What is the aim of the Chicago Sustainability Challenge?
The aim of the Chicago Sustainability Challenge, sponsored by the Microsoft Datacenter Community Development Team, is to support existing groups and individuals (once they form a team) across Chicago to start new projects that improve community wellbeing, ultimately improving the quality of life for community members. Communities choose the project they want to start based on their community’s needs, from a portfolio of select sustainability themed ideas on the ChangeX site. Once the applicant has demonstrated their commitment and ability to start the community project by successfully completing a number of challenges on the ChangeX website, ChangeX will provide funding, information guides and support to give the applicant the best chance of success. In addition, once the applicant has demonstrated the impact the new project is having in their community, they will receive a further installment of funding to support the maintenance of the project. All projects should be managed in an inclusive and welcoming manner.
Opening and Closing Date
The challenge opens for applications on June 5 2019. Registrations will close when the grant funds have been distributed to applicants who have successfully completed the 30 Day Challenge. Please visit our fund website https://www.changex.org/us/funds/chicago-sustainability-challenge/ to confirm whether we are still accepting entries.
Who can apply?
The Chicago Sustainability Challenge is open to existing groups and individuals (once they form a team) across Chicago to start new projects in their community, from the portfolio of ideas on the ChangeX site (https://www.changex.org/us/funds/chicago-sustainability-challenge/), that address environmental issues and improve community wellbeing. Examples of eligible groups include schools, universities, colleges, daycares, churches or other faith-based organizations, hospitals and hospital rehabilitation centers, mental health facilities, community gardens, neighborhood groups, senior citizen centers, community centers and recognized government entities.
What can the fund be used for?
The Chicago Sustainability Challenge is for new projects and can be used to cover direct costs relating to the set-up or maintenance of the new project. For example, funds can be used for space rental, insurance fees, seeds and planting materials, tools, training fees; pretty much any materials you might need to start a new sustainability project that benefits your community.
What can the fund not be used for?
Funds may not be used to promote or engage in criminal acts of violence, terrorism, hate crimes, the destruction of any state, or discrimination on the basis of race, national origin, religion, military and veteran status, disability, sex, age, gender identity or sexual orientation, or support of any entity that engages in these activities. For-profit enterprises or community groups outside of Chicago are not eligible for funding. The fund cannot be used to cover costs of work that has already been carried out and can’t be used for anything that is not related to the set up and maintenance of the new community project. It cannot be used to cover the promotion of religious causes, non- charitable activities, sponsorship or fundraising events. Funds cannot be used as payment to group members for their work on the project.
Reporting Requirements and Funding
In return for any funding you may receive, you are required to share the outcomes of your new project with ChangeX.
The funding allocated to your new project is divided into two stages. The first payment (70% of total funding amount) can be accessed upon successful completion of a 30 Day Challenge on the ChangeX website. During the 30 Day Challenge, several steps that demonstrate the commitment and ability of you or your community group to start the project are taken. These include scheduling a support call with a ChangeX team member; setting up your first team meeting; sharing a photo of your first team meeting and providing a narrative on what you will spend the funding on, your next steps as a group, and how you hope the project will ultimately benefit your community. The second payment (30% of total funding amount) can be accessed once you can show that the new project is active. This is done by providing photos from your project when it is up and running as well as submitting a report on the number of people that are benefitting and the social/environmental impact the project is having in your community.
It is very important that you keep all receipts and records of how any funding you might receive is spent. ChangeX will perform random spot checks on these receipts. If receipts cannot be shown, or the funds are found to have been spent on costs other than those relating to the set-up or maintenance of the new community project, no further funds will be allocated to this project and ChangeX reserves the right to retrieve the funds that have already been distributed. The applicant will be indefinitely ineligible to apply for any subsequent grants through ChangeX.
Each individual or community group is only eligible to submit one application to receive funding. Multiple applications from the same individual or group will result in disqualification from entry. This is because of the large volume of applications we expect; we want as many communities as possible to benefit from this fund.
Family and close contacts of ChangeX employees or of Microsoft are not eligible to apply for funding.
