Sustainable Jersey for Schools is seeking to support innovative and unique projects that will foster sustainability in schools and districts.

The Sustainable Jersey for Schools Small Grant program, which provides opportunities for public schools and school districts to implement sustainability projects, is currently accepting applications for grant funding. Two grant opportunities are now open through two different funders. Applications are due Oct. 28.

Two Funders, Many Grants Two grant opportunities are available within the Sustainable Jersey Small Grants Program. One, funded via the Gardinier Environmental Fund, supports both municipalities and school districts. It will award two $30,000 grants and nine $10,000 grants, to fund energy projects focused on conservation, efficiency, and renewable energy. For example, an energy project could be a solar canopy on a parking lot or rooftop solar on schools. For other project ideas, view the recorded informational webinar presentation.

The second, funded by the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA), will support a Sustainable Jersey for Schools Small Grants Program cycle for school districts and schools. This cycle will award ten $10,000 grants to school districts or schools and forty $2,000 grants to support school green teams. The funded projects will serve as practical and innovative models and make measurable contributions toward the long-term goal of a sustainable New Jersey. View the recorded informational webinar.

Requirements Vary Although the two grant opportunities available have different eligibility requirements, in general, grants over $10,000 must be used to fund all or part of a project that will earn points for an action in the Sustainable Jersey for Schools program. The $2,000 grants can be used for school green team expenses, and do not have to be for project-specific activities. All applicants must be registered in the Sustainable Jersey for Schools program which is free and voluntary.

Grant proposals will be judged by an independent Blue Ribbon Selection Committee. Grants are intended to help school districts and schools make progress toward a sustainable future in general, and specifically toward Sustainable Jersey for Schools certification. District applications should focus on programs or projects that benefit more than one school, while applications submitted by individual schools should focus on school-level initiatives. For example, a district could apply for a grant to integrate sustainability concepts across the curriculum, and that district’s high school could apply for a grant to complete a biodiversity project on school grounds.

Before writing a grant application, applicants are advised to check the grant selection criteria. The project should be innovative and unique, and it would be ideal if these grant projects could lead to a new best practice for other schools to model. Successful projects make a significant impact on the sustainability of a school. The proposed grant projects should be effective in leveraging resources and partnerships. Sustainable Jersey for Schools recommends building a good project team to manage collaboration and coordination between stakeholders.

Grant applications, which are due Friday, Oct. 28, 2016 at midnight are available as follows: