Propose your solution to reduce greenhouse gases in the U.S. by 2030.

Thank you for participating in the 2030 Climate Challenge.

We recommend reading all requirements for this application before you begin. We encourage you to review the Scoring Rubric that will be used to assess all valid applications. Applications must be submitted in English. Portions of your applications may be published online and will be shared with others during the evaluation process. These include, but are not limited to, Organization Name, Proposal Title, Project Description, Executive Summary, and Video Presentation.

Be sure to review your application as it will appear after it’s been submitted (link at the bottom of the page) and confirm that your changes have been saved. When you have completed all of the requirements, a message will be displayed on the screen. At that point, you can submit your final application. Once you have submitted the application, you will no longer be able to make changes.

You must submit your application no later than Thursday, August 20, 2020, at 5:00 PM Pacific.


This is your opportunity to make a strong first impression. Offer a brief and compelling overview of your proposal. Avoid using jargon or language that a layperson may not understand. The information in this section is likely to be made publicly available in a variety of online settings. 

Project Title (10 words)
Provide the title of your project. Choose a name which easily identifies your solution and distinguishes it from any other projects.

Project Description (25 words)
Provide a short description for your project in one sentence.

Executive Summary (150 words)
Write a one-paragraph overview of your project that answers the following three questions: 

  • What is a brief description of the problem that you are trying to solve in order to reduce Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions by 2030?
  • How will you solve it?
  • What are your intended outcomes? How will your solution address the lives of the people you wish to serve, including historically marginalized people within that population? 

Your Executive Summary should be a stand-alone statement of the problem and solution. It should not require any other context to clearly explain what you are seeking to accomplish.


You are required to submit a video that captures your project and why it should be funded. The video is an opportunity to showcase your passion and to pitch your story in a succinct format. We want you to share your vision with the judges in a way that is different from the written proposal format. This DOES NOT need to be a professionally produced video.

In order to complete this part of your application, your team will upload a short digital film using YouTube.

Set the Privacy Settings on your video to Public or Unlisted – do not set them to Private.

Your video may be extracted from your submission and made available to the public and other donors. Appeal to a broad audience. Video submissions should follow these guidelines or else it will render the application ineligible: 

  • A length of no more than 90 seconds.
  • Your pitch must be in English, or if in another language, subtitled in English.
  • Your video must be captioned. See these instructions on how to use You Tube automatic captioning.
  • Your video should not contain identifiable children without parental consent.

Here are general suggestions for delivering a high-quality video pitch: 

  • Introduce yourself and your organization(s) and/or team.
  • Describe the problem that you are committed to solving.
  • Explain your solution.
  • Explain what is unique about your solution.
  • Describe how you would you plan to measure success and achieve broad but meaningful impact. 

Paste the full YouTube URL in the box below.


Now that you’ve provided a brief overview of your project, focus on the talent and management of your team. 

Principal Organization

During registration, you identified the Principal Organization responsible for receiving and taking accountability for any grant funds, as well as providing the direction, control, and supervision for the project. If the Principal Organization has changed, please Edit Registration Form from the Profile menu to update this information.

Principal Organization Website or Social Media Page (5 words)

What is the URL of the website or social media page of choice for the Principal Organization? If your Principal Organization does not have a website or social media page, insert “Not Applicable.”

Project Website or Social Media Page (5 words)

Provide us with a URL to your project website or social media page of choice if one exists. Having a project website or preferred social media page is not a requirement for the competition and will not impact your eligibility. If you have not created a project website or a social media page, insert “Not Applicable.“

Primary Area of Expertise for the Principal Organization

Please select the primary area of expertise for the Principal Organization. 

Team Collaboration

Does your team consist of two or more organizations with an executed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) (signed and dated by all parties, including the lead organization submitting this proposal)? 

  • Team consists of two or more organizations but there is not an executed (signed and dated) MOU
  • Team consists of two or more organizations and has an executed (signed and dated) MOU
  • Team does not consist of two or more organizations


If your team consists of two or more organizations, please list them using the legal name of each partner. If your team does not consist of two or more partners, please enter “Not Applicable.”

Key Partner #1:
Key Partner #2:
Key Partner #3:
Key Partner #4:
Key Partner #5:

Why Your Team (250 words)

Describe your team’s leadership, its members, and its collaborators or partners. If relevant, include details about how and why the collaboration was formed. Explain how your team is uniquely positioned to deliver results and why you are the best choice to solve this problem. Emphasize that you have the right capabilities, experience, and commitment to execute your project.

Biographies of Key Staff

For each of the top three managers responsible for success of the project, please provide a name (First/Last), organization the manager is affiliated to, and a brief biographical statement of up to 100 words. The biographical statement should include the title for the manager and emphasize those credentials and experiences which are most relevant to the project.


This section provides the opportunity for you to more fully explain the challenge you intend to solve and show that you understand the nuances of the challenge that have informed your strategy.

Project Focus

You are required to identify one (or more) of the following three sectors which represent(s) the focus of your solution.  For some teams the focus of your solution may address key challenges within more than one of these options; so, while you may select as many of these options as apply, we encourage you to narrow your attention to the most relevant sector. 

