The Innovation Fund

The Innovation Fund provides grants to projects focused on improving environmental health and climate resiliency in Berks County. Projects that include collaboration across sectors and/or opportunities for partnership building will be prioritized. For more information on environmental health and climate resilience, refer to the recent study for Berks County, conducted by the Institute for Conservation Leadership.   

Projects can include but are not limited to:  

Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact Emily Smedley, Environment and Energy Program Officer, with project ideas before starting the application. After you have submitted your application, Emily may reach out to applicants to discuss the project in greater detail.  


The Metropolitan Edison/Pennsylvania Electric Company Sustainable Energy Fund

The Sustainable Energy Funds were created as a result of electric utility deregulation and subsequent settlement agreements by Pennsylvania Electric Utilities. The funds are designed to promote the development of sustainable and renewable energy programs and clean-air technologies on both a regional and statewide basis.

Two of those funds, the Metropolitan Edison Company Sustainable Energy Fund of Berks County Community Foundation (Met-Ed Sustainable Energy Fund) and the Pennsylvania Electric Company Sustainable Energy Fund of the Community Foundation for the Alleghenies (Penelec Sustainable Energy Fund), began distributing money in the form of grants, loans, and equity investments for a variety of projects within the territories originally served by the two electric companies. The two funds share an advisory committee and are commonly referred to in the singular as the Met-Ed/Penelec Sustainable Energy Fund.

Since inception in 2000, the Met-Ed/Penelec Sustainable Energy Fund has approved 279 grants totaling $7,209,518; 51 loans totaling $25,161,087; and three equity investments totaling $1,600,000. Total funding since inception is more than $33.9 million.

Grant applications for the Sustainable Energy Fund are not being accepted until further notice. If you need funding for a project, use the link below to learn more about the fund’s Program Related Investment opportunity.

Berks Nature Endowment Fund

An anonymous donor significantly increased the strength and capacity of Berks Nature by establishing the Berks Nature Endowment Fund of Berks County Community Foundation in 2021 to benefit the annual operating needs of this regional conservation and environmental organization. This gift, together with continued support from Berks Nature’s annual donors and volunteers, enhances Berks Nature’s ability to provide leadership on environmental and conservation initiatives and issues.

Don and Joanne Van Roden Fund

Grants support the charitable, cultural, educational and scientific purposes of Berks County Community Foundation.

Mount Penn Preserve Partnership Fund

Hinnershitz Dam Wall (photo by Kevin Maginnis)

Berks Area Mountain Biking Association (BAMBA)

The Pagoda (photo by David Gottshall)

Antietam Lake Trails (photo by BCPC)

Distributions from the Mount Penn Preserve Partnership Fund are for capital improvements that protect, promote and enhance the natural beauty, heritage and attractions of the Mount Penn Preserve.

The Mount Penn Preserve is a partnership of the governments of Berks County, the City of Reading, and the Borough of Mount Penn, and the townships of Alsace and Lower Alsace.

Explore the Mount Penn Preserve through an interactive map of points of interest and eateries. The map will be enhanced periodically, so check back! Once the page loads, use the arrow at the bottom of the screen to navigate through the points of interest.

Conrad Weiser Science Research Institute Fund

Photo courtesy of Reading Eagle

The Conrad Weiser Science Research Institute Fund provides unique opportunities and equipment for students at Conrad Weiser High School to further their study of science.

Conrad Weiser science teachers have been building up the district’s high school science program, giving students who are ready for a challenge the opportunity to explore their ideas and delve into high-level science projects.

They have students who are working on projects that are so unique that they are in talks with a patent attorney. They’re also engaging in research that is more commonly found at universities and cutting-edge companies.

The teachers allow students to follow their passions, come up with their own ideas to research, and then perfect their ideas.

Earl and Helen Poole Memorial Fund

Grants support Berks Nature, Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, the Reading Public Museum, and the Academy of Natural Sciences at Drexel University.

Roberts Family Fund for Stream and Wetland Preservation

In memory of Willard and Ruth Roberts, grants from this fund support Berks Nature’s stream and wetland preservation and conservation projects.

Conservation Equity Fund

The Conservation Equity Fund was created to support the preservation and/or conservation of open space, environmentally sensitive land, and historic properties in Berks County, including, but not limited to farmland.

As an example, Berks County Community Foundation awarded a grant from the Conservation Equity Fund in 2020 to the Longswamp Township Historical Society to help restore the historic Mertztown train station.