Certifiably Green Denver Equity Funding

Overview

Certifiably Green Denver's Equity Funding helps women and minority-owned small businesses fund their sustainability projects. In 2022, we distributed over $300,000 in up-front grants to 37 businesses.

The application for funding for 2023 is now closed. Applications will open again in 2024.

Application Information

To help you get through the application process, please make sure to have this information ready:

  • Contact Information (name, email, phone number)
  • Business Information (legal business name, physical address of your business, phone number)
  • A copy of last year's W9 (the address on the w9 must match the address filed with the Secretary of State)
  • A copy of your Certificate of Good Standing
  • A description of your project and how it will help your business become more sustainable and how this will reduce environmental impacts
  • The total amount you are requesting. This total MUST match the amount of funds that you are requesting.
  • A detailed, itemized breakdown of each purchase request
    • Provide links to the products/quotes that show the price
    • Example of a Budget Table:
Item Price Quantity Total Link
Purchase and Install LG 20.2-cu.ft. Top-freezer Refrigerator $699 1 $699
Elkay Bottle Filling Station $1,289 1 $1,289
Bottle Filling Station Install $1,000 1 $1,000
  • Quote uploaded

TOTAL $2,988

Eligibility

Applicants for this program must meet the following requirements as a business:

  • Be minority and/or woman owned.
  • Meet the U.S. Small Business Administration's SBA size standards.
  • Have a physical location in the City and County of Denver.
    • Please note, home-based businesses are not eligible for funding through this program at this time.
  • Projects must be in pursuit of sustainability-based goals as outlined in the Certifiably Green Denver certification criteria

Project Ideas

We fund all types of projects through this program! Explore this list of ideas to help you generate ideas.

  • Energy Efficiency:
    • EnergyStar appliances
    • Renewable energy
    • Heating and cooling
    • LED lighting
    • Shading system
  • Water Conservation:
    • WaterSense appliances
    • Xeriscaping
    • Smart irrigation systems
    • Water bottle filling station
    • Low flow toilets
    • Touchless faucets
  • Resource Management:
    • Reusables
    • Upcycling project
    • Food waste prevention project
    • *Single-use service ware and packaging (including compostables or recyclables) are ineligible for funding
    • *Implementing waste services (composting and recycling) is ineligible for funding 

  • Sustainable Transportation:
    • Bike racks
    • Electric vehicle charging station
    • Bikes or electric-bikes
    • Bus passes
    • *Electric vehicles are ineligible for funding

2022 Funding Recipients

In 2022, Certifiably Green Denver Equity Funding resulted in 57 completed projects:
  • 32 energy efficiency projects totaling over $195,000.
  • 14 waste diversion projects totaling over $56,000.
  • 7 sustainable mobility projects totaling $55,000.
  • 4 water conservation projects totaling over $8,000.

Testimonials from 2022 Funding Recipients

Backyard on Blake

Backyard on Blake is a property that many local businesses occupy, including shops, art studios, and a co-working space. This program funded the installation costs of an electric vehicle charging station.

“This improvement will minimize the negative environmental impacts associated with driving fossil fuel-burning vehicles. More efficient, level II, chargers incentivize the purchase and use of electric vehicles at our workplace and thus reduce our carbon footprint in getting to and from work locations, as well as that of patrons who use our charging infrastructure.”

Green Spaces

Green Spaces provides low-cost space for communities to collaborate. This program funded many projects, including:

  • Heat pump, reducing emissions by up to 40%. 
  • Smart thermostats to yield 8-10% more efficient energy schedules.
  • Occupancy sensors to reduce the company’s energy demand.
  • Touchless sink faucets to reduce energy and water usage.

“Our main goal for our project is to set a new standard for buildings in Denver. Sustainability goes far beyond maintaining Earth’s resources. Our mixed-use, collaborative workspace model, places the creation of community ecosystems and the retention of local talent at the forefront of our essence.”

Lucy's Ethiopian Restaurant

Lucy’s Ethiopian Restaurant offers authentic Ethiopian food to our Denver community. The funding helped them buy an energy and water-efficient dishwasher. This helped the restaurant switch from disposables to reusables for on-site dining. 

“That will enable me to positively contribute towards minimizing trash and pollution to the environment.” 

Museum of Contemporary Art Denver (MCA Denver)

MCA Denver is a museum showcasing the advancing contemporary art field. This program funded replacing fluorescent lamp systems with LED lighting on an entire facility floor.

“Upgrading the lighting system to LED will not only provide a better (and safer) experience for our visitors and light-sensitive artworks, but will also use considerably less energy.” 

