Frequently Asked Questions


Yes, as of this year, we require that all schools receiving project funding must participate in the 2020 Eco Science Challenge, taking place at the Indiana State Museum on April 24, 2020. At the minimum, a small group of Green Team students can create a display about their Thriving Schools Challenge project, but preferably an entire class present on a variety of environmental-related subjects.

Yes, we require that all schools receiving project funding start a Green Team made up of students along with administrators, teachers, staff, and/or parents. However, if your school already has a sustainability/environmentally-focused team, that would count too. The idea behind the Green Team is that we believe students should be leading the process of planning and implementing new projects. A Green Team may be a classroom or a multi-age student/teacher/parent group, and they can meet either during or after school.

You can sign up as many champions as you’d like. However, the stipend will be a total of up to $1,000 depending on the complexity and duration of selected projects. This total stipend could be divided and shared among the champions, but that would be up to you and your school.


If you would feel most comfortable sending your application by mail or email, please contact us and we will work with you.


This certification will last you the full calendar year of 2020. Fall of next year, you will have the opportunity to reapply for certification and project funding.

No, your school can participate and receive certification by simply demonstrating your existing sustainability initiatives. To do this, you would fill out and submit the “Certificate Only Application.”


You can review all qualifying projects under our Qualifying Project List. If you don’t see a project listed that you think should be considered, please contact us.

Starting this year, we will no longer offer project kits. We did not feel the kits received enough mileage last year to warrant creating new ones. You may request to view a kit from last year, but we do not guarantee the availability of those services.

Yes. In fact, we encourage you and your school to use any and all of your sustainability initiatives to boost you to a higher certification level! To do this, you would fill out and submit the “Certification with Project Funding Application” and outline your new/existing initiatives under Part 4. Be sure to reference the Qualifying Project List and reach out if you are unsure if a project counts.

Maybe! You can apply for funding to expand or improve upon an existing project. You can also apply for funding to sustain an existing project that is currently at risk. If you are unsure if your existing project qualifies, please contact us.

Yes! Even if you are unable to achieve certification, you may still apply for project funding. A lack of existing sustainability initiatives does not disqualify your school from applying for project funding.

The criteria that will guide the selection process will include: High level of involvement of students; Educational component; Environmental impact; Impact to community and families of students; Greatest chance for success; Ability to sustain projects into the future. We will be particularly interested in projects that emphasize energy and/or water savings or projects that illustrate the benefits of circular economy (e.g. cafeteria waste reduction projects).

The number of project funding finalists will be based on the level of interest in the program. Certification recipients and project funding finalists will be notified on November 15, 2019.

No, if you already have secured funds for a new project, you do not need to apply for funding through this program. The project funding we are offering is intended for schools with significant financial need. We want every school in Marion County to have the opportunity to participate in this challenge and become leaders on sustainability.


Perhaps your school has taken on an exceptionally large project. Maybe you’re working with another organization for one of your projects and they function on a different timeline. Whatever the case may be, we will work with your school to make sure the timeline is reasonable and achievable.

That depends! Pre- and post-assessments of impact are not set in stone. We’ll work with each school to set these metrics of impact, which will be highly dependent on the project and what each school can feasibly measure. For waste management, it may simply be to measure the amount of waste before and after. For buildings and energy, they could report their energy usage for 12 months before and 12 months after.