Sustainable Funding: The Ahimsa Guide to Getting Grant Money for Sustainability

By Dr. Manasa Mantravadi



Time to Read: 8 min

In today’s world, sustainability is more than a goal. It's essential for our planet's future. Recognizing this need, sustainability grants are a highly important form of support for eco-friendly projects. These grants are not just funds; they represent a global commitment to a greener future. They aid a variety of initiatives, from waste reduction to renewable energy adoption, enabling organizations and communities to make significant environmental impacts.

This guide will explain the essentials of sustainability grants. It's tailored for anyone eager to support the environment, from nonprofits to educational institutions. Discovering and utilizing these grants can transform your green initiatives into impactful realities. Let’s explore how to harness these opportunities, making strides towards a sustainable world together.

About Ahimsa

Founded by a pediatrician and mom of three

Stainless steel is the only kid-friendly material recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics 

We are guided by a Scientific Advisory Council comprised of environmental and medical experts, guiding us in creating the safest products, following the latest science and promoting policy to protect human health and our planet

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Finding and Applying for Sustainable Funding + Grants

Successfully finding the right sustainability grants for your projects and initiatives requires a keen understanding of where to look and how to effectively apply.

Where to Look for Sustainability Grants

There are a wide variety of sources that offer sustainability grants, including government agencies, private foundations, and corporate sponsors. Many of these grants are listed on dedicated environmental and governmental websites, which provide databases and application details. Social media platforms and sustainability networks can also be valuable resources for discovering grant opportunities. Subscribing to newsletters from organizations focused on sustainability can keep you informed about upcoming grants and deadlines.

Applying for Sustainability Grants

Once you've identified potential grants, the application process begins. This involves several key steps:

Understand the Grant's Objectives

Begin by thoroughly researching the grant you're applying for. Understand its goals, criteria, and the type of projects it supports. This knowledge will help you align your application with the grantor's objectives, demonstrating how your project contributes to their vision of sustainability.

Articulate Your Project Clearly

Your application should clearly describe your project, including its goals, implementation plan, and expected outcomes. Make sure you articulate why your project is important, how it addresses specific environmental issues, and the difference it will make. A compelling narrative can capture the grantor's interest and distinguish your application from others.

Showcase the Environmental Impact

Highlight your project's environmental benefits, using data and research to support your claims. Whether it's reducing waste, conserving water, or lowering carbon emissions, demonstrate how your project will have a tangible impact on sustainability. Quantifiable metrics can significantly strengthen your application.

Detail Your Implementation Plan

Provide a detailed plan for how you will use the grant funds to achieve your project goals. Include timelines, milestones, and key activities. This section should convey your project's feasibility and your commitment to making it a success.

Prepare a Strong Budget Proposal

Your budget proposal should clearly outline how you will allocate the grant funds. Be realistic and transparent about your costs, ensuring they align with the project's scope and goals. A well-prepared budget demonstrates your project's financial viability and your ability to manage funds effectively.

Proofread and Review Your Application

Before submitting, thoroughly review your application for clarity, coherence, and completeness. Ensure it meets all the grant's requirements and deadlines. A well-prepared, error-free application reflects your professionalism and dedication to your project.

Applying for sustainability grants can be a competitive process, but with careful preparation and a strong proposal, your project can secure the funding it needs to thrive.

Highlighting Zero Waste Grants

Zero waste grants play an essential role in funding sustainability efforts, particularly those aimed at reducing waste through recycling, reuse, and education. These grants support projects dedicated to making a real difference in our environmental footprint.

ReThink Disposable is a standout example of how zero-waste grants can support meaningful change. This initiative focuses on encouraging businesses and communities to shift away from single-use items by providing them with resources, tools, and funding to implement reusable solutions. The program helps reduce waste and serves as an educational platform to raise awareness about the environmental impacts of single-use products.

Massachusetts takes a similar approach with its zero waste grant program, designed to support short-term projects promoting waste reduction. These grants are particularly aimed at innovative projects that can demonstrate a clear impact in terms of waste diversion and reduction. 

With applications due in May, this is a prime opportunity for local organizations and community groups in Massachusetts to secure funding to kick-start or expand their waste reduction efforts. Applicants are encouraged to present projects that align with the state's sustainability goals and offer scalable, replicable models for waste reduction.

Plastic Free Restaurants offers a subsidy to any school in the United States looking to replace single use plastics such as styrofoam and single use that contains PFAS. The Rhode Island Department of Education empowers schools to reduce their carbon footprints through their Get the Foam Out! initiative.

All of these programs exemplify the targeted approach that zero-waste grants take toward sustainability. By providing financial support and resources, these grants enable projects to implement practical solutions to waste challenges, making a tangible difference in the community's environmental health. 

