University of Pittsburgh Green Fund Grant Application Handbook

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1 University of Pittsburgh Green Fund Grant Application Handbook Hi there! If you have had a great idea to help lead the University of Pittsburgh into a more sustainable, livable, and informed community of students and educators, then you are on the right path. It is now time to turn your idea into a reality, and the University of Pittsburgh Green Fund Advisory Board (GFAB) wants to support you or your organization in working toward that goal. The GFAB awards financial and organizational support to a few committee-selected applicants each academic year in the form of Pitt Green Fund Grants. This guide provides applicants with all of the information necessary to shape an effective project concept and submit it to the GFAB. Good luck, and please don t hesitate to send questions to Handbook Contents I. Applicant Eligibility Requirements II. Application Instructions and Project Timeline III. General Project Requirements and Preferences For Grant Awards IV. Terms and Conditions Pitt Green Fund Grant Application Forms can be found online at under Resources. I. Applicant Eligibility Requirements The following groups and individuals are eligible to apply for project funding from the GFAB: 1. Any undergraduate or graduate student enrolled at the University of Pittsburgh; 2. Any student group or organization; 3. Any member of faculty at the University of Pittsburgh. II. Instructions and Project Timeline The outline on the following pages is designed to help you plan your project and serves as a road map for the timeline that all applicants must submit to the GFAB. The timeline is required to chart project goals, team and individual responsibilities, and progress. It is up to you what form this timeline takes (e.g. Excel spreadsheet, online or offline calendar, paper timeline, et cetera). There is no deadline for project proposals, and they may be submitted for consideration at any time from August through April. However, funds will begin to be granted from the Pitt Green Fund on October 15 th, so be sure to submit your application early to have a better chance at receiving funding and support!

2 1. Shape Your Idea A. Brainstorm some general goals and a vision for your project. Answering the following questions might help! i. Is it a tangible project or an educational program/activity? 1. Tangible projects purchase, install, or alter University property, services, or systems. 2. Programs/Activities can be a class, workshop, sustainability fair, service project, or other educational activity/event that occurs once or in a series. Unless adequately justified, advocacy events will not be funded and instead will be directed toward one of the several environmental groups on campus. 3. If you are unclear on what category your project falls into, then please contact for clarification. ii. How does your project align with the GFAB s vision and goals for a more sustainable Pitt community? What is sustainability? iii. How will your project affect the Pitt community after one year? Five years? Ten years? B. Remember! Your project is encouraged to positively impact as many people as possible, but at minimum it must directly affect undergraduate students because the Pitt Green Fund is allocated by Student Government Board. C. Do some preliminary research on similar past projects, feasibility, and available resources. D. Review this packet and the GFAB Charter ( in detail to help you prepare the application and ensure the eligibility of your project. E. Ask questions and obtain more information At environmental group meetings and events In the classroom From your professors From your friends Online at and at other websites From GFAB by sending an to 2. Gather your team and support structure A. Some smaller projects can be accomplished independently, but it is strongly recommended that you work with a team that allows you to share responsibilities. This team might be a class, student organization, fifteen people, or two people. GFAB may request that project leaders assemble or add to their team before funding is allocated if it is clear that this is necessary. B. Assign roles and responsibilities. Each team is different and will likely use different organizational models, but each team must have a primary contact to facilitate communication between the project team and the GFAB. C. Once funding has been allocated, each awarded team will work with at least one liaison from the GFAB to ensure that projects are executed in an efficient and cost-effective manner as defined by the GFAB. This liaison will be responsible for handling monetary transactions, providing organizational support, making connections with administration as necessary, and for acting as a guide through the project process.