      • Buildings
      • Industry
      • Transportation

Challenge Statement (250 words)

Describe the specific challenges that your solution will address in order to reduce GHG emissions by 2030, using non-expert language. Focus on setting the stage for your solution (versus describing how you intend to solve it) and discuss who is impacted by the problem and why the problem exists.

  • Who is impacted by the problem or challenges identified?
  • Why does the problem exist in the current environment?
  • What are the most influential ways to affect the necessary change, and where are the leverage points where the smallest change can have the biggest impact?


This section provides the opportunity for you to explain more fully how you to intend to solve the challenge you have outlined above. 

Solution Overview (250 words)

Describe what your solution is or does, how it meaningfully contributes to solving the problem, and the short and long-term impact that your solution will have on the reduction of GHG emissions by 2030.

  • Describe who will benefit from your intervention and the benefits or outcomes of your intervention.
  • How does your solution meaningfully contribute to resolving the chosen problem?
  • How will you know that you are making progress?
  • Describe the impact that your solution will have on the chosen problem over a five (5) year grant period. Will it have broad impact on a large population or geography, or will it have deep and intense impact on a small population or geography?

Stakeholder Engagement (150 words)

Describe which stakeholders you have engaged in the design of your solution and how you will continue to engage relevant decision-makers, beneficiaries, and other stakeholders at different levels—whether local, state, or federal—to ensure your solution successfully achieves measurable GHG emission reductions. Please identify any relevant stakeholders that you do not plan to engage and the rationale behind your decision.

Priority Populations

Select your priority population(s) as the primary beneficiaries for your solution. You must select at least one priority population, and you are welcome to provide up to three.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (250 words)

Compelling proposals will fully demonstrate a commitment to the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Not only do we expect teams to be thoughtful about working with a range of beneficiaries, but we also expect teams to think carefully about how to actively plan for and include the most marginalized and/or vulnerable from within those populations in solutions design, program planning, and ongoing work. Explain how you will ensure, or have ensured, that the design and implementation of your solution authentically embraces diversity, equity, and inclusion across all aspects, including persons with disabilities, religious or ethnic minorities, people of color, native/Indigenous peoples, women, gender identity and sexual orientation. Provide additional details on how you will provide opportunities and reasonable accommodations for those populations to either engage with and/or benefit from your solution, including as staff, advisors, partners, et al.


We will use primary subject area, locations of current work, and key words to tag your project in a searchable database, making it possible for other funders to identify projects they might find interesting to support.

Primary Subject Area

Select the primary subject area of the solution that you and your team are proposing.

Key Words and Phrases (5 words)

Provide a list of up to 5 key words or phrases that can best be used to describe your project [ex. Social-enterprise, vocation, internship, training]. Choose key words that capture the essence of your project and its intended outcomes. The key words should be different from the selected “primary subject area.”

Location of Current Work

Where are you currently implementing your solution? Select up to five locations that apply. If you are not currently implementing your project, you may select NOT APPLICABLE.

Location of Future Work

Where do you plan to implement your solution if awarded this grant? Select up to five locations that apply. These locations may or may not be the same as the locations where you are currently implementing your solution.


This section provides the opportunity for you to provide evidence that supports your solution. 

Total Projected GHG Emission reduction goal (100 words)

Briefly state and describe the total projected reduction in GHG emissions that your solution will achieve by 2030.

Evidence of Effectiveness (250 words)

What evidence do you have or why do you believe that the solution you propose will work in a way that measurably reduces GHG emission by 2030? Present any internal or formal academic evidence you may have, including any results from complementary or previous work.

Ability to Scale (250 words)

What is the evidence, or why do you believe your results can be replicated or scaled to realize specific GHG emission reductions by 2030? If appropriate, explain whether and how you will need to tailor and adapt your solution for scaling and/or amplifying impact. As you prepare your response, read MSI's Scaling-Up: Tools & Techniques for Practitioners and Scaling-Up: Management Framework for Practitioners.

Timeline and Milestones (250 words)

What is your expected timeline for project completion and what outcomes or milestones will you track to know if you are successful or on track to be successful?

Measurement of Results (250 words)

How do you plan to measure the effectiveness of your proposed project?

Barrier Assessment and Risk Mitigation (150 words)

How will you ensure your initiative is feasible and will work? Describe any barriers to success of the initiative including internal as well as external political, technological, and social factors as well as any unintended consequences, and your plan to address those barriers. Discuss your experience and capacity to manage technical or logistical barriers.

Other Considerations (150 words)

This is your final opportunity to raise any other considerations. Here, you may emphasize or expand upon a previous point or provide new information, as necessary.


Indicate and describe the financial resources required to successfully implement your project.

Total Projected Costs

Share the total cost to implement your team’s project (in US dollars); this can include costs beyond the total amount of the grant. 

Budget Narrative (250 words)

Offer a general overview for how your team would use the $10 million grant, including the projected needs by category. You may include any explanations of existing resources you have already secured. Please explain what portion of the budget, if any, is expected to be spent on capacity building (a perfectly acceptable use of funds) to ensure effective execution on the project. Please also specify what portion of the budget is expected to be spent on measurement and evaluation of results.


