Schools challenged by years of budget cuts can’t sell enough candy bars, hold enough raffles or tap the generosity of enough local businesses to make up for the loss. But some school districts are finding that the “green” in going green can mean more than environmental sustainability.
Consider that schools nationwide spend about $8 billion yearly on energy, according to the Center for Green Schools, part of the nonprofit U.S. Green Building Council. Energy efficiency can be a way to stretch thin budgets, as well as an opportunity to involve students and enhance environmental awareness.
The potential savings haven’t escaped the notice of the U.S. Department of Education, which in 2011 launched the Green Ribbon Schools awards for schools making the greatest strides in reducing their environmental impact. That year, 30 states received 350 applications from schools, with 78 receiving an award. One winning school in Ohio cut energy costs by $350,000 and energy audits at an Oregon school saved $250 a month, a U.S. News & World Report article said.
For 2012-13, the Department of Education expects 40 states to send nominations, according to the agency’s website.
“The ‘greening” of our schools (is) a growing national movement that now includes thousands of K-12 private, public, and charter schools across the country,” Jim McGrath, director of the Green Schools National Network, wrote in a December 2012 article on the National Association of Elementary School Principals’ website.
Today, schools can’t afford not to go green. In 26 states, school funding was expected to drop again for 2012-13 and in 35 states funding sits below 2008 levels, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
The 2012 fiscal year was the worst for school funding, with 34 states cutting per-pupil funding by a median reduction of 5%, according to the center. With 44% of school district funding coming from the state, those reductions led to the elimination of thousands of teaching and other school jobs.
There were various other impacts for school districts, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities reported, including:
To help offset these funding losses, green schools can cut their energy use and water consumption by up to one-third, the Center for Green Schools noted. That can mean savings of $100,000 in annual operating costs, potentially enough to hire two teachers or purchase 200 computers.
Survey Links Student Achievement to Green Practices
Savings don’t have to come just from building new schools to meet green standards; retrofitting also is an option. For example, two schools in upstate New York installed solar panels and solar water heaters that were expected to bring annual savings of $25,000, Syracuse.com reported.
In addition to cost reductions, the solar power project provides an educational benefit – software allows students to track the amount of electricity the panels produce.
Indeed, a 2012 survey by the University of Colorado Denver found student achievement in science improves when schools introduce eco-friendly practices such as sustainable facilities design and management. The survey included about 100 schools in 28 states.
Green efforts don’t have to be huge projects. Students at a school in Gladstone, New Jersey, play in surrounding woods during recess rather than in a playground as a way to connect with nature.
Recycling efforts are another way to bring environmental lessons into the classroom. An elementary school in Seattle recycles or composts 75% of its waste, while a New Jersey school uses rain collected on site to flush toilets, according to an article on Scholastic.com.
A solid green strategy can grow simultaneously from top and bottom, with policymakers deciding larger issues such as pursuing eco-friendly construction projects while individual administrators and teachers find ways to weave green concepts into the classroom and campus.
New Goal-Tracking and Sustainability Features on FundingFactory.com Help Participants Realize their Goals
ERIE, Pa. (Sept. 6, 2012)— To kick off the 2012-2013 school year, FundingFactory is launching new goal-tracking and sustainability reporting features on FundingFactory.com. Participants in the free fundraising-by-recycling program can sign into their accounts to set a yearly fundraising goal, measure their progress, and share that information with students, parents, community members, and business supporters. In a time of budget shortfalls and escalating costs, the new program features help schools and nonprofits expand their efforts and raise the necessary funds to purchase new technology and equipment.
FundingFactory’s goal-tracking feature makes it easier for participants to achieve fundraising objectives, while having a positive impact on the environment. Through the goal-tracking feature, participants are able to share their goal through a unique public URL, helping them garner more public support to reach their target objective. The website contains a drop-off location and label printing for individuals and businesses that wish to contribute recyclables to support the participating organization. FundingFactory also added sustainability reporting to its rich suite of community outreach tools for participants and business supporters.
The sustainability report allows participants and supporting businesses to view the environmental impact of their recycling efforts through charts and data points. The chart breaks down the qualifying recyclables by type that were prevented from being landfilled. The report also details monthly and yearly carbon emissions reductions, among other data, based on e-waste items recycled. This information reinforces the positive result of the participant’s recycling efforts and helps motivate students, parents, community members and businesses to continue supporting the recycling program. Additionally, businesses can use the reports to inform their corporate responsibility initiatives.
“When thinking about new initiatives for the 2012-2013 school year, we wanted to re-emphasize our commitment to helping participants reach their goals,” said Sean Michaels, president of FundingFactory. “We’ve created new materials, like the goal-tracking and sustainability features to make it easier for participants to set and reach goals. Throughout the year, we plan to launch more innovative tools to help participants communicate and connect with local businesses and other supporters.”
