They say it is better to give than to receive. Working with the USGBC Chapter network for the last five years, I sometimes feel like it’s about equal. The staff and volunteers of our 77 Chapters give so much to the green building movement, providing their communities with education and resources to advance an ambitious mission. Their Green Schools Committees give their time, expertise and passion to bring healthy, safe and high-performing schools to every student, seldom asking for anything in return. That is why I love being a part of our Chapter grants program, where we at national are able to give back and support the local, state and regional programs being created and implemented day in and day out, specifically our Green Schools Grant, now in its fourth year.
The goal of the grant is to provide small post of funding to support the USGBC Chapter Green Schools Committees’ activities, collectively advancing the mission of USGBC’s Center for Green Schools. Through resource development and by encouraging community-chapter collaboration, funded programs will catalyze effective and innovative grassroots action that can be shared with the Green Schools Committee network and beyond.
After several days spent pouring over applications and debating the strengths of each unique program, the Center for Green Schools and the USGBC Community Advancement teams are proud to announce the recipients of the 2013 Green Schools Grants. Nine grants were awarded to a total of twelve chapters, with $30,000 going to support local and state-based green school programs.
- Arkansas Chapter: Expanding a Green Schools Challenge program to high schools
- Minnesota Chapter: Grow the MN Green Schools Coalition with teachers, administrators and students
- Missouri Gateway Chapter: “Green Schools Quest” for students
- Georgia Chapter: Supporting the High Performance Healthy Schools Georgia Youth Summit
- San Diego Chapter: Green Apple Day of Service student workshop
- Illinois Chapter: Host their first ever green schools symposium, with a focus on teacher outreach
- Ohio Chapters: A multi-Chapter commitment to expand research on the use of LEED for Ohio’s schools
- Green Building Alliance, Pittsburgh: Support of the Chapter’s Green Schools Academy, seeking to grow sustainability in school culture
- Iowa Chapter: Establishment of a statewide contest and “green school scale” evaluation
Each program is as unique as the community it serves. Like the entire network, these Chapters continue to play to their strengths, seek new challenges and assert themselves as the go-to resources for green building advocacy and education. We are all excited to see what these programs will bring to their communities in the coming year. They have big shoes to fill, with the 2012 grants tracking to reach nearly 1,000 schools, and raising an additional $390,000 on top of the funds granted by the Center.