Back to Solutions Center

Revolving Funds

Category: Business Practices, Revolving Funds

A revolving fund is used to create the financial means for implementing sustainable education, research, operations, planning, administration, and engagement. It represents one of the many financial mechanisms utilized by campus sustainability projects. The green fund model is a proven strategy that has raised sustainable efforts on campuses. It requires an initial capital investment to begin, with a larger investment leading to more ambitious projects with potential for smaller timeframes for the return on investments. Revolving funds range in size from tens of thousands to multi-million-dollar annual budgets. These funds are often managed by student-only groups or special committees that can include students, faculty and staff. Energy management teams also use this concept as part of Strategic Energy Management.

Benefits

  • Provides a funding source to implement ideas generated by students, faculty and staff.
  • Hands-on opportunity for student creativity, leadership and entrepreneurship.
  • Visibility, reach and impact of sustainability projects can grow with each re-investment cycle.

Challenges

  • Need to find a source of seed capital.
  • Projects many have uncertain/variable return on investment.
  • May require long-term staffing as student leaders graduate.

Impacts

  • GHG Impact

    Moderate

    Projects funded are typically pilot-scale.

  • Economic Impact

    Net Savings

    Depends on the initial amount set aside for the fund. Larger amounts of money can yield higher ROIs as sustainability initiatives typically have a high initial cost. 

  • Feasibility

    Doable

    Requires initial investment.

  • Timeline

    1-2 years

  • Maintenance

    Moderate

    A group of students, faculty and/or staff need to oversee funds and grant projects. 

  • Publicity

    Yawn