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Building in Good Faith - Green Building Resource for Religious Institutions

Fundraising Green Dollars: Making the Case for Building Green - 5

Researching Funding for Green Building

The most common question we are asked about green building is whether we can recommend sources for grants, or funding for these projects. Our response is that grants for individual religious projects are difficult to find, unless a member of your parish, synagogue, mosque or school has a relationship with a foundation or major donor. In short, grants are not a reliable source of support for the vast majority of green building projects.

We also believe strongly that this question reveals the inaccurate belief, which we addressed above, that green building is more expensive than conventional building. As we have stated numerous times, we don't believe this needs to be the case, and we encourage you to avoid cultivating this impression among your members.

With that in mind, here are some recommendations about ways to search for funding for green building projects.

  • Leaders of religious institutions should research subsidies or support programs available from their state Public Utilities Commission, or Board of Public Utilities. These agencies often have support programs for the installation and use of energy-efficient equipment.
  • The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a green building funding section - http://www.epa.gov/greenbuilding/tools/funding.htm. This is probably the best informational resource on a range of funding sources for green building projects.
  • The Green Building Pages has the following resource pages on funding -http://www.greenbuildingpages.com/links/weblinks_fund.html
  • Here is a link to the Green Building Alliance and their funding resources page - http://www.gbapgh.org/Funding_for_Green_Building.asp
  • The Home Depot Foundation and the Blue Moon Foundation both do some grantmaking for green building, as does the Kresge Foundation. However, these are extraordinarily competitive and, in Home Depot's case, not available to religious groups but only to affordable housing groups. We hesitate to encourage religious institutions in the direction of these foundations, though they often show up in Google searches on the topic of funding for green building.
  • The Union of Reform Judaism has created the following resource page for researching funding for green building: http://urj.org/green/building/funding/.

When it comes to fundraising, be bold, be brave and be persistent. Though you will experience "down" moments when expectations are not met, you will also experience moments of lasting joy when a donor commits to your project beyond your expectations. You will remember and treasure such moments all your life - all the more if your project provides important environmental leadership.

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