A Roadmap to Climate Change Grants

Applying for grants can seem intimidating, especially when navigating the different types of funding (e.g., federal vs. state), eligibility requirements, and determining which grants are most suitable to support your organization’s work. It can sometimes feel like an endless rabbit hole. While the grant application process seems daunting, it’s not all doom and gloom. 

As a part of our mission to create positive change and to honor Martin Luther King Jr.’s work, SGA conducted research to help make information and tools about the grant application process more accessible to community-based organizations. This blog lists out considerations to get you started, where to search for applicable grants, and how to begin planning for the actual application process. We’ve also included a list of 22 grants that you could apply for as a climate-related organization!

Get Ready! Here’s Your Checklist to Get the Grant

The first important step when searching for funding is to determine the scope of your project and what specific activities need to be funded. Once you’ve figured out what your project will entail and how much funding you would need, then you can determine the type of grant that would be most appropriate for your organization’s efforts. 

Eligibility is another important consideration when beginning the grant identification process. When searching for grants, it’s important to keep in mind who can receive the funding. Sometimes your organization can apply to receive direct funding and other times, you can apply by association with larger organizations that are eligible.

Key Tips
  • Determine the scope of your project
  • Determine the appropriate grant type
  • Determine avenues for collaboration/partnership –
    • If you’re not eligible to apply directly, you can often apply with another agency. 
Training Resources

Databases to Explore, Key Tips and More

As you determine the type of funding that would best fit your project, you’ll likely find that grants are organized into state versus federal funding. There are various types of search portals, websites, and databases that you can explore based on whether you need state or federal funding.

Here are some grant search portals to get you started.

Key Tips
  • Take advantage of powerful keyword tools on various databases
    • Use filters to further narrow your search (e.g., grant amount)
    • Use keyword searches (e.g., air pollution )
  • Sign up for newsletters to get the most up-to-date information about specific grant opportunities

From Grant Preparation to Grant Application

Once you’ve found the appropriate grant to apply to, you’ll need to prepare action items and a general timeline to keep your organization on track for grant deadlines. Take a look at your grant’s application requirements to understand what materials are needed and when they are due. Some grants require pre-application concept letters and early deadlines.

Here are some grant application resources to get you started.

To make the grant process even easier, we’ve also compiled a list of grants available for climate-focused non-profits.

Key Tips
  • Before applying, thoroughly read the grant application requirements
  • Create a timeline for deadlines
    • List the materials and steps of action that need to happen leading up to the final submission of the grant application.

The grant application process can be overwhelming, but always remember that other organizations are working towards the same goals who you can apply with. Once you get started, there is only more that you can learn from there, helping you get closer to fulfilling your organization’s goals and mission of making a difference in your community.

Sweet Santa Clara: What to do About a Sugary Problem?

Current American diets and lifestyles leave our minds highly susceptible to hijacking. Ever heard of glucose, fructose, sucrose, maltose, lactose, dextrose, and starch? They’re all sugars, and adding them to common food products is a cheap way of making those products more “craveable.” The problem with hiding sugar in popular drinks and foods is that over-consumption can lead to adverse health effects from liver and heart disease to diabetes and obesity.

The World Health Organization sets the healthy limit for annual sugar consumption at 20 pounds, but in a typical year the average American consumes 57. In Santa Clara County, an average of 31% of adolescents and 54% of adults are obese, but those numbers are even higher in the Latinx community where 41% of adolescents and 72% of adults are obese. The CDC has also reported that over their lifetime, over 50% of the Latinx community are expected to develop type 2 diabetes (compared to 40% of all US adults).
Seeking to address this growing public health crisis, the SCC Public Health Department tasked SGA to create an educational campaign exposing the negative effects of sugar found in various juices and other sugary drinks. The campaign goal was clear: influence the attitudes and intentions of Latinx adults regarding the number of sugary drinks (e.g. soda, sports drinks, etc) they provide to children in their care.

There’s one consistent truism when it comes to conducting outreach—listen first, then act.
The Cut The Sugar campaign placed a premium on listening to input from the priority population during ad development. In collaboration with a local community group, SOMOS Mayfair, SGA used focus groups in both Spanish and English as well as intercept surveys to develop the ad campaign. The feedback from this research guided the overall appearance, tone, and messaging to reflect subtle nuances that emerged as being necessary to effectively reach our priority audience. The multilingual Cut The Sugar campaign consisted of outdoor print ads, ad scripts for radio, and digital ads. There was also a public outreach component which featured large inflatable blow-ups and alternative drink tastings deployed at community events. These items opened the conversation about the health risks associated with excessive sugary drink consumption.
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In order to assess the impact and effectiveness of the campaign, intercept surveys were conducted to measure factors related to Latinx caregivers’ provision of sugary drinks to children in their care. These surveys were given to individuals in the same geographical location where the campaign ran over the course of three months and were then analyzed for statistical significance. Results were differentiated between people who had seen the ads (AKA exposed) and people who had not seen the ads (AKA comparison group). The main findings showed that:

  • People who were exposed to the Cut The Sugar campaign planned to give 46% fewer sugary drinks to children in their care than people who had not been exposed to ads.
  • 54% of respondents who saw the ads reported giving fewer sugary drinks to children in their care than they had at the same time the previous year, whereas only 20% of the comparison group reported a reduction in sugary drinks.
  • When asked to identify which of the beverages from a list were considered sugary drinks, people exposed to the ads were 33% more likely to be able to identify sugary drinks correctly than those in the comparison group./li>
  • 60% of respondents reported the most important motivator for reducing the number of sugary drinks they gave to children in their care was to decrease the risk of their child developing diabetes, with 42 respondents ranking this at #1 and 97% of respondents selecting this as a motivator.