How to apply
Once you have ensured that you meet all of the criteria above, you can then go to the ChangeX webpage of the idea you have chosen and register to start the project in your community. The amount of funding available for your project depends on which idea you chose to start. Funding amount ranges from $500 to $10,000. The amount of funding available per idea can be found on the webpage of each idea. Funding amounts align with the cost of starting each project. The full amount of funding will be allocated to you upon registering. You will be able to access this funding in 2 payments; the first payment (70% of your total funding) is unlocked upon completion of the 30 Day Challenge, and the second (30% of your total funding) once your project outcomes have been demonstrated. If you do not complete the 30 Day Challenge within the allocated time period (30 days from registration), your funding will be reallocated to another group and will not be accessible to you any longer. If you do not report your impact in the allocated time (6 months from registration), the second payment will be reallocated and will no longer be accessible to you.
In order to give you the best chance of success to get your new project active and access your funding, ChangeX will provide you with a number of supports, resources and tools. These include a 5-Step Guide relating to the idea you are starting, a general guide to starting projects in your community, a call with a member of the ChangeX team (which is a mandatory step in completing the 30 Day Challenge), email support, a local webpage to manage your team and previous starter stories to provide information and inspiration.
Where is this funding coming from?
This fund is sponsored by the Microsoft Datacenter Community Development Team. ChangeX is solely responsible for the management of the fund, including the selection of applicants, starter support, fund distribution and impact tracking.
Sharing your project with media or on social
We encourage you to share news about your community project through your local media or on social media in order to find people to join and support your project, or just to share some positive news with your wider community. When talking to media, we kindly ask you to mention the source of the funding for your project. For example, you can say: “The project received funding through the Microsoft Community Challenge, run by ChangeX.” OR “The project has been made possible thanks to funding from Microsoft and support from ChangeX.” On social media, please use the following hashtags when announcing your project: #MicrosoftCommunityChallenge #MicrosoftDCCD
Fund Terms & Conditions
- By submitting an application, you are deemed to have read and accepted the fund guidelines and these terms and conditions. ChangeX.org reserves the right to disqualify any entries which do not comply with the Fund Guidelines and Terms and Conditions.
- In the event that circumstances beyond the reasonable control of ChangeX effect, or could effect, the proper operation of this fund, ChangeX reserves the right to cancel or amend the fund or these terms and conditions at any time but will make every effort to avoid causing undue disappointment to applicants where such action is deemed necessary.
- If you are a successful fund awardee, you agree that ChangeX and Microsoft may use your name, image and location for any reasonable and related promotional purposes. You further agree to participate in any reasonable publicity required by ChangeX or Microsoft.
- Your fund application and any accompanying material submitted to ChangeX (such as group photos) will become the property of ChangeX on receipt.
- By applying to this fund, you:
- Agree that any personal information provided by you with the fund application maybe held and used only by ChangeX and Microsoft to administer the fund and for any other purposes to which you have expressly consented;
- You understand that you may withdraw such consent at any time by contacting ChangeX at [email protected]
- Insofar as is permitted by law, ChangeX will not in any circumstances be responsible or liable to compensate applicants or accept any liability for any loss, damage, personal injury or death occurring as a result of taking part in the fund except where it is caused by the negligence of ChangeX or its employees.
- Nothing in these terms and conditions shall operate to limit or exclude its liability for death or personal injury caused by its negligence or for fraud (including, but not limited to, fraudulent misrepresentation) or for that which cannot lawfully be excluded.
- Nothing in these terms and conditions shall impact the awardee’s statutory rights.
- If any provision of these terms and conditions is held by a competent authority to be invalid or unenforceable, the remaining provisions of these terms and conditions will not be maffected and will remain valid.
- Nothing in these terms and conditions shall confer any rights on any third person owing to the rule of privity of contract.
- These terms and conditions shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of the Republic of Ireland. Any dispute arising under these terms and conditions (whether such disputes or issues are contractual or non-contractual in nature, such as claims in tort, for breach of statute or regulation or otherwise) shall be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of the Republic of Ireland.