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How to Apply

Click through the slides below using the arrow keys to follow the steps in the Green Teams Mini-Grant process!

1. Connect with KEEP

Connect with KEEP by submitting the Mini-Grant Idea Form or emailing Heather Phelps at to set up a time for an informal video chat about project ideas. The priority fall deadline for this is October 27 of the current school year. If you aren’t able to apply by the fall deadline, the spring deadline is March 1 of the current school year.

After connecting with KEEP and sharing your project idea, your team can begin to plan your Green Team Mini-Grant Application. Teams can preview the application questions.​

2. School visit with KEEP

KEEP will visit your team either in person or virtually to meet with student team members. Together we will tour your school building or other project location and further refine the project proposal.

3. Measure Baseline

Students will learn to use the tools needed to audit their schools. Using those tools and with support from KEEP, students will analyze data from their school and establish a baseline for whatever the project plans to improve (e.g., waste, energy use, etc.).

Students can also use already-collected data, such as from Renew our Schools, for this step.

4. Project Proposal

Based on the baseline data and audit results, students will develop and submit a project proposal. This must include a budget for how the requested money will be spent and a plan for how the project results will be carried forward over multiple years, even after the project applicants have graduated.

The priority fall application deadline for projects is December 8 of the current academic year. The spring deadline for Mini-Grant applications is March 22.

KEEP Mini-Grants Distributed

KEEP will evaluate the project proposal based on a rubric. To be successful, the proposal must include all the necessary information. 

Once the project is approved, a check will be sent to the school.  If a project is not approved, KEEP staff can provide feedback on how to submit a stronger application next time. 

5. Implement, Evaluate, Celebrate

The students will implement the project with periodic updates to KEEP about how the project is progressing, including photos. At least one member from each group must share about their project at the required virtual session on May 20 at 4 pm.

Once the project is complete, the students will create a written or video report for KEEP on the outcomes and impact of the project, including a second audit of the school to see what changed, if applicable.  For both fall and spring projects, the rough draft is due May 10, and the final report is due May 31 (Or the end of your school year, whichever is sooner).

KEEP will continue to support students interested in further steps, such as using the data collected to advocate t​o school administration for additional changes or developing a case study as a model for other schools. The project should also be reported as part of the Green and Healthy Schools Annual Survey.

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Key Resources

Dates & Deadlines


This year we have two sets of deadlines – fall and spring. We encourage everyone who can to apply in the fall, to give yourself more time to work on your project if your application is approved. If your project isn’t approved, KEEP will give feedback on how to make it better so you can apply again in the spring.

We encourage you to submit your idea form early – especially in spring! After the idea forms are submitted, groups have to meet with KEEP staff and may be required to do an audit of their school to collect baseline data. The longer you have to do that, the easier it will be to get your application written by the deadline, especially given spring break or other school special events.

Fall Deadlines:
Spring Deadlines:
Deadlines for Both Groups:
  • May 10 – Draft of the final report due – for ALL groups
  • May 20 at 4 pm – Project Share-Out event via Zoom – ALL groups required to have at least one person attend
  • May 31 – Final reports due – for ALL groups
A school and neighborhood trash clean-up event organized by environmental interns at Reflo.
Elementary School Learns About Sustainable Agriculture
Oconomowoc Tower Garden Team

Who Should Apply?

Any passionate and committed group of Wisconsin K-12 students!

This can include school clubs, classes, community groups, or any other group of students passionate about the environment and being part of the climate solution. While we especially encourage high school groups to apply, younger students with higher levels of staff support are also welcome to apply. 

Renewable Redwings Sheboygan South Composting Project
NASA Experiment Glen Hills
Escuela Verde Reusable Containers

Types of projects

Each school team has its own goals and knows what motivates its members and what is feasible in their community. KEEP welcomes any project proposal that has the potential to reduce the carbon footprint of a school community. Below are some examples of potential project ideas:

Direct action projects that raise awareness

  • Calculate school carbon footprint and lead information campaign (energy literacy)
  • A light bulb or water fixture exchange (energy efficiency)
  • Waste reduction campaign, e.g. food waste or classroom waste
  • Near-peer mentorship
  • Participate in a renewable energy challenge such as KidWind or attend a sustainability conference

Planning projects

  • Feasibility of renewable energy installation
  • Sustainability policy or resolution
  • Fundraising for a long-term project

Chippewa Falls Green Team First Drone Flight

Mini-Grants In Practice

Check out this article from School News about what Chippewa Falls high schoolers did with their Green Team Mini-Grant: “Student Science Takes Flight: Chippewa Falls high schoolers use a drone-mounted thermal camera to identify heat loss from a school building.”

You can see the full list of Green Team Mini-Grant projects on our Green Team Mini-Grant Storymap. More in-depth descriptions of several projects are in the School News article “Mini Grants. Big Impact. KEEP spotlights students stepping up.

Check out these example Mini-Grant applications from previous student groups! Note that student information has been removed and the application questions have changed slightly since these applications. 

Typical Mini-Grant Proposal Range
Total KEEP Funds Available

How much money is available?

Mini-grant proposal budgets typically range from $300-$700. 

KEEP has $5000 of funding available for the 2023-2024 school year.  Up to $3000 of that funding will be awarded to fall applicants, depending on the number and quality of applicants, with the remaining amount available for spring applicants.

Sheboygan South Renewable Redwings Composting Project
Walden III’s Fork Farms Hydroponics System

Other than money, how does the mini-grant help students?

