We can work together to make our neighborhoods Shine! 

  • Shine awards are available to nonprofits located in and serving communities in our service area
  • There are three funding levels:
    • Spark:  Up to $10,000
    • Amplifier:  $10,001 - $50,000
    • Transformer:  $50,001 - $100,000
  • If awarded, recipient nonprofits must match funds for their project as follows:
    • Spark:  50% match
    • Amplifier and Transformer:  100% match
  • Collaborative projects and joint applications between nonprofits are encouraged

Recipient spotlight

Watch how the Wellspring Women's Center benefited from receiving a Shine award.

Want to learn more about applying for a Shine award?

View the Shine sponsorship program guidelines.


Eligible project categories:


beautification     energy efficiency     education     neighborhood improvement




Program information

Who is eligible to apply for Shine program funding?

  • Nonprofit organizations with a 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(6) IRS designation may apply for Shine program funding. Typical examples of eligible organizations:

Community-based organizations

Property-based improvement districts

Chambers of Commerce

Neighborhood Associations

Homeowners Associations


An eligible nonprofit must be the lead agency listed on the application and will be responsible for meeting all terms of the funding agreement


  • Municipal organizations such as:



  Special districts

  School districts


These may apply as co-applicants with an incorporated nonprofit organization. Requirements:


  1. Identify an eligible nonprofit as the fiscal agent for the project
  2. Awarded sponsorship funds will be disbursed only to a project’s identified fiscal agent


Can an organization submit more than one Shine program proposal?


No. Each primary applicant may submit one application per annual funding cycle. So, pick your best concept and submit the most compelling application.


I’m a partner on an application, but not the primary applicant. Can I still submit my own application for a different project?


Yes. You may be a partner on multiple applications. You may only be the primary applicant on one application in a single annual funding cycle.

How is this program different from SMUD's other sponsorship program? Which one should I apply for?


Here are the key features of each


Our general sponsorship program:

     Year round application

     Typically limited to awards less than $5,000

     Most sponsorships are for events

Shine awards:

     Applicants must demonstrate their capacity to contribute matching funds if selected

     Shine applicants will compete for very limited funding

     Shine awards will only be considered during a specific application period each year



What kinds of projects can be funded with these sponsorships?


Shine awards are available for a variety of projects. Here are a few examples:


     Promotion of energy efficiency, energy conservation, and greenhouse gas reduction

     New investment in renewable energy resources and technologies

     Education related to energy efficiency, renewable energy or STEM-related fields

     Demonstration of an energy technology for which there is no consumer adoption, or limited consumer adoption

     Services provided to low-income electricity customers

     Community and workforce development, particularly for diverse and under-served communities

     Neighborhood revitalization and clean up


Is sustainability of my project a factor?


Absolutely. Proposals should address how you plan to secure funding to keep your program in place after this award cycle. During the review process, specific plans which are sustainable will be ranked higher than general plans.


What information is necessary about our board members?



     Board position

     Name of their business / community


Are MOU’s (Memorandum of Understanding) required for collaborative partners?


No. We do require a letter of commitment signed by a person authorized to enter into commitments on behalf of each partner organization. These may be combined with letters of commitment for matching funds.


Note: We’ll develop MOU’s between SMUD and winning applicants.


Please clarify ‘collaboration’.


If you’re collaborating with others on this project, please give us each partner’s specific role. If individuals, businesses or others are providing cash or in-kind support, delineate the type and dollar value. These partners can help you achieve the match requirements.


How long do we have to complete our project?


Recipients have as follows:


     Spark                     3 months

     Amplifier             6 months

     Transformer       12 months


If SMUD has already provided sponsorship funding for a project, can it also receive a Shine award?


No. This was allowed only in our inaugural year – 2017.


If our project isn’t selected this year, may we resubmit next year?


Yes! We encourage you to resubmit your proposal.

How much funding can be awarded for my project?

We have 3 tiers for awards:

  • Spark                 Up to $10,000 plus a 50% match requirement
  • Amplifier             $10,001 - $50,000 plus a 100% match requirement
  • Transformer       $50,001 - $100,000 plus a 100% match requirement


Is there a minimum amount to apply for?

No. We appreciate receiving well thought out budgets which satisfy the match requirements.


We’re providing matching funds for several Shine program proposals. May we apply on behalf of more than one program?

