Small grants to support big ideas.
Southeast Sustainability Directors Network (SSDN) members value time to dive deep on issues, to collaborate face to face on complex problems, and to develop authentic relationships. Regional challenges can be solved by direct and personal opportunities to work together and sharing best practices and solutions.
There is often, however, limited funding for additional travel and time for these types of opportunities outside of normal job responsibilities and travel budgets.
SSDN’s Peer Learning Charrettes (PLC) program offer a limited number of small grants to support SSDN members in their desire to share, develop, and learn about specific sustainability or resilience practices that can be spread widely throughout the South.
WHAT IS A CHARRETTE?
In design fields, charrettes are intensive planning and design sessions where designers, citizens, and other stakeholders collaborate on a vision for a design or idea. A charrette may also refer to any collaborative session in which a group drafts a solution to a problem. SSDN’s Peer Learning Charrettes provide a forum for ideas and offer a unique advantage of giving and receiving immediate feedback for members as they sort through problems, educate themselves, design solutions, and engage appropriate stakeholders. Charrettes allow everyone who participates to be mutual creators of the solution.
Participants can use Peer Learning Charrette funds for in-person convenings or “charrettes." SSDN will offer funding to help support travel costs and related activities. Site visits must be conducted by the final deadline and funding is distributed on a reimbursement basis only. See the section on grant distribution below for more information.
PEER LEARNING CHARRETTE PROGRAM GOALS
Building Authentic and Trusting Relationships
To allow members to build trusting relationships among peers working on similar issues.
Intimate Exchange, Coaching, and/or Support
To provide members an opportunity for more face-to-face, intimate, and concentrated peer learning opportunities.
To develop and share new capacities toward problem solving.
Best Practice Dissemination
To collaborate on learning and implementation projects that have the potential to scale implementation throughout the region.
Who is eligible?
Any SSDN member. Minimum participation requirement is two cities or counties. There is no maximum participation limit, but members should be mindful of budget limitations when considering participant lists.
What activities are eligible?
Peer Learning Charrettes can include activities that members can access by application for reimbursement of funds. The types of activities that are supported include:
Intimate peer-led discussions, review, direct mentorship, and/or coaching
Convenings that are focused on exploring solutions, or taking action together, to address a sustainability challenge
All charrettes must be focused on best practice dissemination, where members focus on sharing best practices with the broader network after the charrette is complete.
BASIC PROPOSAL REQUIREMENTS
Identify a “Lead Applicant,” who must be an SSDN member (applicants can be either a primary or secondary member), and who will take responsibility of the implementation of the activity, sign the grant contract, and submit the reports.
Participants must include at least two SSDN members, though non-SSDN members are permitted to participate.
It is preferred that the charrette physically take place in the nine-state southeastern region (in the states of AL, AR, FL, GA, LA ,MS, NC, SC, or TN). If the charrette is not going to take place in one of these states, please state the reason in your proposal.
GRANT SIZE AND USES
Peer Learning Charrettes will not consider proposals with budget requests from SSDN for more than $5,000. The intent of the fund is to support member-to-member exchanges, and generally those costs incurred include travel, lodging, and food. Based on SSDN’s experience, these costs range from $500 to $1,000 per person for up to two nights. While there is only one specific guideline for the amount one can request ($5,000 maximum request amount), SSDN anticipates that activities will generally cost around $2,000 to $3,000 to have a robust convening of four to six members.
A limited amount of the budget can be reserved for outside facilitation, where deemed necessary and appropriate for meeting charrette goals.
SSDN encourages participants to be mindful and creative of budget restrictions and incorporate sustainability into the planning of the charrette. SSDN requests that proposals compare costs using GSA per diem rates. If costs are outside of those rates, please submit a justification. SSDN may ask applicants to reduce costs in some cases, where applicable and appropriate.
Eligible Budget Items:
Travel expenses (flight, rideshare, mileage, taxi, public transit, etc.), lodging expenses, limited amount of facilitator expenses, meals during the charrette, and other meeting expenses.