prom closet

St. Andrew’s prom closet embodies the type of sustainability project the city might provide grant funding to: it engages with the environmental, social, and economic aspects of sustainability.

The city of Plano just launched its Sustainable Community Grants competition to help alleviate the burdens of trying to kick off a sustainable project.

Funding for projects ranges from $500 to $2,000. Alex Pharmakis, senior sustainability outreach coordinator for the city of Plano, said there is no age limit and the only parameters are that for-profit entities cannot receive funding. 

Faith-based organizations, homeowners associations, students organizations, nonprofits, schools and anyone in the community who wants to improve sustainability in Plano is eligible. 

The city of Plano is looking for any project that improves the health of the environment, increases equity in the community, increases cultural vibrancy, expands economic opportunities, improves Plano for future generations and conserves natural resources.

In the judging process, Pharmakis explained that the city is not limiting the definition of “sustainable” to matters that are explicitly tied to ecology and environmental health. Pharmakis said any project that can “make Plano better for future generations” could qualify.

“We (also) have to think about the economic aspect and the social aspect that comprise sustainability. We’re really looking for ideas in any of those aspects because sustainability is kind of broad,” Pharmakis said.

Pharmakis explained that projects do not have to be something explicitly and obviously related to sustainability and environmental health as something like recycling or composting. In the past, the city of Plano has given awards to other sustainable ventures, such as the St. Andrew’s Prom Closet. 

“It’s sort of a social aspect, making sure everyone can have a good prom experience but then (they also have) the re-use aspect (and) keeping clothing out of landfills,” Pharmakis said. “You’re improving the environment, but you’re also helping people in the process.”

Pharmakis said any project that understands sustainability as “a balancing act between the environment, people, and the economy,” could be a good candidate for funding.

To apply for Plano’s Sustainable Community Grants, click here.


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