Cost-saving collaborations benefit everyone, and we welcome proposals from organizations who receive support by a fiscal sponsor.

You may be a fiscal sponsor on multiple applications in the same year, but may only be the applicant on one project during that term.


If we are awarded program funding, can we apply again next year for sustainability funding?

Yes. You may apply for funding – with the required match secured – each year.

However, we encourage applicants to design projects with long-term funding sustainability. Applications are scored based on a number of factors, including long-term sustainability.


Can we use the Shine award as matching funds for another grant application?

  • Matching funds are required for all Shine program projects
  • Selected projects must have a high likelihood of success
  • All matching funds must be guaranteed and not contingent upon any unmet conditions or obligations, such as a pending grant.
  • If you have grant funding opportunities that require a match, your Shine program award can be applied to another funder’s match requirement, but Shine program approved project must be independent of those uncommitted funds.
  • We want to ensure that the project completion is not contingent on other, non-committed funding.


Please clarify the funding match. How much cash and in-kind is required?

Shine program award recipients are required to contribute matching funds to their projects. Matching funds can be provided as either cash or in-kind contributions.

If matching funds are being contributed by an organization other than the applicant, a letter of commitment from that organization must be submitted with the applicant's submission. The letters of commitment need to distinguish between match that is provided as cash and match that is provided in-kind.

For Amplifier and Transformer funding tiers, the in-kind portion of the match cannot exceed 50% of the match requirement.


What qualifies as in-kind services?

In-kind contributions are defined as materials or labor that an organization commits to a project in lieu of cash.

In the case of donated labor, use this formula:

  • The donor’s hourly rate of compensation based on their specialty or field, multiplied by
  • The number of hours that will be contributed over the active term of the project (e.g. Carpenter at a rate of $60/hour x 20 hours labor.)
  • In-kind services must be valued at market rate

For materials, we request that applicants use the retail value of the goods or materials provided.

Applicant: Alchemist CDC
Sponsorship ($$) $15,989

Project Description
This revitalization and neighborhood cleanup project will address residential blight; cleanup of Pansy Community Garden Park and the renovation of residential blocks in Oak Park.

Applicant: Cordova Lancers Leaders & Legends
Sponsorship ($$) $6,000

Project Description
This workforce development and neighborhood cleanup project provides Cordova High School’s vocational program students basic lawn maintenance skills and how to repair and maintain the equipment they are using.

Applicant: Del Paso Boulevard Partnership Foundation
Sponsorship ($$) $10,500

Project Description:
This crime prevention through environmental design project is to improve safety, reduce crime and raise visibility with the installation of 22 security cameras along Del Paso Boulevard from Highway 160 to Lampasas Avenue. The system includes servers and an upgraded Wi-Fi system for Boulevard business owners in partnership with Sac PD.

Applicant: Fair Oaks Park Foundation
Sponsorship ($$) $5,000

Project Description
This crime prevention through environmental design project will install a solar-augmented electrical system to support security lighting, refrigeration, lighting and power for the Food Closet Farm’s storage shed.

Applicant: FosterHope Sacramento
Sponsorship ($$) $2,329

Project Description
This lighting improvement project increases safety and visibility during supervised visits of foster children by parents and guardians.

Applicant:  Franklin Neighborhood Development Corporation
Sponsorship ($$) $51,000

Project Description
This new construction project for Mercado marketplace for low to middle income entrepreneurs will include food trailers and a commercial kitchen that supports new food business incubator programs.

Applicant: Freedom Through Education
Sponsorship ($$) $11,975

Project Description
This workforce and neighborhood cleanup project will provide workplace training for those reentering Sacramento communities from prison and work opportunities to improve the low-income, high-crime community nearby. The neighborhood cleanup project offers free landscaping to low income and disabled residents.

Applicant: Girls Scouts Heart of Central California
Sponsorship ($$) $50,000

Project Description
This facility and equipment improvements project brings STEM education to under-served, low income girls with a new Mobile STEM Center + MakerSpace.  Through collaboration with 25 schools and their after-school program providers, GSHCC will deliver a combination of STEM and leadership programming to 500 low income girls in the first-pilot year of operation.

