The Acceleration Fund from Second Nature is dedicated to supporting climate action activities by colleges and universities. The 2023 Acceleration Fund will award 10 Catalyst Grants of $10,000 for projects that advance decarbonization, resilience, and/or climate justice initiatives on campus or in your campus community. 

Catalyst Grants are intended to be the “spark” that jumpstarts a nascent project, or the boost needed to build capacity to advance your work on campus or in your community. This funding is unrestricted and can be used for expenditures related to the projects including materials, capacity building, and staffing. 

Applications for Catalyst Grants are closed as of September 8, 2023. Please check back soon to learn about projects from campuses awarded grants!

What can you do with a Catalyst Grant?

Catalyst Grants from the Acceleration Fund can support a wide variety of projects that promote decarbonization, resilience, or climate justice, on campus or in your community. Here are some of our previous Acceleration Fund recipients:

  • The University of California Los Angeles (Los Angeles, California): UCLA’s Acceleration Fund award enabled a partnership housed at the university to work with the LA County Department of Public Health to launch a media campaign to help those most at-risk — low-income communities and BIPOC communities — protect themselves from heat-related illnesses in the face of rising temperatures.
  • Virginia Wesleyan University (Norfolk, Virginia): Thanks to Acceleration funding, Virginia Wesleyan University interns worked closely with the Elizabeth River Project to promote environmental justice, increase energy efficiency, and reduce tidal flooding issues.
  • Agnes Scott College (Decatur, Georgia): Support from the Acceleration Fund allowed Agnes Scott College to focus intentionally on completing its ambitious Climate Resilience Plan in partnership with the City of Decatur.

The Acceleration Fund allowed us to prioritize the completion of our Climate Resilience Plan and enhance our relationships with the city and the surrounding community. We’ve seen so much success and have been able to be more intentional with our resources and provide impact where it is needed most.

Kimberly Reeves, Agnes Scott College, Center for Sustainability

Who’s eligible for a Catalyst Grant?

  • Active members of the Climate Leadership Network or the University Climate Change Coalition (UC3) can apply. Contact Steve Muzzy to learn more about membership.  
  • Preference will be given to schools that have been traditionally underfunded or with more modest endowments.

Why apply for a Catalyst Grant?

  • These $10,000 grants are unrestricted — you can use them for materials, capacity building, or staffing.
  • Get recognition for your climate action work through Second Nature, including a press release, website updates, emails, and social media announcements.
  • Get an opportunity to present on your project in a Next Level Conversation at the 2024 Higher Education Climate Leadership Summit, February 11-13, 2024 in Long Beach, CA.
  • Share your project’s success during a webinar with other Catalyst Grant winners.

Find more information in the Acceleration Fund Catalyst Grant FAQ, or contact Joelle Geisler-Haley.