Annual Small Grant

Policy and Guidelines


The NRMG’s annual small grant is intended to:

  1. Support active projects of NRMG members which will advance cave research, conservation, or educational projects.
  2. Support Grotto members who are taking part in projects at a local, national, or international level.

Funding: The small grant will come from the Northern Rocky Mountain Grotto’s general fund, which is supported by membership fees, merchandise sales, and events. The grant is typically awarded at a maximum $500 total per year; exceptional projects over $500 may be considered. The maximum amount may vary as funds are available each year. Any funds that are not awarded will remain in the general fund.


  1. Applicant must be an active member of the Northern Rocky Mountain Grotto (dues must be current at the time of application.)
  2. Projects must promote cave research, conservation, or education on a local or international level.
  3. Applicant must meet the application requirements listed below.
  4. Applicant must apply on their own behalf.
  5. Applicants are preferred to be NSS members.

Eligible Expenses:

  1. Direct cost of travel, meals, and lodging for research, conservation, or education projects.
  2. Supplies used for the sole purpose of the project (consumable items such as scrub brushes, flagging, pencils/pens, handlines intended for permanent fixture in a cave, etc).
  3. Printing costs for public outreach or research publications.

Non-Eligible Expenses

Expenses not covered by the small grant include wages/stipends; durable equipment such as helmets, lights, or ropes that will be kept by the applicant for personal use after the project; any expenses that are not related to the project.

Application Requirements

  • The applicant shall submit a 1-2 page proposal by email [address visible at bottom of this page to logged-in members] with “Small Grant Proposal” in the subject line. The proposals will be due by April 1 each year; applicants will be notified of their application status by June 30.
  • Proposals must not exceed four double-spaced pages or 2 single-spaced pages with 1 inch margins and Times New Roman 12 point font or equivalent, and should include:
    • Project title
    • Applicant name and organizational affiliate
    • Contact information, including email, phone number, and physical address
    • NSS Number if applicable
    • Project description (objectives, methods, dates, plan to publish final Trip Report at and in other publications)
    • How the project benefits cave research, conservation, or education
    • A budget showing approximate expenses to which the small grant would be allocated, indicating a total amount requested (preferred in a table format)
    • Time frame for start and completion of project
    • Brief statement of applicant’s qualifications, i.e. short bio
    • *New: include a plan for Covid-19 risk mitigation
  • By submitting a proposal, successful applicants agree to:  
    • Write a full report, including objectives, methods, results, and photos within a reasonable time after completion of the project.  
    • Deliver the report including a minimum of 5 photos via  
    • The Northern Rocky Mountain Grotto’s support will be cited in publications of the project results.

Selection Procedure

The Executive Officers of the NRMG will review and rate applications based on the selection criteria (below). They will select one or more applications to receive all or part of the requested funds. The decision will be made by majority vote if consensus is not reached. The Officers may suggest modification to proposals, with funding contingent upon the the modification.

Applicants will be notified via email by April 30 each year. Unsuccessful applicants will be provided feedback at their request.

Selection Criteria For the NRMG Small Grant Fund

(1 Point Awarded for each Check Mark)

  • Project Qualifications and Adequacy of Resources:
    • Applicant is a current member of the NRMG (verified by the Grotto Secretary)  
    • Demonstrated qualifications adequate for successful project completion, e.g. track record; realistic objectives.  
    • Budget suitable for achieving objectives.  
    • Proposals demonstrate cooperation with others (i.e. government agencies, schools, other Grottos).
  • Merit of Project:
    • Proposals generate data or public support that advances cave conservation.  
    • Project directly leads to conservation, appreciation, or understanding of caves or cave biota.  
    • Project shows an evident need.  
    • Project is distinctive and imaginative, and results extend beyond the grant year.
  • Methods
    • Purpose and methods are clearly described  
    • Procedures are appropriate to the proposed problem.  
    • Procedures are safe, or safety concerns are acknowledged in the proposal  
    • Methods have a negligible negative impact on caves  
    • A plan for the dissemination of results (i.e. publication as a Trip Report on in addition to any other publications)  is included.

Examples of Previous Successful Applications

Previous Grant Recipients

Geochemical Investigations of the Silvertip Karst

Prince of Wales and Kosciusko Island Exploration

Tongue River Cave Restoration Project

Resurvey of Santo Tomas, Cuba

2019 Tears of the Turtle Expedition

Bigfork Cave Club: Graffiti in Montana Caves