Application Materials & FAQ

Application Deadline: May 7, 2021  

Learn more about the funding opportunity during an information webinar on April 22 between 6:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. 

Meeting Link

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Are SPU staff available to review our applications or answer our questions?
Yes - feel free to contact us (see contact info below)! We can provide guidance and feedback on your application and answer other questions. We will do our best to help you. Keep in mind that we may not always be available, especially at the last minute. It is best to contact us at least several days before the application is due. We may not be reachable over the weekends or in the evenings.

Catherine (Kate) Morrison
Catherine.Morrison@seattle.gov
(206) 735-5629

2. What is the expected award size?
Final awards will be determined by the applicant pool. We expect to award two or three projects.

3. Where can I get funding for an individual project or event in my district not related to water and waste innovations?
Several City departments offer funding for community-based work, including the Neighborhood Matching Fund out of the Department of Neighborhoods. Find more information about the Neighborhood Matching Fund and other City resources here.

4. How did you come up with this idea? And how do I know if I should apply?
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, community members have been responding to the most urgent and pressing needs of their neighbors through a system of mutual aid. Typically, this individual-to-individual support is provided as urgently as possible, without government intervention. In the 2021 budget cycle, Councilmember Tammy Morales sought formal support for one of the goals of local mutual aid efforts focused on hand hygiene, totaling $100,000. That Council action, along with SPU's desire to support community-centered mutual aid efforts, inspired this funding opportunity.

Your organization or group of volunteers should apply if:

  • You are focused on water or waste needs in the Seattle community,
  • Are deeply connected to your community and have a network of partners to work with,
  • Are willing to test an idea and measure it carefully (with metrics and numbers we provide you), so we can understand the impact,
  • Are willing to share feedback (good and bad) on your work (via in-person meetings when safe or other conversations; no long reporting required).


5. What if my group does not have non-profit status?
If you are part of a community group providing mutual aid without a formal organizational structure and non-profit incorporation, reach out to us (see information above). We can provide suggestions on fiscal partnerships.

6. What do you mean by this - "We are looking for organizations to test out different solutions in various settings."
We want you to test your idea in more than one way and more than one neighborhood or area. Ideally, applicants have a strong network of partners to help implement their ideas throughout Seattle and in different settings. We expect you to work with organizations and individuals to maximize your innovation's impact.

7. Can applicants apply to both SWWI and the Waste-Free Communities Matching Grant if they meet the guidelines for both?
Yes, applicants can apply to both funding programs.

8. Is it possible for applicants to receive funds from both sources?
Yes, applicants may receive grants from both sources. We would likely expect the applicant to apply with two distinct projects, but we are open to considering all proposals.

9. What are the differences between these two funding opportunities?

SWWIWaste-Free Grants

Focus is on community-driven ideas inspired by mutual aid in the areas of: Waste prevention solutions focused on food and other materials.

Examples include:

  • Sharing, reusing, repairing, and repurposing;
  • Hand hygiene and water access solutions, which may include options for accessing safe drinking water, for individuals experiencing homelessness.

Focus is exclusively on waste prevention activities


Grant period is six-months

Grant period is up to two-years

Includes support for innovative approaches

Includes support for both new and ongoing projects

Data collection is key to this work to understand what approaches worked or did not work well

  • Maximum grant award of $40,000
  • Match requirement of 25%
  • Available to businesses as well as nonprofits