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Shine Awards

In celebration of our 70th year of powering what you love, we're launching a new community sponsorship program. We call it Shine. With it, we're inviting you to request funding for projects that will improve and revitalize our local neighborhoods to help them Shine.

Shine awards will range from $5,000 to $100,000 and are very competitive. Any nonprofit organization (501c3 or 501c6) within SMUD service territory is eligible to apply.

The deadline for 2017 Shine applications has passed. Please check back later to apply for 2018.

Program details

  • Shine awards are available to nonprofits located in and serving communities in SMUD's service area.
  • Shine awards are available in three funding levels: Spark (up to $10,000), Amplifier (up to $50,000) and Transformer (up to $100,000).
  • If receiving a Shine award, applicants will need to provide matching funds for their project. A 50% match for Spark awards or a 100% match for Amplifier and Transformer Awards are required.
  • Collaboration and joint applications are encouraged.
  • Read the program guidelines.

Eligible project types:

Neighborhood Improvement
Energy Efficiency


Nonprofit organizations with a 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(6) IRS designation may apply for Shine program funding. Typical examples of eligible organizations include community-based organizations, property-based improvement districts, chambers of commerce, neighborhood associations and homeowners associations. Other types of organizations may participate in the project; however, an eligible nonprofit organization must be the lead agency in the application and is responsible for meeting all terms of the funding agreement.

Municipal organizations (cities, counties, special districts, school districts, etc.) may apply as co-applicants with an incorporated nonprofit organization. For projects in which a municipal organization is applying as a co-applicant, the application must identify an eligible non-profit as the fiscal agent for the project. Awarded sponsorship funds will be disbursed only to a project’s identified fiscal agent.

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

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.


SMUD’s general sponsorship program is year-round and is typically limited to requests that are less than $5,000. The majority of SMUD’s general sponsorships are for events. Shine awards will only be considered within a specific application window each year. Those applying for Shine awards will be required to demonstrate their capacity to contribute matching funds to their projects if selected for a Shine award. Applications for Shine awards will compete for very limited funding.

Shine awards are available for a variety of projects including, but not limited to:

  • 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

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 will be ranked higher than general plans.

Name, position on the Board, and name of their business/community affiliation.

No, an MOU is not necessary for partners. However, a letter of commitment signed by a representative authorized to enter into such commitments on behalf of each partner organization must be provided. These letters of commitment may be combined with letters of commitment for matching funds.

NOTE: MOUs will be developed between SMUD and winning Shine program applicants.

If you are collaborating as part of this proposal, tell us each partner’s distinct role. For example, if individuals, businesses or others are providing cash or in-kind support, delineate what type and value amount. This will help you achieve the match requirements for the Shine program.

Projects receiving Shine program awards at the Spark level will have 3 months to complete their projects, Amplifier recipients will have up to 6 months and Transformer will have up to 12 months.

For 2017 only, a project that has previously received SMUD sponsorship funding may also receive Shine award funding if it has not received SMUD sponsorship funding within 3 months of the closing date of the Shine award application period.

Yes, re-submissions will be accepted in the next funding cycle.


Projects can receive funding in one of 3 tiers: Spark (up to $10,000, plus a 50% match requirement); Amplifier (up to $50,000, plus a 100% match requirement) and Transformer (up to $100,000, plus a 100% match requirement).

No. SMUD appreciates thoughtful budgets that satisfy the match requirements of the level of funding you are requesting.

SMUD supports cost-saving collaborations and welcomes proposals from organizations being provided support by a fiscal sponsor. You may be a fiscal sponsor on multiple applications in a single annual funding cycle. But, you may only be the applicant on one project per annual funding cycle.

Each year that Shine program funds are available, you may apply for funding – with the required match secured – for new or continuing projects. However, SMUD encourages applicants to design projects that will achieve long-term funding sustainability. Applications for sustainability funding will be scored based upon a number of factors, including long-term funding sustainability.

SMUD requires a match for all Shine program projects and selected projects will need to have high likelihood of successful completion. All matching funds must be guaranteed and not contingent upon any unmet conditions or obligations, like a pending grant. If you have other grant funding opportunities that similarly require a match, your Shine program award can be applied to another funder’s match requirement, but the Shine program approved project will need to be independent of those uncommitted funds. We want to ensure that the project completion is not contingent on other, non-committed funding.

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

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, the value of that time must be calculated as that person’s hourly rate of compensation based on their specialty or field, multiplied by the number of hours that will be contributed over the term of the project’s implementation, e.g. Carpenter at a rate of $60/hour x 20 hours of 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.


Email or call Kim Tucker at Impact Foundry, (916) 217-6736.