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Funding green projects at your school

Updated on September 12, 2012

Note: All text and photos are property of the author and cannot be reused without permission.

Sometimes being green can save you green, but not always. Sometimes it takes money to bring an idea to fruition. If you’re looking for funding for a school garden, LED light-bulbs, a compost bin, rain barrels, or some other project designed to make your school more earth-friendly, once you’ve got the principal’s approval, give these ideas a try:

This group held a plant sale to raise money for a gardening project.
This group held a plant sale to raise money for a gardening project. | Source
A generous private donor funded this school courtyard renovation project.
A generous private donor funded this school courtyard renovation project. | Source
These signs were provided and installed by our school district transportation department.
These signs were provided and installed by our school district transportation department. | Source

Donations and volunteers

- Ask neighbors, parents, or local businesses to sponsor your project. Put an announcement in your school newsletter, requesting donations.

- Ask the PTA or the principal for financial or volunteer assistance. Sometimes they set aside money for requests that come up during the year.

- Put the word out that your idea might be a good activity for a social service group or scout troop.

- Ask your local home-improvement store if they can donate items that you need. Some major chains give their store managers a monthly allowance for donations in kind.

- Negotiate a cost reduction from the store or service company that offers what you need.

- See if your local utility or city government has programs that might offer assistance. Our city offers free bike racks, for example.

- Ask a nearby church for support with donations or workdays.

- Ask a teacher to sponsor your project and request donations through donorschoose.org. See link below.

- See if your school district can provide items such as signs, fencing, or installation of items you purchase. We received “no-idling zone” signs, simply by requesting them from our district’s transportation department.

- Be creative, can you create your project using free materials? There’s a local cemetery near our school that offers landscape rocks free of charge. Craigslist.org is a great source for free or inexpensive used materials. Or ask your school community for ideas.

- Approach relevant departments of nearby universities or community colleges. You might find a teacher looking for a class project.

Raising money

- Sell items like reusable shopping bags or water bottles. Be aware that you may need to pay sales tax, even if you’re raising money for a non-profit.

- Hold an event, like a craft activity, nature hike, or green speaker and ask for donations for your project.

- Hold a used book sale with books donated by parents.

- Ask a parent to teach a class or give a talk, then ask for donations for your project.

- Search for other school fundraising ideas online, there are many options. It’s good if you can tie the activity into your project with a green theme.

Grants

- Search for local sustainability-oriented organizations that might offer grants for small projects or might be able to offer other assistance, such as lending tools or organizing volunteers.

- Visit www.grantwrangler.com for opportunities to fund eco-friendly projects. Take special note of deadlines. Most grants for schools only require submission of an application.

- The following companies or organizations have offered grants that could be used for eco-friendly projects – Home Depot, Lowe’s, Scholastic Books, Captain Planet, Do Something Grant, National Gardening Association.

- Call local chapters of the Rotary Club, Lions Club, Junior League, and other civic groups to see if they offer grants for local projects.

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    • marthamuldoon profile image
      Author

      marthamuldoon 4 years ago from Austin, TX

      Glad to hear of a success story. Yes. As someone who has volunteered weekly in our school gardens weeding, mulching, etc. for the past year, I know these things take a lot of maintenance. Folks should think long and hard about who's going to take care of it before installing one.

    • watergeek profile image

      watergeek 4 years ago from Pasadena CA

      Good ideas, all. I wrote recently about a school garden and irrigation maintenance project that raised funding in many of those same ways. Last Thursday, in fact, a woman connected with the "old guard" fundraising community sponsored the project at one of their luncheons and generated more interest. Believe it or not, it's been much easier for them to get funding than it has been to get enough volunteers.

    • marthamuldoon profile image
      Author

      marthamuldoon 4 years ago from Austin, TX

      Thanks! Check out my other hubs for green school ideas.

    • glassvisage profile image

      glassvisage 4 years ago from Northern California

      These are great ideas! And a good idea for a Hub too, because I know going green is becoming so much more popular at schools though funding isn't getting easier. Thanks for sharing these tips. Maybe have more ideas for other green projects schools can do too!