Rainproof Mini-Grant Program

Rainproof Mini-Grant Program

Charleston Rainproof title with logo37 rain gardens have been installed, diverting over 750,000 gallons of water from the central stormwater system annually!  All projects utilizing Charleston Rainproof Mini Grant funding are posted on the Charleston Rainproof Showcase Map as learning opportunities for all.  

January 2023 Update: Funding for a potential Fall 2023 mini grant program cycle was not able to be approved in the City budget this year, so we do not anticipate being able to offer the program unless an alternative funding source can be identified .

2022 Charleston Rainproof Mini Grant Program Details

Corrine Jones 7What: Grants in the amount of $200 to support the installation of rain gardens by city of Charleston residents, businesses and organizations.  This subsidy should cover about half the cost of installing a new rain garden, depending on the size and other factors. 

When: Applications are accepted on a rolling basis until 5:00 p.m. on August 31, 2022, and projects which receive an award shall be completely installed by October 10, 2022

Mandatory training includes one hour of time (at your leisure) to watch online video resources before Sept 7th, and a one hour workshop tentatively scheduled to be in-person on the evening of September 7th is strongly recommended.  The workshop will be hosted by Certified Master Rain Gardeners and rain garden gurus, Clemson Extension, and is your chance to ask questions and watch first hand!  Certified Master Rain Gardeners are exempt from training requirements but welcome to attend.

How it Works: 

  1. No prior rain garden installation experience is necessary, but  grantees shall commit to about 2 hours of training to help you install the best rain garden possible!  Training will help you choose the right location on your property, the size of the rain garden, the right plants and supplies needed, and the installation techniques for success.  Certified Master Rain Gardeners are exempt from the required training.
  2. Grantees purchase supplies on their own.  The $200 will be deducted when you purchase native plants at a designated location.
  3. Grantees have about a month to install the rain garden on their own using resources from the trainings.  
  4. Grantees share pictures and dimensions of their new rain gardens on the City's Rainproof Showcase Map by filling out an easy form. 

Why it Matters: Rain gardens are a proven, effective way to reduce flooding, soaking up stormwater runoff and diverting it from central stormwater drainage systems that can become overwhelmed during periods of heavy rain. Additionally, rain gardens help to filter pollutants out of runoff before they enter storm drains.

Rain gardens installed with this grant money will provide useful data to the community on the effectiveness of this stormwater mitigation technique, and will inform future strategies throughout the city. 

Eligible Applicants: City of Charleston residents, businesses and organizations (public or private) who own their property or otherwise have permission from their property owner to install a rain garden.  Limit one application per household/business/address per year.  Previous year applicants are eligible to apply again to install an additional rain garden, but only if their existing rain garden is being maintained well and still functioning properly. 

Awards: Grant money is available to applicants able to complete all the requirements on a first come, first served basis, and a wait list will be created to gather additional interest for future funding opportunities.   Up to $5,000 of funding is available for the fall 2022 program, with the ability to fund up to 25 projects!  Grantees will receive notice of awards by September 2, 2022.

Impact:  The new rain gardens installed in the last grant cycle produced significant results to mitigate flooding already, an estimated 507,850 gallons of water is being diverted annually from the central stormwater system into rain gardens and rainwater harvesting systems.  

$1 invested in rain gardens leads to 3.22 gallons of water diverted per 1” rain event, or 82 gals per year!

How to Apply: Should the program be funded  again in 2023, the application period will likely open up in July 2023.  Please check back then!

This funding opportunity is being offered as part of the City’s Charleston Rainproof program, an initiative grown from the Dutch Dialogues process, which seeks to engage residents and business owners in a community-wide action plan to help make Charleston less flood prone.

Contact Us:  Jamie at (843)-579-7501 or GilletteJ@Charleston-SC.gov; or Katie at (843) 724-3789  or mckaink@charleston-sc.gov.  

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