Fifth-Round Catalyst Grants Applications are Now Open

We are pleased to announce the fifth round of Catalyst Grants, offering up to $7,500 to support climate action initiatives at colleges and universities. Thanks to the generous support of America Is All In, these unrestricted funds can be used for various expenditures related to your climate action projects, including materials, capacity building, and staffing. The application period opens Thursday, June 20, 2024, and closes Friday, September 6, 2024.

The focus of the 2024 Catalyst Grants is to advance campus projects aligned with the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). Your submitted projects for a Catalyst Grant should have a clear connection to the practices incentivized by the IRA, either on your campus or in partnership with your community, reducing emissions, increasing resilience, preparing students for clean energy careers, and advancing environmental justice.

WHAT’S NEW IN 2024?

We are pleased to announce that we will be awarding a fifth round of the Catalyst Grants. These unrestricted Catalyst Grants of up to $7,500 are intended to be the “spark” that jumpstarts nascent projects. They can also provide a needed boost to build capacity for your work to reduce emissions, increase resilience and advance social equity.

At least one Catalyst Grant will be awarded to an HBCU or Tribal Institution, and at least one Catalyst Grant will be awarded to a Community College

Eligibility Criteria for Catalyst Grant

  • Campuses must be active members of the Climate Leadership Network, including Affiliate members and campuses in the University Climate Change Coalition (UC3) University Clim or an HBCU or Tribal Institution. If you are interested in learning more about membership, please contact Steve Muzzy.  
  • Preference will be given to schools that have been traditionally underfunded or with more modest endowments. 

Catalyst Grant Benefits

  • Unrestricted use of funds to reduce campus emissions, increase resilience, and advance social equity through climate action. 
  • Recognition through a Second Nature press release, website, email lists, and social media channels.
  • Opportunity to present at the 2025 Summit in Washington, DC, and to participate in a webinar with other grant winners.

Frequently Asked Questions

If our school is not a Climate Leadership Network signatory or a University Climate Change Coalition (UC3) member can we still apply for the Catalyst Grants?

Unfortunately, no, unless you are from an HBCU or Tribal Institution. The Catalyst Grants are specifically designed to help advance the climate action goals of colleges and universities that are either a signatory of the Climate Leadership Network, a member of UC3, or an Affiliate member, and up to date with their annual reporting and dues to Second Nature. In an effort to expand access, we are making exceptions for non-member HBCU and/or Tribal Institutions. If you are interested in learning how to join, please contact Steve Muzzy.

Who from the college or university can serve as a primary applicant?

Any staff or faculty affiliated with an eligible college or university can apply for funding as the primary applicant.

What types of projects are eligible, and which will be prioritized?

The funding may be used for new projects, existing program expansion, or implementation. The funding should support climate action initiatives. The application is intended to be uncumbersome and broad in order to support a wide variety of initiatives. The focus of the 2024 Catalyst Grants is to advance campus projects aligned with the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). Your submitted projects for a Catalyst Grant should have a clear connection to the practices incentivized by the IRA, either on your campus or in partnership with your community, reducing emissions, increasing resilience, preparing students for clean energy careers, and advancing environmental justice.

Priority will be placed on funding proposals that clearly articulate how the work advances principles of climate justice and equity. Further emphasis will be placed upon new applicants and colleges/universities with more modest endowments and those that have traditionally been underfunded.

What do we have to do if we receive funding?

If awarded funding, you will need to submit a short interim report at six months, and a final report at the end of the funding year. Also, you will coordinate with Second Nature’s communications team to discuss your plans for sharing with your community the news of the award and its impacts. Second Nature’s communications team can work with your school to seek local/regional publicity for projects and assist with developing materials to market your project.

Can my campus submit a proposal that includes a collaborating organization?

Yes! We encourage collaborative proposals and partner organizations are broadly defined, and may include community-based organizations, non-governmental organizations, city agencies, non-profit organizations, or departmental collaborations.

How will my proposal be reviewed?

Proposals will be evaluated by a Review Committee comprising previous Catalyst Grant recipients, campus representatives and Second Nature staff. 

The criteria for review are

  • Clear articulation of project description including who would be impacted by the funding and what stakeholders are involved
  • How the project incorporates principles of diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice 
  • Clear articulation of how the project leverages applicants’ existing and ongoing climate action activities 
  • Clear articulation of how your campus is investing in this project with matching support, resources, or other contributions 
  • Clear articulation of how the project has a connection to the practices incentivized by the IRA
  • A brief budget justification

Are indirect costs allowed in the budget?

Yes! Indirect costs up to 10% may be included in the budget. 

Can the proposal requesting funding be part of a larger project? 

Yes! Catalyst Grants can be used to support components of a larger project or initiative. 


The 2023 Catalyst Grants awarded 11 Catalyst Grants of $10,000 for projects that advance decarbonization, resilience, and/or climate justice initiatives on campus or in your campus community.  Read the press release.


Still Have Questions? Please contact us!