Applicant: Girls Self-Esteem Program
Sponsorship ($$) $5,000

Project Description
This facility and equipment improvements project renovates the spring dance floor, replaces the broken ballet barre and mirrors of a deteriorating dance studio in Oak Park.

Applicant: Improve Your Tomorrow
Sponsorship ($$) $45,926

Project Description
This STEM program for Decoders Anonymous summer coding camp – in partnership with Square Root Academy, CA State University, Sacramento and Cosumnes River College – will place 100 rising juniors in an intensive four-week coding boot camp.

Applicant: La Familia Counseling Center
Sponsorship ($$) $25,000

Project Description
This facility and equipment improvements project for the renovation of Maple Neighborhood Center on Franklin Boulevard serves as a hub for civic engagement, continued learning, entertainment, social interaction and economic empowerment.

Applicant: Los Rios Colleges Foundation
Sponsorship ($$) $48,157

Project Description
This workforce development project for Tiny Home Village and sustainable landscape will provide workforce training in designing and building energy-efficient tiny homes and sustainable landscaping that can serve as a living lab on the Cosumnes River College campus.

Applicant: Midtown Sacramento PBID Corp (MBA)
Sponsorship ($$) $3,040

Project Description
This lighting improvements project for the installation of LED tree lighting at the corner of 24th and K Streets will enhance the optics of multiple restaurants, entertainment and residential customers.

Applicant: Parent Teacher Home Visits
Sponsorship ($$) $27,505

Project Description
This STEM program is for STEM educators who are trained to detect biased behaviors in high-needs schools in Sacramento County. The 4-phase STEM program will:
Train STEM teachers on using PTHVs relational model of home visits and current research to understand and disrupt unconscious bias in the classroom; 
Utilize PTHVs model to build relationships with their students and families by visiting their homes; 
Provide training to understand the current research on unconscious bias and the role it plays in STEM education;
And develop a professional process that helps teachers recognize and change thoughts and behaviors that have a basis in their own unconscious bias, and that could be inadvertently limiting their students’ achievement.

Applicant: Pioneer Congregational United Church of Christ
Sponsorship ($$) $15,000

Project Description
This energy-efficiency building upgrades project will renovate a defunct kitchen, which serves approximately 1,800 homeless residents. Pioneer is a winter shelter for the homeless and year-round resource for the housing insecure.

Applicant: ReIMAGINE Mack Road
Sponsorship ($$) $16,837

Project Description
This lighting improvements and workforce project installs new and upgraded lighting in a community recreational space and provides supportive employment opportunities to at-risk youth residing in the Valley-Mack neighborhood in South Sacramento.

Applicant: Roberts Family Development Center
Sponsorship ($$) $51,000

Project Description
This energy-efficiency building upgrades project will update the bathroom and kitchen facilities and a portion of roof repairs and a sprinkler system in the Main Center Hall. The Main Center serves 10 youth daily, 50 parents weekly and 25 outside agencies annually. The Hall is used for over 15 family events annually.

Applicant: Sacramento Neighborhood Housing Services, Inc. / NeighborWorks
Sponsorship ($$) $10,000

Project Description
This workforce development and neighborhood cleanup project with NeighborWorks, in partnership with “Brother to Brother” organizes groups of former gang-affiliated men with criminal history who are now active in improving their community and providing leadership to mentor young men. This neighborhood beautification project organizes cleanups and gleans produce from neighbors’ yards. 

Applicant: San Juan Unified School District
Sponsorship ($$) $2,500

Project Description
This STEM program will provide materials and equipment for Rio Americano High School’s Robotics Team World Championship International Robotics Competition in Houston, Texas.

Applicant: Sierra Nevada Journeys
Sponsorship ($$) $2,500

Project Description
This STEM program and workforce development project assists with a teacher boot camp to help educators implement the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) adopted in 2013. The Boot Camp focuses on teachers in under-served communities, such as North Sacramento.

Applicant: Watt Avenue Partnership (80 Watt District)
($$) $20,000

Project Description
This crime prevention through environmental design project will make the district a safer place, while increasing business/customer traffic through the installation of security cameras to address pervasive crime, increase property values, attract businesses and improve the neighborhood's image.

Contact information


Email shine@smud.org or call Kim Tucker at Impact Foundry, 916-569-8558


Help our community SHINE with your project for neighborhood improvement, STEM education, energy efficiency or beautification