Shine awards

Have a project in mind to improve and revitalize local neighborhoods? Apply for a Shine award!

In 2017, we launched a new program called Shine. Do you have an idea for a project that will improve and revitalize our local neighborhoods? We’re inviting you to submit your project for consideration. Our Shine awards range from $5,000 to $100,000 and the selection process is highly competitive. Any nonprofit organization 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(6) within SMUD service territory is eligible to apply.


Want to learn more about applying for a Shine award?

View the Shine sponsorship program guidelines.


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


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:               Watt Avenue Partnership

Sponsorship ($$):  $4,910

 Project Description:

The proposed project is to make the district a safer place at night, while increasing business/customer traffic, through the installation of five additional nightlights within the boundaries of the partnership.



Applicant:              Stockton Blvd Partnership

Sponsorship ($$):  $10,000

 Project Description:

The purpose of the Block by Block Program is to identify and assess blocks with high crime statistics, chronic homelessness, prostitution issues, or extreme blight using Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED).  This program will address specific issues such as lighting, security, trash clean up, graffiti, facade updates, and code issues.  The Block by Block program will enhance the physical environment of Stockton Boulevard in order to reduce criminal activity and encourage a safe environment for businesses to thrive and residents and patrons to live, work, and play. Project goals:

1. Identify specific areas along Stockton Blvd between 2nd Ave and 65th Street which are high in crime to complete the contiguous block by block assessment. 2. Complete assessment identifying CPTED issues, using the principles of Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED). 3. Successfully address priority items identified in assessment to encourage a safe place. 4. Educate property and business owners on CPTED, Financial Literacy, Energy Efficiency, and other as needed subjects.  5. Create a new culture that encourages community involvement and sustainability.



Applicant:              Common Ground Community Development Corporation

Sponsorship ($$): $10,000

 Project Description:

In one of the most diverse areas in one of the most diverse cities in America, The Common Ground CDC Community Garden is establishing an “urban oasis” for the residents of the Valley Hi Community of Sacramento. 

 The Urban Oasis exists to provide a place of connection, nutritional education, and access to healthy food for all people. The project embodies the idea that everyone should have equal access to live a healthy life, and that we are simply better together. The Urban Oasis is a community garden that will be managed by students from the local high school in an After School Garden Club that will utilize Hands-On STEM: Garden-Based Education curriculum to reinforce STEM learning outside the classroom. In addition to providing continued STEM learning, nutrition and agricultural education will also be provided.  Furthermore, the students will have the opportunity to conduct community workshops on health and nutrition. Students will also learn soft skills such as teamwork, appreciating differences, public speaking, and stewardship.



Applicant:              William Land Elementary - Parent Teacher Association

Sponsorship ($$): $4,927

 Project Description:

Drought tolerant plants and energy efficient drip irrigation will be installed at the William Land Elementary site. The sidewalk landscape will also be improved by putting a material that prevents run off and withstand the demanding foot traffic from students and their caregivers as they walk to and from the school site. In addition, we will add a Community Library Box that will house Grade level books about the science/botany of the plants we reviewed and other STEM material and include the addition of other books from the community.



Applicant:              Greater Broadway Partnership

Sponsorship ($$): $10,000

 Project Description:

The Greater Broadway District is looking to innovative technologies to help ease our clean and safe issues on Broadway.  We would like to place two Bigbelly trash and two Bigbelly recycle bins in the Tower District of Greater Broadway. The Bigbelly bin is a solar-powered cordless trash compaction system. They will reduce the number of trash collections as well as eliminate trash overflow.  The bins also include Wi-Fi so that a text message is sent out when they require service reducing needless trips.



Applicant:              Rosemont Community Foundation

Sponsorship ($$): $10,000

 Project Description:

This grant application focuses on the maintenance and prevention aspect of neighborhood clean up for community and economic development. The work proposed to be done with this grant includes, as prioritized by circumstances at the time:

• community cleanup of occasional illegal dumps;

• providing assistance in immediately abating graffiti that occasionally appears here;

• sponsoring regular “dumpster days” where residents can bring their unwanted items and dispose of them for free (a recent dumpster day collected over 43 tons);

• doing landscaping and weed abatement work at vacant properties where there is no development or responsible owners;

• supporting the communication systems of RCA in the community

• maintenance and installation of entrance signage to better identify the community to those who may consider living here;

• securing more code and law enforcement support;

• assisting to support other organizations here that provide complimentary community services.



