January 18, 2024
Capital Funding: How it Works & Why it Matters – Deadlines Approaching
Capital funding is one of the most important ways schools in New York City can create new educational opportunities for their students. While this process is available to all schools throughout the NYC Department of Education (DOE), not everyone is aware of it or how to navigate submitting an application. Putting together application materials for large city grants can certainly be daunting, but we’re here to help schools interested in Hydroponic Classrooms (new, or upgrading existing) connect with their local officials, build the capacity to advocate for themselves, and create new pathways to climate education. The deadline for Bronx schools to submit their application to Bronx Borough President Vanessa Gibson is rapidly approaching – Due Friday (tomorrow!), January 19 at 5 pm, so the sooner you finalize your submission, the better! Other borough president and city council applications are due in February. It only takes a few minutes, and could be the difference in helping create the next generation of climate scientists, activists, and leaders at your school.
We’ve emphasized its importance, but what is capital funding anyway, and how does it actually work? Each year, members of the NY City Council as well as Borough Presidents receive a budget from which they’re allowed to allocate funds to public school projects throughout their districts. These funds are used in part to build new projects through the School Construction Authority, who have helped to renovate classroom spaces for more than half of our Hydroponic Classrooms throughout the years. These building projects not only help schools create opportunities for their students, but they also improve the quality of their education all around through room renovations and facility improvements. For schools with a limited budget, receiving funding for these projects can be the difference between a traditional and more limited science education, and an innovative, hands-on Hydroponic Classroom experience. And we’re here to help schools to apply.
More than half of NYC Council members have voiced their support for our program through funding allocations, and we’ve seen a tremendous amount of success in helping schools learn the ropes of connecting with city government, writing grant proposals, and sharing the impact their hard work creates. Our Program Development team consistently meets with partner school administrators throughout the process of building a Hydroponic Classroom, from conception to installation, demystifying not only the capital funding process, but also other potential revenue streams for underserved schools like expense funding, which we apply to on behalf of our partner schools. To create the sustainable future our students deserve, we need all hands on deck, which is why we’ve adopted this multiplicative approach to climate education in hopes of inspiring students and educators alike to plant their roots, get involved, and make a meaningful difference where it’s needed most.