In 2010, the City Council of Asheville, North Carolina adopted a goal of reducing its carbon footprint by 20% over five years. They adopted a broad range of initiatives with the largest project replacing all 9,000 of the city’s street lights with energy efficient LED fixtures. Of the 17 environmental projects totaling over $10 million in project costs, over half were funded through grants. . For example, the community used funding from The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program from the U.S. Department Energy for phase one of the street light project. The grants totaled over $4 million, 42% of the city’s total costs In the end, the community is expecting to save over 2,000 tons of carbon dioxide just by changing the street lights. Additionally, the environmental projects will also save the city millions of dollars in energy reduction.
Asheville is just one example of a community focusing on energy savings and protecting the environment. If your municipality or non-profit organization is hoping to do the same, check out these grants below.
Environmental Justice Small Grants Program
The Environmental Protection Agency offers this grant program for local environmental and public health issues in a community. The deadline for this fiscal year is January 9 so it may be prudent to begin planning for next year. The main goal of the program is to help communities understand and address exposure to multiple environmental risks, especially issues involved in climate change. Underrepresented communities, small and/or impoverished, are favored in this program. Maximum grant award is $30,000.
Wells Fargo Foundation
This bank foundation has two environmental grant programs. One program, Environmental Solutions for Communities, puts the focus on environmental concerns in communities. This program includes sustainable agriculture, forestry, water quality, land conservation, and support for building health ecosystems. Municipalities as well as non-profit organizations and public school systems are eligible to apply. Applications are accepted from September through December each year. The second program, Clean Technology and Innovation, hopes to partner with universities, colleges, labs, and entrepreneur accelerator programs to develop new clean and innovative green technologies. This is an invitation-only program, though you can send an email to be considered for a formal invitation if you have a worthy topic in mind. Both programs favor projects that can involve Wells Fargo employee volunteers, as well as projects that deliver long-term, measurable results.
The Patagonia Foundation wants to support local environmental groups taking on a local issue. Eligible entities must be able to produce measureable results with specific goals, objectives, and action plans. Non-profit organizations and municipalities are eligible to apply. One priority area for this foundation is protecting and restoring native fish populations and their habitat. Other environmental projects, such as protecting wildlife, restoring watersheds, defending forests, and more, are also funded. Applications are accepted twice a year, before April 30 and Aug. 31. The maximum grant award is $12,000.
The Energy Foundation supports six different grant programs. The Buildings Program aims to increase the efficiency of homes and businesses to reduce carbon emissions and utility bills. The Climate Program funds projects to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Organizations wanting to help move toward cleaner, more affordable source of energy should apply to the Power Program. The Public Engagement Program seeks to build support for clean energy and strong climate policies. Projects focused on transportation efficiency and clean fuels can be funded through the Transportation Program. The final program, Energy Foundation China, is available only to Chinese organizations. Projects must be larger than a local community, so it is recommended that neighboring communities or several entities partner together. Non-profit organizations are eligible to apply. The Foundation strongly encourages first-time grant seekers to send in a Letter of Inquiry before submitting a full application. Applications are accepted throughout the year. Grants awarded in 2014 ranged from $10,000 to $3 million.
Photo Credit: Mohamed Malik