Applicant:              Center for Land-Based Learning

Sponsorship ($$): $9,384

 Project Description:

Habitat restoration at Stone Lakes National Wildlife Refuge is the perfect opportunity to provide a real-world learning experience for Valley High School students. This project offers high school students and community volunteers the opportunity to positively contribute to local environmental stewardship efforts while learning. The program is designed around a series of four full-day field trips to an adopted restoration project where high school students participate in a wide variety of habitat restoration tasks. These activities follow the restoration cycle and include planting native vegetation, installing drip irrigation, removing invasive species, building and installing nest boxes for secondary cavity nesting birds and monitoring plant survival.



Applicant:              NeighborWorks

Sponsorship ($$): $10,000

 Project Description:

Through our annual Paint The Town home improvement project, NeighborWorks Sacramento will select a street in the Del Paso neighborhood and work with a 6 – 12 teams of volunteers to complete 15 – 20 home and neighborhood improvement projects, all at no cost to the home owner.



Applicant:              Del Paso Boulevard Partnership

Sponsorship ($$): $10,000

 Project Description:

The Art Nursery of Old North Sacramento will transform a 3/4 acre vacant corner lot and building on Del Paso Blvd into a family-friendly, indoor/outdoor venue with a food and beverage component; a creative placemaking research and design facility; an events center that specializes in community and non-profit events; and, a STEM education facility that includes the arts. Its overarching goal is to create employment opportunities, especially for students, the partially disabled and other disadvantaged sectors.



Applicant:              CLARA

Sponsorship ($$): $9,500

 Project Description:

Establish a Neighborhood Community Garden at CLARA (the E. Claire Raley Studios for the Performing Arts at 2420 N Street). Some years back, we established two neighborhood community gardens in this area - both sites are now developed with housing. However, the lawn area in front of CLARA is ideal to replace with a community garden - and we have a plan initially prepared in conjunction with William Maynard, the city community garden coordinator.



Applicant:              Sunrise Little League

Sponsorship ($$): $6,067

 Project Description:

This project is to revitalize and improve safety on two of the four little league baseball fields at C-Bar-C Park located in Citrus Heights. The project is to upgrade the sprinkler system on both fields as well as remove and replace the infield on one of the fields. The watering system is out of date and inefficient to keep the fields in a playable condition year after year. With an update to one watering system of one the fields we hope to be able to bring back life to that field and the other field is to the point where the grass will have to be replaced.



Applicant:              Fairytale Town

Sponsorship ($$): $25,000

 Project Description:

The Sacramento Adventure Playground is a free after-school youth development program, powered by Fairytale Town and located at Maple Neighborhood Center (formerly Maple Elementary School) in South Sacramento. Essentially a maker lab, the Adventure Playground puts real tools – hammers, nails, drills, saws, paints, clay, and such – into the hands of youth ages 7 to 15 so they can bring their creative ideas to life. The Adventure Playground is open year-round during after-school hours and on Saturdays. In addition, the Playground offers a Community Day once a month so children of all ages can participate in the unique play opportunities that are offered there. The Adventure Playground also offers play activities for children participating in the summer lunch program at Maple Neighborhood Center and for school field trips to the Center. Plus, we are developing programs for specific audiences such as children with disabilities and home-school students.



Applicant:              Sierra Nevada Journeys

Sponsorship ($$): $24,958

 Project Description:

Sierra Nevada Journeys provides Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) and outdoor science education to Sacramento area 1st – 6th graders, predominantly from low-income areas, through our Classrooms Unleashed program. The Classrooms Unleashed program will deliver grade-appropriate state science standard based programming to each class during three classroom lessons and a half-day outdoor science experience at a local nature site. In addition to the programming we’ll deliver directly to the children, SNJ will provide their teachers (89 total) with five innovative, ready-to-use STEM lessons that extend and reinforce the concepts, skills and ideas from each unit. SNJ seeks SMUD sponsorship to help fund the considerable Classrooms Unleashed program’s growth – nearly double – from last school year.  Current funding through grants and in-kind volunteerism covers 68% of this Fall’s project.  With SMUD’s help, SNJ will be able to provide Classrooms Unleashed programming to all 18 schools and 89 classrooms.



