Over the last handful of years, the St. Louis Earth Day Festival has become a successful fundraiser for St. Louis Earth Day (SLED), an organization that has year-round programs and both full-time and part-time staff to ensure everyday sustainability is a priority within our community. In addition to planning one of the leading Earth Day celebrations in the nation, our team works hard on programs like Recycling On the Go and the Green Dining Alliance. These initiatives fill an important niche in St. Louis by helping organizations depart from the status quo and transform into environmental leaders. Funds raised through the production of the Earth Day Festival help support these programs and provide seed money for new opportunities.
As a small non-profit, we understand better than anyone that good ideas are abundant, but funding is tight. We apply for many grants and know it can be a time-consuming task with far too many hoops to jump through, only for a chance to receive the funding. We also know there are TONS of exciting projects and programs that are happening all over St. Louis. Many (all?) of them would flourish with a little cash injection.
Then we got to thinking – what if we could take advantage of the April Earth Day spotlight, get the SLED community really excited about supporting small-scale grassroots projects and then encourage people and companies to give generously? How much money could we raise? What all could be accomplished?
In 2013, Boeing donated $10,000 for the first year of Earth Day Action Grants, through their Corporate Giving program, providing 100% of our fundraising goal. In fact, we were able to fund 18 projects, totaling about $12,000. Recipients were recognized at the Opening Ceremony at the Earth Day Festival (April 21). Read more about 2013 grant projects.
We are doing it again! Once we hit our internal fundraising goal to support year-round Earth Day programs, we want to raise an additional $10,000 (or more!) for Earth Day Action Grants. This will be a challenge for sure, but we believe that St. Louis will continue to show its generosity. The application process is simple and straightforward. No daily votes or facebook likes. Awards won’t be huge, but we hope that it will be enough to enable good-quality citizen action, outdoor experiences and sustainability projects.
We are seeking applications that relate to at least one of the three principal goals of the Earth Day Action Grants:
- Provide an opportunity for people to “take action” on an environmental issue.
- Provide support for small groups and non-profit organizations seeking to implement an Earth Day program or project.
- Provide support for small groups and non-profit organizations that implement Earth Day-aligned programs, projects or services throughout the year.
Help make it happen.
Eligible applicants include: government entities (e.g. municipal and county parks departments), schools, non-profit groups, 501(c)3 corporations, small community groups, including community gardens. Grants may be awarded to small community groups without official 501c3 status, but will require a fiscal agent, reimbursement basis or similar arrangement. Only proposals that take place in the St. Louis region will be considered (St. Louis City, St. Louis County, St. Charles, East St. Louis).
Examples of Eligible Proposals
- Supplies for a small group trash pick up
- Computer to enable a non-profit environmental organization to carry out their mission
- Seeds and trees for a community garden
- Licensing fees to show an environmentally-themed documentary
- Tools for a school garden or outdoor classroom
- Supplies and instructor expenses for a environmentally-themed workshop or special course
- Speaker fees for an environmentally-themed program
- Rain barrel installation at a school or community center
- Native plants for a bird sanctuary or butterfly garden
- Materials for environmentally-themed teacher training
- Implementing recycling & composting at a Earth Day event
- Plants for an outdoor classroom
- Tools for a bike repair workshop
November 15: Applications available on the St. Louis Earth Day website.
March 1: Applications for grant proposals close; all proposal material are due.
April 10: Applicants are notified.
April 27: Grant recipients are recognized at the St. Louis Earth Day Festival.