Sustainable Elgin Community Grant

Sustainable Elgin Grant header image

Sustainable Elgin Community Grant Application

The goal of the Sustainable Elgin Community Grant Program is to provide funding to assist non-profit organizations, businesses, institutions, associations or individuals in implementing a project that helps achieve a more sustainable Elgin and includes a component of community education and/or engagement. 


Any group of individuals located within the Elgin corporate limits is eligible to apply. “Group” can refer to a non-profit, business, club, organization, neighborhood association, or a group of individuals, provided one individual is willing to be the primary contact who is responsible for fiscal interactions and measurement of impact. 

Not Eligible for Funding 

  • Permanent additions or improvements to property or construction.
  • Anyone receiving funds directly from the City of Elgin will not be considered for funding.
  • Purchasing permanent equipment or capital expenditures.
  • Operating expenses or existing deficit from a previous year or project.
  • Any project for a church or any sectarian purpose.
  • Any project for a political purpose.
  • Any group receiving money directly from the City Council or payment in-kind agreements.
  • Projects already funded by the City of Elgin or ESC. 

Amount of Grant

Reimbursement grants will be awarded up to a maximum of $1,500 per project or initiative. 

Funding Request Availability & Timeline

All applicants who are approved for funding under this program shall enter into a grant agreement with the City of Elgin. The grant agreement shall be signed and returned to the City of Elgin no later than fifteen (15) days after receipt of the document. The City of Elgin is not responsible for lost or misdelivered mail. Failure to return the grant agreement within that time period will result in loss of the grant award. Payment of approved grant awards will be after full execution of the grant agreement, completion of the project, and the processing of appropriate cash request documents for reimbursement. The Elgin Sustainability Commission will not fund more than 50% of a proposed project. 

The maximum grant request that will be accepted is $1,500. Submission of an application does not guarantee funding. Funding requests can be submitted at any time during the year up to a calendar year deadline of October 31. Applications will be reviewed and approved by the Sustainability Commission. Recipients will be notified of their status within one week of Sustainability Commission approval. 

Funds will be available on a first come, first serve basis. Once all funds are allocated during the calendar year, new funds will not be available for the grant program until the start of the following year.

Grant Project Guidelines

  • Projects must take place within the corporate city limits of Elgin.
  • Applications must be intended for a specific project or program.
  • Only one grant per calendar year per organization will be funded.
  • An organization may act as a fiscal agent only once per year.
  • An organization cannot act as a fiscal agent for another organization that has a 501(c) status.
  • Grantees must provide a 50% match towards the project.
  • Expenditures of grant monies must occur between January 1 - December 31.
  • It is the responsibility of the grant recipient to complete any and all necessary permits or applications to the City of Elgin.
  • Grantees must address at least one focus area of the Elgin Sustainability Action Plan or the Metropolitan Mayor’s Caucus Greenest Region Compact.
  • Grant must include a community education and/or engagement component.
  • Grantees must acknowledge Elgin Sustainability Commission and City of Elgin in all promotional materials, publicity and informational materials used. The Sustainability Commission and City of Elgin logo must be on all appropriate materials for funded project.
  • Grantees must present a final written report in person to the Elgin Sustainability Commission at a regularly scheduled meeting within 60 days of the completed project, along with an oral report on the outcome of the project. The written report must be submitted 1 week prior to regularly scheduled ESC meeting of the month. Failure to submit a timely report will jeopardize future funding. Reports may be submitted to Staff Liaison, Mikala Larson (
  • Changes to a project once a grant has been awarded will necessitate a formal written request as well as a revised budget.

Grant Criteria  

The ESC reviews and evaluates each application based upon the following criteria. These criteria may not apply to every application, and do not represent the only means of evaluation.

  • Does the project address at least one of the focus areas in the Elgin Sustainability Action Plan or the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus' Greenest Region Compact 2?
  • Proposals must target, at a minimum, residents, neighborhoods or businesses located in Elgin. Preference may be given for projects that target traditionally unengaged populations. 