  • Enhance STEM skills and life-skills
  • Engage in service learning
  • Gain experience applying for and implementing a grant
  • Explore careers in energy management, renewable energy, and environmental conservation
  • Develop the professional networks that can lead to a lifetime of environmental stewardship
  • Gain volume and visibility through statewide partnerships
  • Gain recognition through Green & Healthy Schools Wisconsin
  • Participate in place-based learning

Frequently Asked Questions

In different years – yes. If someone from your school applied for a grant last year, you can apply again for a grant this year. Note that KEEP will give a higher priority to applications from schools that haven’t received much (or any) funding from KEEP before. 

If you apply for a grant in the fall and are denied, you may try again in the spring. KEEP will be happy to give you suggestions on how to improve your grant application. KEEP will not fund multiple grants for the same school during the same school year. 

The grants are only for projects that reduce the school’s carbon footprint, BUT there are a lot of ways to connect projects to a school’s carbon footprint. Be creative! A school garden doesn’t decrease your school’s carbon footprint as directly as turning off the lights does, but it can still make a difference. For example, will you eat the food you grow in the garden? Will you eat the food grown in the garden instead of food grown somewhere else and trucked in? What is the carbon footprint of that transportation which you will avoid?

KEEP can help you brainstorm ideas, but don’t forget that you’ll need to defend your arguments with CO2 emissions calculations, so if it’s something completely unrelated (e.g. building bat houses), it might be better to look for other sources of funding or think of a different project to do for the Mini-Grant. 

This will be a very good topic to research before you write your grant application! The short answer is that it’s how much carbon dioxide (or other greenhouse gases like methane) go into the atmosphere because of your school. This can include direct CO2 emissions (like burning natural gas to heat your school) or indirect CO2 emissions (from the power plant that gives your school electricity or parents driving students to school) or even the manufacturing of things that your school uses.

Check out for more information on the types of carbon emissions an organization can produce. KEEP is most interested in projects that reduce scope 1 emissions, then scope 2, and lastly scope 3 (upstream or downstream). 

Not completely alone! All projects need at least one adult advisor (someone either at the school or part of a registered nonprofit you’re working with) to accept and manage the money. All projects need at least three students working together to apply (But the students don’t need to be in the same grade level, class, club, or any other official organization. You only need to decide to work together on this).

It depends. KEEP would like at least some data and conclusions about the project by the final report due date, but this doesn’t have to be completely “finished” data (for example, “300 carrot seedlings sprouted and we have 27 students who have volunteered to water them over the summer, but they won’t be fully grown and ready to eat in the cafeteria until next fall.”).  However, KEEP is concerned about projects that won’t even be started until the summer or next fall. In that case, KEEP recommends applying for the Mini-Grant the following fall, so there’s time to do the project during the same school year as you apply. If your school administration says that part of the project has to be done during the summer (for example installing new motion sensor switches), please talk to KEEP and we’ll decide on a case-by-case basis. 

If your project requires doing something that someone in your school could say “No” to. Specifically: 

  1. If you want to turn off computers at night, you need a letter of support from your school’s IT person that it’s okay for the computers to be fully off at night instead of asleep and waiting for updates.
  2. If you want to serve food you’ve grown at your school, you need a letter of support from your school nutrition staff saying that they are willing to serve it.  (Serving homegrown food in the cafeteria is legal, but not all cafeteria staff may be aware of that or comfortable with it.  If you get objections, KEEP staff have resources that may help.)
  3. If you want to install something (LED bulbs, motion sensors switches, etc.), you need a letter of support from your school’s facilities staff that they approve the installation.  This should state whether facilities staff will do the installation themselves, or whether someone will need to be hired to do the installation, and if so, what that will cost and whether or not it will be paid for through Mini-Grant funds or some other funding source (in which case tell us what that is).
  4. If you have another idea and you’re unsure if it requires a letter of support, either ask KEEP, or just include the letter – it’s always better to have extra support than not enough support!

No. This is a grant for students. If none of the students in your group have email addresses that can accept outside emails, your teacher/advisor can do the emailing back and forth with KEEP. If necessary, your teacher/advisor can take what you’ve written and copy and paste it into the grant application form. And your teacher/advisor can always give you help and support as you figure out what to write (and so can KEEP!). But the actual text of the grant application should be written by students.

KEEP will decide this on a case-by-case basis. If you’re only a very small amount over, KEEP will still consider your grant application, but we may put it at a lower priority depending on how far it is over. If you need a lot more than $700 to do your project, KEEP will either ask you to rewrite your project to be within our budget, or suggest that you look for a different grant to apply for. 

No. The project has to benefit one or more schools, and the students involved have to be WI K-12 students, but it’s okay if the group got together through a club/organization/program outside of school, and it’s okay to either pick one school to support with your Mini-Grant project or support several schools at the same time. If you want to do a really complicated project involving lots of schools, please talk to KEEP first. 

Possibly. Please talk to KEEP to discuss the details and check whether we have money available

Yes and no. KEEP cannot support a project by just adding money to a large fundraising pileHowever, KEEP can help with specific, “line item” costs related to the project. These have to be specific items or payments that you can write in your budget.

For example, KEEP likes projects related to educating students, so you could develop a project to put up a screen in your school to show how much electricity your solar panels are generating at a given moment. KEEP could help pay for the screen, the installation, and the software programming (plus we have free lessons and training for teachers so they can use this information in their classes!), but we aren’t able to put $700 towards a $60,000 solar array installation bill

Yes, if you have a project advisor or someone else with available money who is comfortable doing so. However, we recommend that you wait to at least find out whether the project is approved or not, or you might end up not being able to be reimbursed if the project isn’t approved.

Have more questions? Email Heather Phelps for more information on Green Teams support.