Frequently Asked Questions


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.


Schools that are Indianapolis Thriving Schools Certified will receive due recognition for their efforts and leadership in sustainability education. They will join a prominent cohort of Marion County schools advancing education in environmental stewardship, health and wellness, and civic engagement. All certified schools will have the option to receive a decal to be placed in the school front, logos to be used on their website or digital communications, and no-idling plates to be posted in the pick up/drop off areas. All certified school names will appear on the Indianapolis Thriving Schools Challenge website. Certified schools will also be invited to a Showcase Event in late 2019, where the champions, students, and school projects will be recognized and celebrated.

This certification will last you the full calendar year of 2019. Fall of next year, you will have the opportunity to reapply for certification and project funding.

All certified schools will receive supporting materials that include: - A decal to display their achievement on the school front - Graphics to use in digital communications and display on school website - No-idling signage to be posted in the pick-up / drop-off locations

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 feel free to reach out to us at

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 reach out to us at

No, the organizations and businesses listed are meant to simply be a resource. We encourage you to do your own research and find organizations and businesses that are the right fit for your project and school.

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; Impact to underserved communities; Greatest chance for success; Ability to sustain projects into the future.

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 October 31st, 2018.

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.


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


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.