed but depends on the total incoming donations. We divide the total amount of money that the Free Rivers Fund receives by the number of projects funded. Generally you can expect between 1000€ and 2000€.

How to Apply

Application is open each year from October on. The initiatives will be chosen by our committee and will be announced the following January.  To apply, please open the online application form and send it to us before January 10th 2024. We are trying to support you as non-bureaucratic as possible – therefore the online application form short. Please only stick to this form. If we have questions or need more info, we will come back to you!

For more information, visit Link

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