Green Grants for Churches

by Megan O'Malley

Grants are available for churches in order to make them more environmentally friendly and to help them create a smaller carbon footprint. Several organizations give out grants designed specifically for churches. These grants can help churches begin using solar power, allow for a new church to be built or help fund programs dedicated to making the earth a better place.

Construction Grants

Since churches are considered not for profit organizations, there are many opportunities for them to gain grants. The Kresge Foundation offers grants to not for profit organizations of all sizes, particularly if the group is looking to raise awareness about environmental conservation. The Home Depot also offers grants to nonprofits that choose to build green.

Alternative and Renewable Energy Grants

Alternative energy modifications will lower the environmental impact of a building on the surrounding land; they can also help lower heating and cooling costs. The Environmental Protection Agency’s website has a section devoted to grants for nonprofit organizations to help improve energy efficiency. Depending on which state the church is in, there are state grants for renewable energy sources. Look at the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency for a state-by-state reference guide of where to apply for specific grants.

General Funding Grants

Last year the Christian Reformed Church (CRC) began a funding for a grant called U.S. Green Congregation Grant. In order to apply, churches must demonstrate how they can integrate environmental concerns into their teaching. According to the CRC’s website, the winners of the grant must demonstrate “effective and replicable ‘greening’ through education, lifestyle, and theological initiatives.” The first winner of this $500 grant was the Covenant CRC in Iowa. They created a curriculum for a 4-day day camp that focuses on composting, organic gardening and tree and insect life cycles. This grant is only given out once a year and is highly desirable. The CRC website has complete details on how to apply.

Other Considerations

Applying for grants is not an easy process. Read all the instructions and guidelines carefully before applying to ensure that the church and its goals fit within the grant criteria. Be clear in letters of intent; explain about what is wanted and why the church deserves to receive the grant. As a final note, make sure to have all fiscal records in order and the correct paperwork to prove that the church is in fact a not for profit organization. The more accurate the forms are, the more likely the church will receive the grant.

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