Pigeon River Fund

Asheville GreenWorks was awarded $30,000 to decrease the amount of litter, pollution and erosive material that flows into waterways, increase citizens’ awareness about their roles in protecting water resources, and increase the capacity of local floodways to absorb runoff. Photo courtesy of Asheville GreenWorks.

The Pigeon River Fund (PRF) exists to improve the streams and rivers of Haywood, Buncombe and Madison counties. It supports projects and activities that provide direct benefits in at least one of the following focus areas:

  1. Improved surface water quality
  2. Enhanced fish and wildlife management and habitats
  3. Expanded public access
  4. Increased citizens' awareness about their roles in protecting these resources.

Among many other things, river management plans, watershed studies and conservation easements are considered direct benefits under these guidelines.

Grant requests may address any of the four focus areas listed above. Listed below are additional expectations for grant applications.

  • Grants are typically for one year and generally range from $5,000 to $35,000. Some grant requests may exceed $35,000 with prior approval of CFWNC staff. Conservation easement requests for transaction or acquisition costs should not exceed $30,000.
  • PRF grants should leverage other funds or in-kind resources toward total project costs. PRF awards may be contingent on receipt of additional funds. In such cases, other necessary funds must be secured within 18 months of a PRF grant award.
  • If the project is or will be ongoing, PRF funds should be allocated for a specific time period. Operating support is only considered for select organizations chosen by the PRF Advisory Committee. Operating support requests may not exceed $50,000.
  • Grant funds may be used to support administrative costs, including a share of staff costs, when essential to the project.
  • If the project requires permitting of any kind, i.e. building, Army Corps of Engineers, DEQ, etc., permitting should be in process or completed prior to submission of grant application. Please review this Permit Reference Guide.

Higher priority projects:

  • Support efforts to address water quality issues in streams or watersheds identified as priorities in county (or other authority) watershed action plans. A copy of the watershed plan should be uploaded with the application.
  • Promote collaborative or coordinated projects that address comprehensive issues and that will have a long-term benefit.
  • Encourage education and awareness of water quality issues, preferably focused on helping individuals understand how their actions relate to the overall health of the river basin.
  • Install water quality Best Management Practices (BMPs) or other stream improvements that are part of a coordinated multi-faceted effort and that will result in significant water quality improvement.

Lower priority projects:

  • Scattered projects (including demonstration BMPs or other projects) not related to a coordinated effort to improve priority streams/watershed in the relevant community.
  • Government agency operating support, especially staffing.
  • Projects related to regulation enforcement that is the responsibility of government.

Deadlines and Dates

Applications are considered twice a year, with complete applications due to CFWNC by 5 p.m. on March 15 and September 15. If a deadline date is on a weekend or holiday, the deadline is 5 p.m. the next business day.


Tax-exempt organizations described in Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and governmental entities serving Buncombe, Haywood or Madison counties are eligible to apply.

What We Do Not Fund

PRF grant funds are not appropriate for projects or activities related to or in support of litigation in any administrative or judicial forum. Grants generally do not support: scholarships; sectarian religious purposes; partisan political purposes; endowment funds; deficit funding or debt retirement; capital support for new buildings or major expansions; festivals or one-time events such as exhibits, performances or fundraisers; or activities taking place or expenses incurred before grant decisions are made.

How to Apply

1. Access Community Foundation Staff Assistance

If you would like to discuss your proposal or have questions regarding eligibility, contact Tara Scholtz, Senior Program Officer, by email or at 828-367-9913.

2. Submit a Grant Application

Begin the online application process to submit a grant application. For technical assistance with the online grant system, please contact Diane Crisp, Senior Grants Manager, by email or at 828-367-9904. The online system notifies applicants by email upon receipt of their application.

3. Review Process

Staff screens applications for completeness, clarity, and compliance with eligibility requirements. The Fund’s advisory committee evaluates grant applications, taking into consideration the Fund’s priorities, availability of funds for the stated purposes, applicants’ capabilities, and potential benefits to the community. Staff may request a phone conversation or site visit during the review period. Funding decisions are announced approximately two months from the application date.

CFWNC distributes grant payments by electronic funds transfer (EFT). Each grantee must have current banking information on file at CFWNC to receive payment.

Reporting Requirements

Applicants must submit an online end-of-grant report verifying use of grant funds and results. Instructions will be included in the grant award letter sent by email to the head of the awarded organization, and report deadlines can be found in CFWNC’s online grant system. We may also require additional reports or site visits.

Guideline Modifications

The Fund’s advisory committee may modify these guidelines, or make exceptions to them, in consultation with the staff of The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina.

For additional information, download Recent Grants.

Return to Grants Directory