Have questions about our data or approach? Feel free to email us at info@sga-inc.net.

Putting Our Money Where Our Hearts Are

Our purpose at SGA is to build better communities. The way we do this is by partnering with clients and only taking on projects that align with our core principles, inspire change, and ultimately helps make this world of ours a little better. Our clients know we are a triple bottom line company (people, planet, profits) and understand they are getting a team whose commitment and passion to the project are almost as ingrained as their own.
Whether its environmental projects (such as stormwater pollution prevention, recycling, green infrastructure, food waste) or applying our public engagement and community awareness expertise towards public health, capital improvement, transportation, social responsibility, and children and family projects—we put our money where our hearts are.

Our actions don’t just stop at the client and project level. We talk the talk, while walking the walk. Our company volunteers time and resources to charitable and environmental causes, we have employees who live and teach about zero waste lifestyles, commute to work using alternative methods (such as bicycles, on foot, or with EVs), and as a team, we aim to reduce the amount of waste we’re contributing to the world.

As of November, SGA also became a California Green Business to show our commitment to doing what we can for our planet. Being a certified green business means we’re conserving energy and water, reusing materials, recycling, helping to prevent pollution and complying with environmental regulations in the areas of waste, energy, water, pollution prevention, and air quality.

Together, our clients and SGA are making a difference. This difference is the reason why we do what we do. It’s not always easy—actually—it’s never easy, but it sure is rewarding!

Happy or Happenstance?

In recent years, happiness has become an increasingly popular topic in the field of psychology.  But as many researchers have found, it’s a tricky topic to study. Happiness is easily misread, difficult to measure, and often created by counter-intuitive actions.

One researcher at the University of California Riverside, Professor Sonja Lyubomirsky, has made some significant strides towards understanding what makes us happy. And based on her research of thousands of individuals she’s created an interesting guide to understanding what it is, and what it isn’t.
Her research suggests that:

    • half of our happiness is determined by our genes,
    • 10% is based on the life circumstances we find ourselves in,
    • and 40% is based on our attitude and the choices we make.

So, while 60% of our happiness is out of our control, 40% is very much in our control. That 40% might seem like cause for celebration, but Lyubomirsky also found that many of the assumptions we hold about the things we believe will make us happy, may actually lead us towards greater melancholy. ~GASP~ Lyubomirsky also found that some of the social norms we are encouraged to embrace will likely be detrimental to our happiness in the long-run.

Lyubomirsky debunked 3 common myths:

Myth #1: Homeowners are happier than renters.
Contrary to what we hold to be true as part of the “American dream,” researchers have found that homeowners are actually less happy than renters. They derive more emotional stress from their homes than do renters, and they spend more time on housework and less time interacting with friends and neighbors.

Myth #2: Getting a good education is the key.
Turns out the more educated people are, the less satisfied they are with their lives. The enhanced satisfaction that we might derive from our advanced degrees appears to be outweighed by our increased aspirations and their attendant risk of disappointment and regret.

Myth #3: The young have more fun!
The media tends to portray 20-30 year-olds as the pinnacle of life exuberance, fun and happiness. Yet, as Lyubomirsky finds, “A 22-year study of about 2,000 healthy veterans of World War II and the Korean War revealed that life satisfaction increased over the course of these men’s lives, peaked at age 65, and didn’t start significantly declining until age 75.”

In general, what Lyubomirsky found is that life is less about ownership or accomplishments than it is about the richness of our experiences, the friendships we make along the way, and the mindset we approach our day-to-day life with—no matter your age. So, the next time you have a choice between buying the latest gadget or spending money on an outing with friends, go with the people. And when you’re thinking about your next job, focus on vacation time, flexibility, and office culture, not just the salary, title, and position.

We all want to be happy, but it’s often difficult to parse cause from effect. What initially seems like an obvious improvement in our lives, may turn out to be a short-term jolt that quickly fades away.

Thinking back on your life what has made you happiest? What are your keys to success? Do these findings resonate with you? Email info@sgamarketing.com with your thoughts and feedback.

Develop a Relationship You Can Work With

Do you have a best friend at work? This question elicits pause, but it is also a question that reveals one of the foundational characteristics of a highly productive workgroup. According to Gallup research, there are 12 key factors that describe great workgroups. One of these relates to the quality of the relationships we have with co-workers. Employees who report having a best friend, or a coworker to share a quality relationship with are:

  • 37% more likely to report that someone at work encourages their development
  • 27% more likely to report that the mission of their company makes them feel their job is important
  • 21% more likely to report that at work, they have the opportunity to do what they do best every day

Here are some suggestions that can foster quality relationships between coworkers. Best of all, these relationship-building activities can be done during lunch hour. Take a break, enjoy each other’s company, and get to know the people you work with over a meal.

Buddy Lunch: Pair a new employee with an older staff member to have an informal one-on-one lunch at a nearby eatery. Use this time to take a walk and bond by sharing a meal in a casual environment.

Themed Potlucks: Once a month, SGA holds an hour long meeting to reflect upon working developments. After some critical conversations, each SGA staff brings in a dish to share. The conversation continues all the way into clean-up time where we tag team to do the dishes. Teamwork and funny conversations naturally develop over Alphabet, Prediction, Campfire, and Smelly Food-themed potlucks.

Salons: Recognize that each and every employee has passions and pursuits outside of work. Take a lunch break to have an open forum to share and cross-pollinate new ideas. As examples, one SGAer shared her experience surviving the Eastern Sierra wilderness in the winter. Another SGAer shared the lessons he learned as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Panama.

This Valentine’s Day, nurture and celebrate all relationships, but especially ones within the workplace. Take initiative to build a stronger work community.