Provide specific line items from the budget narrative (above) for your work. To help us understand your priorities, please provide a detailed budget for how the $10 million (USD) grant would be spent. Please make sure that any funds identified in this table reflect and clarify your general explanations provided in the budget narrative above. Budget should follow these guidelines or risk ineligibility:

  • Your budget must total to $10 million (USD).
  • Your budget must allocate no more than $1 million (USD) to a contingency fund or budget buffer.
  • Your budget must allocate funds to support Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning activities. Typically costs for these activities require anywhere from 5-20% of the total projected total costs. Review our Guidance for Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning for more context.
  • Familiarize yourself with the Indirect Cost Policy and represent how you intend to address any indirect cost categories. Based on recent research of what it takes to create financially stable organizations, LFC uses an indirect cost policy of 25%.
  • Your budget must afford reasonable accommodations to make your project accessible to people with disabilities, as implementors, participants, and beneficiaries. Estimates frequently used for an inclusive (i.e. non-disability-specific) project are 1-3% of administrative costs and 5-7% of program costs. Review this Guidance on Budgeting for Inclusion for more context.


Total Resource Requirements (100 words)

If your total projected costs exceed $10 million (USD), explain how you have secured (or plan to secure) the balance of any necessary funds and provide an overview of how those funds will be used.

If your total projected costs do not exceed $10 million (USD), insert “Not Applicable.”


The following information is required to ensure your compliance with specific legal conditions, which are further explained in the RULES.  

Charitable Purpose (150 words)

What is the charitable purpose of your project? Describe how the public or a subset, which is a charitable class, will benefit from your project. A charitable class must generally be an indefinite number of individuals who are the subject of the charitable purpose and not a limited number of specified individuals. For example, the class can be needy persons within a disadvantaged community but not a specified person in the community, even if the person is disadvantaged. There can be a comparatively small number of individuals, if the individuals are not identified and the class is open ended. Learn more about Charitable Purpose by watching this webinar on Common Legal Challenges for applicants.

Private Benefit (150 words)

Will private interests (such as shareholders, for-profit companies, contractors, consultants, or other individuals) benefit more than incidentally from the project as compared to the public or charitable benefit?

If your project will trigger any private benefit to one or more individuals, provide an explanation of how the public benefit cannot be achieved without necessarily benefiting those individuals and to what degree any private benefit compares to public benefit. It is insufficient to say that benefits gained will be due to all of humanity benefitting. Learn more about private benefits by watching this webinar on Common Legal Challenges for applicants and by reading our Private Benefit Rules.

If your project will not benefit any private interests, provide an explanation of your response.

Intellectual Property

Should your application be selected as a Finalist, you will be asked describe how you intend to treat such intellectual property to comply with the RULES. If your project relies on existing specific technology, products, ideas, or processes on which there are existing claims of copyright or patent right, review our Intellectual Property Policy, which describes the treatment of Grant Work Product (as defined therein) funded by the MacArthur Foundation.

Does your project involve the creation or use of any technology or other products, ideas, or processes on which copyright will be asserted or patents claimed

  • Yes
  • No


In this section, please provide additional information about the Principal Organization. Before answering, use the Organizational Readiness Tool to understand your ability to be competitive according to the size of your annual operating budget.

Employer Identification Number (EIN)

Enter your Employer Identification Number.

Annual Operating Budget

What is the annual operating budget in United States Dollars (USD) of the Principal Organization?

  • Less than $1 Million
  • $1.0 to 5.0 Million
  • $5.1 to 10 Million
  • $10.1 to 25 Million
  • $25.1 to 50 Million
  • $50.1 to 100 Million
  • $100.1 to 500 Million
  • $500.1 Million to $1 Billion
  • $1 Billion +

Number of Employees

How many full-time employees does the Principal Organization employ?

  • Fewer than 10 Full-time Employees
  • 10 to 25 Full-time Employees
  • 26 to 50 Full-time Employees
  • 51 to 100 Full-time Employees
  • 101 to 300 Full-time Employees
  • 301 to 500 Full-time Employees
  • 501 to 1,000 Full-time Employees
  • 1,000+ Full-time Employees


If your team is invited to participate in any future phases of this competition, you may be required to provide additional information (refer to the RULES and Timeline), including but not limited to:

  • Audited financials
  • Articles of Incorporation, Charter, or similar documentation.
  • A more comprehensive Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning Plan for the project.
  • Existing policies, if any, addressing conflicts of interest, whistleblower, internal controls, anti-money laundering, intellectual property, human subjects research, code of conduct, ethics, gifts, and any similar policies governing the organization

Lever for Change reserves the right to perform background checks on key individuals associated with the project, and the refusal by the key individuals to provide necessary authorizations will give reason to reject any application for further consideration. Background information and the results of any background checks will be kept confidential.

Are you ready to be part of the climate solution?

Join us in reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the buildings, industry, and/or transportation sectors in the U.S. by 2030. Submissions have closed.