Princess Gardens

Princess Gardens is a vermicomposting center that helps the community learn ways to divert waste through composting and education. This program funded an expansion of their setup and bought an energy-efficient freezer.

“Our unique method of composting gives us an opportunity to divert waste quickly but there are times when we get more kitchen scraps than our current setup can handle. This will keep hundreds, even thousands of organic material out of landfills each year.”

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is eligible to apply for funding?

Any small, minority- and/or women-owned business that meets the SBA size standards and has a physical location in the City and County of Denver is eligible to apply. Home-based businesses do not qualify for funding at this time.

Do I need to be a Certifiably Green Denver business to apply?

No, you do not need to be certified by the Certifiably Green Denver program to be eligible.

How much funding can I request?

Each business can apply for up to $10,000. Funding can cover the costs of multiple projects.

What can I request to use the funds for?

Purchases and projects that reduce your environmental impact are eligible for funding. Refer to Certifiably Green Denver's criteria or look at 2022 funding recipients for examples of project ideas. You must prove how purchases and projects will reduce your environmental impact in your application.

When will the application be open?

The application will open by the end of March 2023, and funding will be distributed on a rolling basis beginning in July 2023.

Is this funding given up-front or as a reimbursement?

The city’s mini-grant process funds this program. If your application is selected, you will receive funding up-front before purchasing.  You must provide receipts for all purchases.

What do I need to complete the online application?

To help you get through the application process, please make sure to have this information ready:

  • Contact Information (name, email, phone number)
  • Business Information (legal business name, physical address of your business, phone number)
  • A copy of last year's W9
  • A description of your project and how it will help your business become more sustainable and how this will reduce environmental impacts
  • Total amount you are requesting
    • This total MUST match the amount of funds that you are requesting
  • A detailed, itemized breakdown of each purchase request
    • Provide links to the products/quotes that show the prices

Example of a Budget Table:

Item Price Quantity Total Link

Purchase and Install LG 20.2-cu.ft. Top-freezer Refrigerator

$699

1

$699

Elkay Bottle Filling Station

$1,289

1

$1,289

Bottle Filling Station Install

$1,000

1

$1,000
  • Quote uploaded

TOTAL

 

$2,988

What if I need assistance in a language other than English?

If you need non-English language interpretation services, please get in touch with CertifiablyGreenDenver@denvergov.org for assistance. 

Can I apply this year if I applied last year?

Yes, you can apply in 2023, even if you applied in 2022. Past recipients of funding are also eligible to apply for different projects. Please note we will prioritize first-time applicants.

What scoring criteria will be used to review applications?

Scoring criteria focuses on if the request:

  • Demonstrates a reduction in environmental impacts
  • Will have long-term benefits
  • Is feasible
  • Has a community impact

What will I need to do if I am selected for equity funding?

  1. Upon being selected, you must sign an agreement form that says you will use the funding for its intended purposes and provide us with a Certificate of Insurance. You will also need to approve the scope of work that lists out the itemized breakdown of the funding request and an invoice (the invoice is NOT the receipt of the actual purchase(s)).
  2. The city will create a contract. You will be sent the contract to review, and once approved, we will send you the contract to be signed via DocuSign.
  3. Once the contract is fully executed, we will send you the money so you can make your purchases.
  4. Once you make the purchases, you will send us receipts and photos of proof of the use of funds.

What does a sample contract look like?

Refer to this document for a sample agreement contract. Please note that this is just a sample, and we have the right to make any changes we see fit.

View sample agreement contract(PDF, 176KB)

How will I receive the funding if I am a recipient?

The default method to deliver funds will be in the form of a check in the mail. Please allow at least three additional weeks if you prefer direct deposit.

If I have been selected and approved, when can I make the purchases?

You may immediately make eligible purchases when your application has been selected and approved. You must make purchases by December 31, 2023.

What do I need for the Certificate of Insurance (COI)?

For Worker's Compensation Insurance, Grantee shall maintain the coverage as required by statute and shall maintain Employer's Liability insurance with limits of $100,000 for each bodily injury occurrence claim, $100,000 for each bodily injury caused by disease claim, and $500,000 aggregate for all bodily injuries caused by disease claims. Grantee shall maintain Commercial General Liability coverage with limits of $1,000,000 for each occurrence.

Learn more about the insurance requirements(PDF, 76KB)

View sample of a Certificate of Insurance(PDF, 290KB)

View sample of a Worker's Comp Waiver(PDF, 117KB)

View Department of Labor's Worker's Comp Questions Pamphlet(PDF, 855KB)