Apply for a grant
Metro is accepting applications for grants for projects and programs to prevent and reduce waste.
Applications close on Sept. 30, 2020.
Metro is launching the application cycle for the third round of Investment and Innovation grants. These grants aim to support creative ideas to prevent and reduce waste.
The Metro Council created the Investment and Innovation program in 2017 to assist local businesses and nonprofit organizations involved in reducing the environmental impacts of products produced, consumed and discarded in the region.
Local organizations and businesses can reduce waste by repairing, reusing, recycling, composting or making clean energy from items rather than throwing them away.
The garbage and recycling system in greater Portland generates more than $537 million in economic activity each year. But, the benefits of this system have not been distributed equally.
The Investment and Innovation program seeks to foster economic opportunities and other benefits for people who have historically been negatively impacted by the garbage and recycling system, particularly communities of color.
“Community based organizations or businesses might have a great idea to prevent and reduce waste that they cannot tackle alone – especially right now during a global pandemic,” said Metro Councilor Shirley Craddick. “The Investment and Innovation program is a crucial way to foster improvements to the system while also supporting BIPOC communities and organizations with racial equity plans.”
This year, Metro expects to award up to $500,000 total in grants that can support personnel costs, operations and equipment. Grants between $10,000 and $50,000 each will be available to nonprofits and local businesses through a competitive application process.
Proposals are due by 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 30, with grant awards announced at the end of November.
Last year, Metro awarded nearly $6 million for a variety of projects. A previous grant made improvements to facilities that sort materials for recycling. Another grant focused on efforts to rescue edible food that would have been thrown away and instead redistributed it to people in need.
Eco-School Network used their Investment and Innovation grant to support the efforts of parent leaders who piloted a variety of school-based programs to decrease waste – from recycling milk cartons and plastic bags, to separating cafeteria food waste, to hosting swaps of all sorts.
“We had no idea how much waste we had reduced until the end,” says Amy Higgs, executive director of the organization. “These parents were really surprised by the final numbers.” Their projects, spanning 49 schools in four districts, diverted at least 315, 000 gallons of waste from landfill over the course of one school year.
The 2020 grant cycle will include changes to make the application process easier and more accessible:
- Nonprofit applicants will not be required to secure matching funds if they are awarded a grant.
- Business applicants will be required to demonstrate a 20 percent match, however there is new flexibility with how they can meet this requirement.
- Funding will now be disbursed on an accelerated schedule, as opposed to the reimbursement approach of past grants.
Metro is hosting an information session webinar on August 10 to review the grant proposal requirements and provide an opportunity to ask questions, and an opportunity for virtual one-on-one sessions with grant staff on August 24. Advance registration for both dates is required.
Attendance at the workshop and one-on-one session is optional and not a prerequisite for application. The information session recording and resources will be posted on the Investment and Innovation web page.
Due to the financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a limited amount of funding available this year. Metro will not award capital grants in the 2020 grant cycle.