3 3. Conduct Further Research A. Develop a detailed description and plan for your project by asking and answering questions such as those on the Green Fund Grant Application form. Consider conducting research online or by contacting experts on the topic (e.g. Pitt faculty or staff, other schools with similar projects, local nonprofits, other students). Including any facts, figures, statistics, or details on similar projects in your final application will add credibility. B. Attempt to discuss your idea and intentions with relevant University departments, offices, and committees (e.g. Facilities Management, Department of Housing and Food Services, Office of Student Life, academic departments, et cetera) to research the feasibility of your project. Sometimes the University immediately responds to new ideas or you find out they are already pursuing a similar project, so doing some research on campus is worth it! Don t worry too much if you can t find somebody to talk to. The GFAB is here to help you figure it out! i. For example, if you wish to install a green roof on 1. A dormitory or dining hall, then you should get information from the Department of Housing and Food Services 2. An academic building (e.g. Posvar Hall), then you should contact Facilities Management and/or any relevant academic departments (e.g. School of Arts and Sciences) 3. The William Pitt Student Union, then you should contact the Office of Student Life C. Draft a working budget and edit it as your project takes shape i. Be detailed! Include every foreseeable expense. ii. Use goods and services from equitable, environmentally conscious, and sustainable sources whenever possible. That means no Styrofoam or plastic bottles if you re planning an event! iii. Keep in mind that the GFAB is more willing to fund a project that uses expensive and high quality materials over a project that uses relatively cheap and inequitable or shoddy materials. iv. Include details on any funding other than that granted by the GFAB (e.g. other grants). v. Save all receipts, invoices, price quotes, and other documents that prove expenses. vi. If this project has been on-going or occurred before (e.g. an annual energy awareness campaign), please describe previous year s budgets, including total amount spent and sources of funding. Please also include any justifications for increasing previous year s budgets and seeking funding from the GFAB as opposed to using only previous year s funding sources. vii. Any budget alterations made after a project has been approved by the GFAB must be submitted for review before being implemented. The GFAB reserves the right to deny budget alterations as well as the right to cease funding to a project if it substantially deviates from budget without approval. 4. Prepare Application A. Cover Sheet This form serves as the jumping-off point for the rest of your application and provides the GFAB with a quick overview of you or your team and your project as well as necessary contact information. B. Project Proposal Form This form will provide the GFAB with detailed information about your proposal and is the core of the application, so please provide as much detail as possible.

4 C. Budget Detail and Justification Form This crucial form provides the GFAB with information on all material and service expenses for an applicant s project and must be completed with the utmost care and attention to detail. i. Applicants must provide justification for all expenses by submitting proof of a price quote and a one to two sentence description of why the expense is relevant to the project. If a quote cannot be obtained by the application deadline, then make a rough estimate and provide a brief description. ii. The GFAB understands that expense quotes and prices are not final and many are subject to change after a budget has been submitted. Any budget edits made after submission must be reported immediately to the GFAB. The GFAB reserves the right to deny budget alterations as well as the right to cease funding to a project if it substantially deviates from budget without approval. D. Project Timeline The timeline acts as a planning tool for you and as an aid for the GFAB to understand the long-term goals of your project. Items that should be recorded in the timeline include but are not limited to individual/team deadlines and meetings, GFAB deadlines and meetings, team workdays, events, et cetera. i. Should your project receive funding, an GFAB liaison will meet with you and/or your team to set attainable goals for your project. A copy of your timeline will be held by the GFAB and regularly referenced to review your progress in attaining these goals. ii. It is up to you what form this timeline takes (e.g. Excel spreadsheet, online or offline calendar, paper timeline, poster, et cetera) as long as it is easily editable and accessible by all members of your team. E. Additional Application Information i. Taking the time to work on detailed responses to the project proposal form will help develop content for the application. ii. All proposals will be evaluated equally on the basis of merit, quality of the project design, and feasibility of successful completion. The GFAB may elect to fully fund, partially fund, or not fund a project. iii. An interdisciplinary committee of students and faculty/administrative advisors will review the proposals; therefore, proposals should be written neatly and professionally. iv. Provide all necessary details in your responses, but keep in mind that an exhaustive report is not required. v. Some questions may not apply to your project and/or you may not have access to the information required to answer them. If either is the case, please include any relevant details and/or write not applicable. vi. All documents included in the application will be retained by the GFAB for their records. Applicants should save copies of their application for their own reference. vii. If you re confused, then contact the GFAB at with any questions. 5. Submit Application A. Applicants are encouraged to submit their application via to as a Microsoft Word document or PDF file. This can be done by obtaining a digital copy of the application and filling it out with a text editor such as Microsoft Word. Please do not edit this document except where required. Insert [Year] Green Fund Proposal: [Name] in the subject line of the and name the document as PrimaryContact_Year.doc (e.g. attach JohnDoe_GFAB.doc to an with subject GFAB Green Fund Proposal: John Doe). B. Alternatively, the application may be printed on dead trees and scanned into an message or delivered to the Student Government Board office in room 848 of the William Pitt Student Union. C. Include your team s project timeline as an attachment to either the or paper application depending on your submission choice. Mark this attachment with Timeline in the upper right corner if by paper or name the attached file PrimaryContactTL _Year (e.g. JohnDoeTL_GFAB).

