San Francisco Environment Department

San Francisco Carbon Fund Request for Proposals for Low Carbon Congregations

Grant  RFP Issue Date

Monday, 12/11/17


Final day for questions (via email only)

Friday, 12/22/17

[email protected]

Questions posted on website

Ongoing until 12/27/17

Proposals Due (email only)

No later than 5:00 PM, Tuesday, 1/16/18

[email protected]

Environmental Commission Approval of Awards

 TBD, either at special February meeting or March 27, 2018

Recommended grantees will be notified and should expect to attend meeting


The mission of the San Francisco Department of the Environment is to provide solutions that advance climate protection and enhance quality of life for all San Franciscans. Our environmental vision is expressed simply as “0-50-100 Roots”— we must achieve 0 waste, take at least 50% of our trips sustainably, and use 100% renewable energy while reducing consumption. While those goals are about being less harmful to the planet, our “Roots” goal is about healing the planet by protecting nature’s diversity, planting trees and promoting soil health to absorb carbon and restore natural systems.

The Department recently launched an ambitious agenda to guide us in achieving this vision, ensuring we are meeting the needs of all San Franciscans and providing in-depth programs to neighborhoods throughout the city.  We will 1) Promote Healthy Communities and Ecosystems, 2) Achieve a Carbon-free Future, 3) Strengthen Community Resilience, 4) Eliminate Waste, 5) Amplify Community Action

Since July 2009, San Francisco has levied an innovative carbon fee on municipal airline travel. Revenue generated supports the San Francisco Carbon Fund, which is administered by the Department for local projects that mitigate and sequester carbon emissions and enhance the quality of the environment. It has made investments in biodiesel, urban forest, energy efficiency and greening projects.

Co-benefits of funded projects support the City’s long-term climate and resiliency goals—supporting health and well-being by reducing urban heat island impacts and flooding risks, expanding the production of locally grown food, increasing the walkability of San Francisco neighborhoods, helping small businesses thrive, providing equitable access to green space, restoring biodiversity and amplifying community action and stewardship.

The SF Department of the Environment is releasing a total of $120,000 through the SF Carbon Fund and seeking no more than two (2) community based organizations to help the City’s faith based organizations become Low Carbon Congregations. This work will support the city’s climate and resiliency goals, while also helping these organizations reduce operational expenses and free-up resources for day-to-day programming that supports other city initiatives. 

Low Carbon Congregations

San Francisco’s faith based organizations provide tremendous help to the City by delivering services as diverse as food security; support for seniors, low-income and homeless populations; pre-schools and daycare; workforce development; and community resiliency. They are a trusted voice with a high-touch connection to large numbers of residents, and provide an ideal opportunity to educate the general public about environmental issues and secure their support for taking individual action to reduce their own carbon footprint.

Many congregations are interested in taking action to reduce their environmental impact, however, may lack the staffing and technical capacity to know where they stand in terms of their organization’s greenhouse gas emissions and to access City resources that will reduce their footprint. The grantee(s) will help these Low Carbon Congregations undertake baseline measurement of their emissions, create near and long-term plans to reduce emissions by implementing measurable and permanent carbon reduction projects and activities and securing formal climate commitments from congregations.  Targeted congregations will be selected with input from Department and other city staff based on demographic and geographic considerations, services provided such as food pantries and senior support, ability to serve communities in an emergency, demonstrated commitment to environmental action, etc. The grantee(s) will also help Low Carbon Congregations engage their congregants in taking climate action.

Only 501(c) 3 nonprofit organizations may apply. Non-profit applicants are required to submit proof of non-profit status before funds will be awarded. For-profit businesses may participate as sub-contractors to an eligible organization. Those entities that have existing Department grants will only be considered for funding if current grant-funded projects are on track.

Electronic submissions are required.

Proposals will NOT be accepted after the submission deadline of Tuesday, 1/16/18

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