Success Studies in Pioneering Sustainability

San Francisco Music Venues Take the Lead

The Warfield, August Hall, and The Fillmore, three iconic San Francisco music venues, made it a mission to reduce single-use plastic waste by switching to reusable cups. This initiative, supported by the San Francisco Environment Department and Clean Water Fund's ReThink Disposable program, represented a significant step towards reducing plastic pollution and is a shining example of the economic viability of sustainable practices.

  • The Warfield led the charge in May 2023, eliminating 57,000 single-use cups in just six months. By implementing a 3% sustainability fee on drinks served in reusable cups, The Warfield turned an eco-friendly initiative into a profitable venture, with projected annual net earnings of $33,000.
  • August Hall followed suit. Their switch to reusable cups resulted in annual savings of $29,700 and the elimination of 232,000 single-use cups, underscoring the environmental and economic benefits of sustainable practices.
  • The Fillmore also made significant strides by introducing reusable cups. While facing a slight increase in costs due to the higher price of reusable cups, the venue achieved a net annual savings of $1,400 through reduced refuse hauling needs, illustrating the long-term financial benefits of reducing waste.

USF Market Café: A Campus-wide Commitment to Sustainability

The University of San Francisco's Market Café, in partnership with ReThink Disposable, has successfully reduced its reliance on single-use items, showcasing how sustainability can be integrated into institutional dining services. By prioritizing the elimination of single-use items, the café significantly reduced waste, serving as a beacon of sustainability that other academic institutions can emulate.

Towards a Greener Tomorrow

We hope this guide will inspire and empower you to seek sustainability grants for your projects. We've seen the tangible impact of funded sustainability initiatives through examples like San Francisco's music venues and the USF Market Café. Armed with knowledge and motivation, you can achieve meaningful changes, contributing to a more sustainable world for future generations.

Shop Ahimsa today for plates and more. 

Dr. Manasa Mantravadi

Dr. Manasa Mantravadi

Dr. Manasa Mantravadi is a board-certified pediatrician whose dedication to children’s health drove her to launch Ahimsa, the world's first colorful stainless steel dishes for kids. She was motivated by the American Academy of Pediatrics’ findings on harmful chemicals in plastic affecting children's well-being. Ahimsa has gained widespread recognition and been featured in media outlets such as Parents Magazine, the Today Show, The Oprah Magazine, and more.

Dr. Mantravadi received the esteemed “Physician Mentor of the Year” award at Indiana University School of Medicine in 2019. She was also named a Forbes Next 1000 Entrepreneur in 2021, with her inspiring story showcased on Good Morning America. She serves on the Council for Environmental Health and Climate Change and the Council for School Health at The American Academy of Pediatrics. She represents Ahimsa as a U.S. industry stakeholder on the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) for the Global Plastics Treaty, led by the United Nations Environment Program. Dr. Mantravadi leads Ahimsa's social impact program, The Conscious Cafeteria Project, to reduce carbon emissions and safeguard student health as part of a national pilot of the Clinton Global Initiative.

She is dedicated to educating and empowering people to make healthier, more environmentally friendly choices at mealtime. Her mission remains to advocate for the health of all children and the one planet we will leave behind for them through real policy change within our food system.

Sustainable Mealtime Essentials

Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I use stainless steel instead of plastic? Is stainless steel better for health?

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released a report in July 2018 suggesting ways that families can limit exposure to certain chemicals at mealtime, including “the use of alternatives to plastic, such as glass or stainless steel, when possible.” The report explained that “…some additives are put directly in foods, while “indirect” additives may include chemicals from plastic, glues, dyes, paper, cardboard”. Further, “Children are more sensitive to chemical exposures because they eat and drink more, relative to body weight, than adults do, and are still growing and developing.” While stainless steel items meet the recommendation to avoid plastic products in children, Ahimsa® products have the obvious advantage of not breaking like glass.

Is stainless steel better for the environment than plastic?

According to the Steel Recycling Institute, steel can be recycled over and over and over again without losing its integrity and requires less energy to recycle than to make anew. Most plastic unfortunately ends up in landfills and it is estimated to take 700 years to decompose. Our special coloring process that allows Ahimsa® products to be fully metal is environmentally friendly, so it does not produce toxic run-off into the ecosystem.

Will Ahimsa products break or peel?

No. Our steel is durable, so it won’t break or shatter with everyday use, like glass. And it won’t peel, like other colored stainless steel products you’ve seen. We use a special process that allows the colors to naturally occur in the metal.

Which Ahimsa products are best for my little one(s)?

Our products are meant to last, you can use Ahimsa at ages 1, 8 and 18! We thoughtfully design our products to be safe for little ones and our planet while reducing consumption. Once your child outgrows the Starting Solids Set  and can use regular cups and utensils, the training cup is the perfect size rinse cup in the bathroom, the infant spoon doubles as a tea stirrer and the bowl is great for snacks or as an additional compartment to our modular divided plate. Our plates are great for any age as they encourage choosing a variety of healthy foods at each meal and help visualize portion sizes easily. It’s the lasting beauty of stainless steel - grows with your child and reduces waste.

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