The Massachusetts Environmental Trust (MET) is one of the state's largest sources of funding for water quality initiatives. Our goals are to improve and safeguard the quality of the waterways throughout the Commonwealth. We fund nonprofit organizations, municipalities, scientists and educational institutions through four distinct programs:


General Grants

The waters of the Commonwealth face immediate and growing threats such as runoff pollution, mismanagement of water withdrawals (excessive summer use, sewering out of basin, etc), bacterial pollution, nitrogen pollution, chemical pollution, temperature change, invasive species and habitat degradation and loss. Climate change and development pressure further exacerbate these problems as natural communities and riparian buffers are displaced, and water infrastructure must accommodate wider ranges of floods and droughts. Massachusetts continues to develop land at a pace that far exceeds human population change. These continuing problems endanger ecosystems and human health.

The General Grants, funded solely by the revenue generated from the sale of our three environmental license plates, support nonprofit organizations and municipalities in efforts to restore, protect, and improve water and water-related resources of the Commonwealth. Proposals are accepted once annually for programs and initiatives that address threats to the health of the state's water bodies and watersheds.

MET Environmental Plate: Whale

These grants provide funding to support programs, research, and other activities that promote the responsible stewardship of the Commonwealth's water resources. MET's goal is to encourage development of new approaches and ideas and to spur innovation among grantees or partnering organizations. To achieve these outcomes, the Trust supports projects that: improve water quality or quantity, conserve aquatic habitat and species, reduce runoff pollution, mitigate the effects of climate change on water resources, promote human health as it relates to water resources, and/or other efforts consistent with the Trust's mission.

Examples of the kinds of projects that grants typically support include, but are not limited to, innovative projects that address concerns such as:

  • Point and non-point source pollution (including runoff, bacterial, chemical, and nitrogen);
  • Water conservation and enhancing recharge and flow;
  • Monitoring marine, estuarine, and freshwater systems;
  • Endangered and threatened species and habitat;
  • Human health issues that result from degraded water resources;
  • Environmental education projects pertaining to water resources;
  • Low-income or "environmental justice" communities; and/or
  • Research on emerging environmental issues.

In general, the Trust prefers those projects that:

  • Support new programs and projects rather than the operation of existing programs;
  • Involve collaboration with other non-profits, municipalities, or private partners;
  • Leverage additional funding or in-kind resources to maximize the impact of MET grant funds;
  • Include outreach to the media and general public, other non-profits, municipalities, and community leaders to share project approaches and results;
  • Recognize the interdependence of land and water;
    Address issues with a cross-boundary approach (local, regional, state);
  • Address global issues at a local level;
  • Address social/environmental justice concerns;
  • Build and strengthen the capacities of organizations and partnerships; and
  • Define clearly expected outcomes and include metrics for measuring success.

The Request for Responses (RFR) for the FY2017 General Grant Program can be downloaded from this page or from

It is the responsibility of every applicant to check COMMBUYS for any addenda or modifications to an RFR to which they intend to respond. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts and its subdivisions accept no liability and will provide no accommodations to applicants who fail to check for amended RFRs and submit inadequate or incorrect responses. Potential respondents are advised to check the "last change" field on the summary page of RFRs for which they intend to submit a response to ensure they have the most recent RFR files.

The Trust utilizes a two-stage application process. The first stage is a Letter of Inquiry due October 30, 2015. The letter of inquiry must follow the format provided in the RFR. Successful applicants will be invited to prepare a full proposal for a deadline in March.

Restricted Grants Program

Since its inception, the Trust has been a national model for the innovative management and distribution of funds derived from environmental lawsuit settlements. When entrusted with these funds, we have made great strides in helping to restore our state's waters and related resources. Since 1988, we have received $5 million in settlements and invested these funds in environmental conservation efforts. Awards made through this program are referred to as 'restricted' grants as they must often conform to specific conditions outlined in the settlements.

These grants are only available as settlements are received. As such, restricted grants do not have a schedule of RFR releases or an established budget. Any new grant opportunities from the Restricted Grant Program will be posted to, to the MET web site, and circulated widely throughout the community.

Directed Grants

From time to time the Trust will issue a grant opportunity based on its own research related to a current or emerging need.

Mystic River Program

In 2007, the Trust directed the creation of a large scale grant that would address key issues in one or more watersheds. Following extensive research, the Trust will invest up to $500,000 in the Mystic River.

The purpose of this grant is to provide environmental justice communities along the lower Mystic River with improved public access to the riverfront and in doing so create advocates for its restoration and clean-up.

Through RFR ENV 09 MET 01 the Trust solicited proposals to improve recreational opportunities for residents and visitors by:

  • Identifying and closing gaps in riverfront multi-use trails that can be used for recreation and commuting
  • Identifying and developing or restoring new open space
  • Identifying and developing sites for boating and fishing access
  • Identifying and improving key corridors to parks and the riverfront to encourage visitation

This grant program coincides with and complements major efforts by state and federal agencies to improve water quality in the Mystic River which the EPA has rated D for bacterial and other contamination. Together, these agencies and MET seek to replicate the successful restoration models used in the Charles and Neponset River watersheds that merge increased public involvement and recreation with water quality improvements.

The RFR for this program is posted to

This information is provided by the Massachusetts Environmental Trust.