The FundingFactory program is free, and enables schools and nonprofit organizations to exchange electronic waste for cash or points redeemable for new technology and other products. Schools, nonprofit organizations, churches, and other groups can register at www.fundingfactory.com/register.
Since its inception in 1998, FundingFactory has provided more than $31 million in funding to schools and nonprofit organizations across the United States, and saved 30 million pounds of waste from landfills. FundingFactory is a free recycling fundraiser for schools, nonprofits, and charities. Participating organizations can earn points redeemable for cash or products by recycling empty printer cartridges, cell phones and other small electronics from their communities and supporters. FundingFactory is a program of Environmental Reclamation Services, LLC, a Clover Technologies Group company. Headquartered in Erie, Pa., ERS is an R2 “Responsible Recycling”, ISO Certified, Zero Landfill Initiative company with more than 99 percent of its incoming material reused or recycled in 2011.
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Need an easy way to raise money and stay green? Kelly tells you everything you need to know about FundingFactory in only one minute! Watch the video below, and visit our website to get started!
Together, FundingFactory and our participants have made a HUGE impact on the environment by keeping over 40 MILLION LBS. of cartridges and electronics out of landfills. We now offer sustainability reports for each organization, so you can track your impact!
Since ’97, more than 50,000 schools, charities, churches, and clubs in the continental United States have collectively earned over $31 MILLION in cash and rewards through our fundraising-through-recycling program. Our website now makes it easier than ever to set and achieve your fundraising goals!
You COLLECT used printer cartridges, cell phones, and other small electronics, SHIP them to us, and EARN money for organization! Once the items are processed, they’ll show up in your online account!
We accept more than 85% of the cartridges used in today’s market, and now we’ll also pay you for your items even if they’re remanufactured or damaged during shipment!
We have an entire year of contests and promotions! Participants can win iPads, cameras, gift cards, and MUCH more!
We’re 100% FREE! FundingFactory provides you with free collection displays, shipping boxes, labels, posters, flyers, handouts, and everything else you need to get fundraising NOW!
The creative minds at FundingFactory have been researching for the past few weeks to provide you with five new fundraising ideas to cancel out the cliche candy bars and magazine subscriptions. While those can be effective, there are other options that may better suit your organization.
Today, we’ll introduce you to The Top 5 Types of Fundraising in a video,“The Funding Five.”
They can be silent like a Chinese auction, or live like a photography auction. You can even raffle off tickets for the best parking spot at school. One of our facebook fans, Paula G., hosts an Annual Art Auction at her school. Each class creates a unique piece of art that gets sold to the highest bidder. This fundraiser can erupt into a massive bidding war, as many parents vie to own their child’s artwork.
Many schools enjoy channeling competitive energy into fundraising contests between classrooms, grades, or rival schools. The class that collects the most printer cartridges gets or a week of casual dress passes. How about having the student groups get creative by designing shirts surrounding a chosen theme. The most shirts get a pizza party. Diana U., a dedicated FundingFactory participant from Petaluma, CA, puts on a yearly e-waste collection competition between her students. The two highest collecting classes earn an ice cream party at the end of the school year. By providing some sort of special incentive, you will see a noticeable difference in people and their willingness to get involved.
Hold a dinner where students serve the food for their parents and donors, or host a movie day like Ann R. She mentioned on our facebook page that her school transforms into a theater for the students, who pay to watch brand new films, sometimes before they have even had a chance to see them in the theater! Candy and popcorn are also sold for some extra profit. These kinds of events can be fun and very beneficial to your budget with enough participation.
#5 Loyalty Programs
Companies like Box Tops for Education and Labels for Education donate money to organizations when they receive proof of purchase from their products. Escrip also offers such a program, where parents can register their credit and debit cards to rack up points for their school just by shopping as they always have.
BONUS! An Additional Way to Fundraise:
EcoBuddies™ is FundingFactory’s premier recycling curriculum and fundraising program created especially for the preK-5 classroom. Designed by The Education Center, makers of The Mailbox® and Learning® Magazine, EcoBuddies™ curriculum supports greening and fundraising efforts in YOUR classroom! These friendly, colorful e-waste fighting characters help engage students while at the same time help them to understand why recycling helps the planet.
There you have it! Five new fundraising ideas at your school organization We hope that “The Funding 5″ inspired you to toss around some new creative fundraising ideas of your own!
FundingFactory is leaping out of spring and swimming into summer with a new contest for the season!
Every Friday in June, FundingFactory participants will be receiving emails offering clues that will help locate five beach balls containing a secret summer-themed word.
When you solve the clue, begin searching for the beach ball. Once you find the ball, write down the word that you see on it. Repeat this every Friday until June 29th when participants will receive a entry form by email. Collect and write down all five words on the form to qualify for the chance to win a Kindle Fire and a $50 Amazon gift card!
Limit one entry per person, per phone number.