Grant Scoring

The ESC will score all grant applications. Successful applicants demonstrate strong management, innovation, environmental impact, community education, and financial feasibility. A total of 21 points are available during the scoring process. A minimum 15 points are required to recommend grant awardment.

Reimbursement Method

Grant recipients will be reimbursed for approved expenses following the completion of the project, subject to compliance with the provisions of the grant application, guidelines, and agreement. All receipts and a copy of the required project report must be submitted in order to receive the final payment. Inability to pay for all reimbursable expenses should not be a barrier to applying, and the Commission will work with recipients to identify alternatives. 

Required Measurement of Impact/Success

The Sustainability Commission wants to share your successes and lessons learned with others. One of the requirements of this program is measurement of the impact of your project. Recipients will be required to complete a project report before receiving their final grant reimbursement.

In addition to the required reporting metrics, applicants are encouraged to define their own measure of success in question #6 of the application. You can tell your story through numbers, stories, photos, or video. This could mean calculating the greenhouse gases avoided when individuals biked instead of driving their cars to an event or asking attendees at an event to complete a pre- and post- survey to identify increased knowledge on a topic. The Commission can guide you to determine what information to collect. Final reimbursement will not be made until this information has been received. Let us know if you would like assistance in measuring your impact. 

Sustainable Elgin Community Grant Program Scoring Rubric - Downloadable PDF

1. Project Summary: Maximum 5 points

Project is clearly defined, addresses a community need and is achievable.

Timeline and work plan is detailed enough to produce the proposed deliverables.

Project aligns to at least one of the identified goals of the Elgin Sustainability Commission.
Project proposal is either clearly defined, addresses a need in the community, or is achievable but not all three.

Timeline and/or work plan leave some questions about project deliverables, or ability to implement the project.

Project aligns to at least one of the identified goals of the Elgin Sustainability commission.
Proposal needs some additional work to ensure that it is clearly defined, addresses a community need and is achievable.Proposal does not provide a project summary.

Project Feedback:

2. Project addresses diversity, equity and inclusion: Maximum 5 points

Project clearly demonstrates specific efforts to include the following concepts in planning and execution.



Project includes some combination of the following:



This project does not adequately demonstrate effort to include diverse voices in the planning stage.

There is no plan to market specifically to include diverse groups in project execution.
Proposal did not address diversity, equity and inclusion.
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Feedback:

Contact Information

Completed applications should be completed at the link below. For more information or to ask any questions, please contact Sustainability Commission liaison, Mikala Larson, at or 847-931-5615.

Fill out and submit Sustainable Elgin Community Grant Application

Fill out and submit Final Report and Financial Statement

What is the Elgin Sustainability Commission?

In 2010, working groups comprised of local residents and advocacy groups assembled to recommend goals and action-oriented steps to create a more sustainable Elgin. The City of Elgin Sustainability Action Plan was adopted in 2011. A sustainable Elgin is defined as, 

Sustainability for Elgin, Illinois is a movement that complements community values to foster a cooperative spirit and reward efficient use of all resources locally, regionally and globally; accomplished by incorporating the social, economic and environmental objectives of our citizens into our policy, development and culture. 

Elgin’s sustainability movement is guided by the following principles:

  • To create a self-sustaining community.
  • To ensure that future generations can enjoy at least the same natural resources that we do.
  • To preserve, minimize and restore.
  • To accept that we are one species among many.
  • To evaluate current practices and policies to lessen our environmental footprint.

For more about the sustainability movement in Elgin view the City's Sustainability Action Plan as well as the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus' Greenest Region Compact 2.

Since the adoption of the Sustainability Action Plan, numerous community-led initiatives have helped Elgin to move toward its sustainability goals, including programs and projects led by the public and private sectors and actions taking place in individual homes and businesses.