5 6. Next Steps D. Paper applications may be sent by University mail to: Attn: Green Fund Advisory Board Student Government Board 848 William Pitt Student Union A. Wait for a response from the GFAB i. The GFAB will begin considering applications for Pitt Green Fund Grant funding immediately after they are received, and the first awardees will be announced by November 1 st via , phone, and a website posting. ii. Download the GFAB Charter at to read about the decision process and structure of the GFAB. iii. If your project does not receive grant funding then you re done for now, but please don t hesitate to discuss your application with a GFAB representative and re-submit next semester! Thank you for your efforts in making Pitt a more sustainable university, and don t forget to celebrate your accomplishments! B. Understand Terms and Conditions (Section IV) of award before accepting any grant funding. C. Review and execute project plan i. After grant funding is awarded, a liaison from the GFAB will meet with each project team in a brief meeting to review the project timeline, set goals, and define a process for benchmarking those goals. Be prepared to schedule time for a few regular check-in meetings with your liaison and the GFAB. ii. Get to work and don t forget to keep the GFAB updated with any necessary changes in budget, team information, or significant roadblocks. Good luck and have fun! D. Participate in project review process as detailed in Terms and Conditions (section IV) E. Celebrate! You deserve it. i. This is really important because you and/or your team have made Pitt history by improving the environment and quality of life on campus and beyond. Well done! III. General Project Requirements and Preferences for Grant Awards Applicants should read the following excerpt from the GFAB Charter to better understand general project requirements: 1. All projects shall promote sustainable practices, thinking, and development, with a goal of a healthier campus and community. 2. All proposed projects must have a clearly defined goal or intended outcome. 3. Recipients of funding shall be required to maintain a close working relationship with the GFAB to ensure the progress of their project. 4. All projects shall have a mechanism for evaluation and follow-up after funding has been allocated. At minimum, a project plan must include a report made to the GFAB after successful (or unsuccessful) implementation. If a project is expected to have ongoing benefits such as annual cost savings, the project plan must include a mechanism for tracking, recording, and reporting these benefits back to GFAB on an (at least) annual basis. 5. Project proposals must detail plans for publicity, education, and outreach.

6 6. The Pitt Green Fund will not support projects already mandated by law or The University of Pittsburgh policy directive (e.g., basic standards for new building construction), since University of Pittsburgh is already obligated to allocate funds for such projects. 7. Projects are highly encouraged to benefit the students of University of Pittsburgh financially, educationally, or through the creation of volunteer/action opportunities. 8. Any University of Pittsburgh affiliate may submit project proposals. 9. No Pitt Green Fund support shall go to a project that involves paving or developing any green space. The GFAB will give preference to projects that meet the following criteria: 1. Preference will be given to projects that demonstrate the greatest reduction in the University of Pittsburgh s negative environmental impacts for the least cost. 2. Preference will be given to projects with a strong student-participation component. 3. Preference will be given to projects that yield cost savings to the university. 4. Preference will be given to projects that can obtain matching funds from sources other than the GFAB. IV. Terms and Conditions 1. All awardees must submit a project status report detailing budget expenditures and progress by the first day in May after they receive funding regardless of whether or not the project has been successfully completed. Additional progress reports or check-in meetings may be requested by the GFAB depending on the project. 2. The GFAB reserves the right to deny any proposals that are incomplete or do not follow the above guidelines. 3. The GFAB reserves the right to recommend partial or no funding for applicant(s). 4. Unexpended grant balances must be returned immediately after project completion. 5. The University of Pittsburgh owns the results of all purchases, installations, or alterations of University property, systems, or services funded by the Pitt Green Fund. 6. Any budget alterations or significant changes to the project timeline made after a project has been approved by the GFAB must be submitted for review before being implemented. The GFAB reserves the right to deny budget alterations as well as the right to cease funding to a project if it substantially deviates from the originally funded proposal without approval. Similarly, any changes in applicant contact information must be updated with the GFAB in a timely manner. Questions and Resources Questions concerning application procedures or GFAB guidelines may be directed at any time to the GFAB at or through your team s assigned liaison. Visit for updates and further information on the Pitt Green Fund and the GFAB. Visit to learn about current environmental initiatives on campus and to discuss relevant topics with the entire Pitt community!

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