Request for Mini-Grant Proposals

April 2, 2024 

Reclaiming Appalachia Coalition logo

Innovative Mine Land Reclamation and Ecological Restoration Projects 

The Reclaiming Appalachia Coalition is seeking applications from interested businesses, organizations, government agencies, or individuals for grants and technical support for innovative coal mine land reclamation and ecological restoration projects. The Reclaiming Appalachia Coalition is a group of leading organizations in the Appalachian Just Transition movement: Appalachian Voices in Virginia, Coalfield Development Corporation in West Virginia, and Rural Action in Ohio, with technical assistance from Downstream Strategies, based in West Virginia. We partner with coal-impacted communities in Appalachia and engage state and regional development agencies to identify post–coal mine reclamation and reuse projects with the potential to drive positive economic and social impacts.  

The Reclaiming Appalachia Coalition envisions a robust movement centered around innovative coal mine reclamation and land restoration that supports the growth of a mature restorative economy. We work with community partners throughout Central Appalachia and within the Central Appalachia Network’s (CAN’s) Ecological Restoration Work Group to secure and leverage funding to implement innovative projects. Our goals are to: (1) fund innovative reclamation and restoration projects, (2) increase capacity to support  innovative mine reclamation and restoration, and (3) support a regional “community of practice” that exemplifies the Coalition and the Working Group’s vision. Read more about the Coalition at and CAN’s mission at  

RAC is supporting Appalachian states covered by CAN, including Kentucky, Virginia, West Virginia, Tennessee, and Ohio. Since a large amount of federal funding is becoming available for reclamation and restoration, these mini-grant funds are to seed projects and provide critical technical assistance so applicants can go after more funding. 

In June of 2024, we will award mini grants to projects. The grant award will consist of start-up funds and/or project technical and planning assistance from Downstream Strategies. Applicants are encouraged to ask for up to $12,000 in start-up funds, which can be used by the applicant organization and/or for specific technical and planning assistance provided by Downstream Strategies. To request technical and planning assistance, applicants should email, to initiate a conversation to agree on a scope of work and funding to include in your proposal. The grants are intended to provide resources and support to turn viable land reuse concepts into fundable projects.

Funding Priorities 

Ideal projects will:  

  • Improve sites on or adjacent to unreclaimed AML features 
  • Have nascent ideas that are:
    1. consistent with the potential project area’s economic development strategy or other economic and community development planning process, and 
    2. in need of additional support or capacity   
  •  Produce innovative expansions to existing projects/programs 
  • Include both a reclamation or restoration and economic development component (which could be implemented in two different project phases) 
  • Embody the Coalition’s Vision of Innovative Mine Reclamation (see below)

Read about the projects funded in previous cycles here:  

Reclaiming Appalachia Coalition’s Vision of Innovative Mine Reclamation 

Projects should be representative of the Coalition’s Vision of Innovative Mine  Reclamation, which emerges from the principles of sustainable development, Just  Transition, and restoration ecology, and takes a fully integrated, systems-level approach  to ecosystem restoration while supporting the creation and growth of sustainable  economic enterprise. Grounding principles of this approach include:  

  • Recognition of the intrinsic and monetary value of an ecosystem’s ability to  produce clean water;  
  • Site-appropriate practices and technologies that generate wealth from a  landscape and support the system’s long-term ability to sustain development and  ecosystem restoration;
  • Consideration of a “do no harm” approach to earthmoving and construction; 
  • Integration of post–clean up land uses with local planning that is created through  participation and rooted in community need;
  • Creation of local jobs that are safe, pay a living wage, create accessible  pathways for “upward mobility,” and provide a unifying force for surrounding  communities; and
  • Model best practices that support the regional movement to rebuild sustainable  economies and transform the liabilities of the past into assets for the next  generation in Central Appalachia. 


Site eligibility  

Preference is for projects on or adjacent to an unreclaimed Priority 1, Priority 2, or  Priority 3 AML features. If you are unsure what this means or whether your site is  eligible, please contact us at for free assistance in determining site eligibility. Other sites will be considered.  

Applicant eligibility  

Applicants should be economic development organizations, nonprofits, local communities, non-government organizations, and businesses or individuals that would be willing to find community or government partners.  

If awarded the grant, applicants must be willing to:  

  1. Participate in at least three regular CAN Ecological Restoration Work Group calls to provide progress updates and communicate regularly with RAC partners. Calls are typically held the third Friday of each month at 11am. Financial assistance to attend these calls can be included in the mini-grant application. 
  2. Present an overview of your project during a regional webinar; 
  3. Develop a project profile (approximately 1 page)

Deadlines and Application Requirements 

By Friday, May 31, 2024 , submit:

  • A summary of the project that describes what the project is, why it is needed,  and potential community/social, economic, and environmental impacts it may have.
  • Estimated project costs, if known, for both reclamation and economic  development components. The Reclaiming Appalachia Coalition can help  estimate reclamation costs and refine economic development project costs.  
  • Project location and its relationship to an AML site, including a map (a Google Maps screenshot is acceptable). 
  • A description and budget of how you will spend up to $12,000 in start-up funds. We prefer to award funds for organizational staff time or hiring for additional consultation or technical assistance services, but other kinds of support infrastructure will also be considered. If technical assistance is being requested from Downstream Strategies, the budget should include a line item for this funding that has been agreed upon by the applicant and Downstream Strategies. 
  • A description of the technical and planning assistance requested from Downstream Strategies, if any, which may include, for example, (1) help vetting an initial project idea based on past experience, (2) help identifying project partners, (3) performing an economic benefits analysis, (4) performing a basic feasibility study, or (5) help writing a grant proposal.

Grantees will be notified of the award by June 14. Initial project planning and idea  development will occur in the month of June with more extensive project proposal  development completed during June and July.  

Mini grant proposals should be submitted to 


Contact Robert Kell at 

To request technical and planning assistance, applicants should email