Delaware River Watershed Revolving Fund

About the Delaware River Watershed Revolving Fund

The Delaware River Watershed Revolving Fund (“Fund”) seeks to achieve watershed protection goals in the Delaware River Basin by providing interim financing for projects where capital is insufficient at the time it is required. The $2.6 million pilot loan fund, which was capitalized with seed funding from the William Penn Foundation and is being administered by the Open Space Institute, is designed to help attract additional public and private funding to the region by providing interim financing for projects that protect and restore the watershed; expand and enhance the network of trails there; and increase and diversify the constituency for watershed protection.

Loan Size and Terms

The Fund will make simple-interest loans and financial guarantees generally of at least $100,000 and no more than $1 million at no more than 1.5% annual interest, for a term generally not to exceed 18 months. The Fund will seek to diversify its borrowers by organizational size and type and assist smaller borrowers through training and technical assistance.


Repayment terms will be set in accordance with project needs. Generally, principal and interest will be paid at maturity.

Project Eligibility and Geography

The Fund will focus on projects and geographies that align tightly with existing strategies underway in the watershed, including:

  • Forest protection and agricultural restoration in eight sub-watershed “clusters” within the Delaware River Watershed Initiative
  • Reducing stormwater run-off through the installation of green infrastructure in Philadelphia and elsewhere
  • Creation and enhancement of the Circuit Trail network
  • Increasing and diversifying the constituency for watershed protection through support for capital projects in the 23 environmental education centers participating in the Alliance for Watershed Education network

Eligible Borrowers

Loan recipients generally must be non-profit organizations. Under special circumstances, the Fund will consider loans to for-profit organizations fulfilling charitable purposes. While public entities (i.e., state agencies, counties, or municipalities) are not eligible, the Fund encourages partnerships between nonprofits and public agencies on projects that could secure loan financing.


While the Fund will seek to leverage its funds with other sources and limit, where appropriate, its exposure in any one transaction, bridge financing may require coverage of full transaction amounts in some cases. Depending on the project size and borrower need, financing of up to 100% of appraised value will be considered.


The Fund will generally make loans secured by the borrowing organization’s balance sheet. However, depending on the project and organization, other forms of security, including financial assets (including marketable securities or secured personal guarantees) and only under exceptional circumstances, recourse to real estate (first mortgage) at its conservation value, may be sought. To facilitate borrowing by smaller organizations, the Fund can tap a small loan reserve to help collateralize riskier loans.

Approval Process

OSI is establishing an Advisory Committee consisting of subject matter experts in the Foundation’s watershed program strategies, as well as an ex-officio representative of the William Penn Foundation, to review loan requests. The committee will review programmatic elements of all loans and recommend them to OSI staff for financial analysis and approval by its board of trustees.

Next Steps to Apply

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