Applicant:              Crocker Art Museum

Sponsorship ($$): $20,000

 Project Description:

The Crocker Art Museum seeks funding in the amount of $35,000 from SMUD to implement Block by Block 2.0, an arts engagement initiative focused on enhancing community life and cultural participation in ways that resonates with diverse audiences, affirms the relevance and value of the arts, supports and encourages creativity and resilience within youth, and most importantly, builds channels for community connectivity and exchange beyond historical, constructed and self-imposed silos. Among other goals, Block by Block 2.0 aims to break down barriers and strengthen connections between the Crocker Art Museum and the community by co-creating neighborhood-based arts experiences with youth, community leaders, and artists interested in using the arts to improve the quality of life in Sacramento’s Promise Zone.



Applicant:              California FFA Foundation

Sponsorship ($$): $11,500

 Project Description:

The Streaming Towards Your Future project will allow students the opportunity to stream videos that highlight career pathways and give them real-life examples of former FFA members who are currently employed in those jobs within the area. Our project will develop a series of 4 videos’ that will each highlight an individual that is an in-demand career pathway. Pathways will be based on employer needs within the SMUD service territory and will relate to skills currently being honed by local high school FFA chapters.



Applicant:              My Sister's House

Sponsorship ($$): $20,000

 Project Description:

My Sister's House project is to add a kitchen and storage area to its training area so that its domestic violence survivors and staff and volunteers can have a better food prep and clean-up area for trainings and for self-care, This is especially needed as currently, a bathroom sink is where dishes are cleaned.  There is no kitchen or storage area at My Sister's House training where more than 30 victims receive training one night a week, with their children and are fed immediately prior to the training.  At least 5 days a week My Sister's House holds a group meeting at its training site.



Applicant:              Sacramento Parks Foundation

Sponsorship ($$): $12,500

 Project Description:

A park improvement project to improve the environment of the park, encourage greater use, and provide amenities that are not currently present at the site.  New items include an addition to the children's play area, an off leash dog area, a group use picnic shelter with new tables and a grill, rehab of the existing tennis courts into a multi-sport facility (basketball court, tennis court, volleyball, badminton, pickle ball, and small court soccer); improvements to the parking area and park pathways to meet accessibility standards; and addition of safety lighting on the park walkways and LED lighting in the parking lot.




Applicant:              Square Root Academy

Sponsorship ($$): $30,750

 Project Description:

The Square Root Academy is proposing to expand its existing Saturday program at John Still K-8 by adding a second 30-student cohort to its weekly schedule. Each week, thirty middle school aged, low-income, minority students are led through a hands on STEM based activity (detailed later in this proposal) by a team of Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) accredited instructors. To ensure the delivery of high impact and personalized instruction, we maintain a ratio of one instructor for every seven students. Support from SMUD would allow for us to double the number of students being served through this highly successful weekly STEM offering.



Applicant:              Health Education Council

Sponsorship ($$): $30,000

 Project Description:

Walk with Friends - Nielsen Park, a project of the Health Education Council (HEC), will partner with SMUD, Valley Hi residents and the City of Sacramento to revitalize Roy J. Nielsen Park located at 7800 Center Parkway, Sacramento, 95823.

 The proposed project will expand community alliances and enhance Valley Hi by working with Charles Mack parents and other residents to identify and complete at least two physical improvements to Nielsen Park making it safer and more inviting to residents. Walk with Friends - Nielsen Park will work with residents, SMUD employees, city leaders and Sacramento Parks and Recreation to complete a Park Audit (see attached documentation) which will determine Valley Hi residents’ top priorities for improvements to the Park. The partners will then work together to complete two short-term physical improvements to the park with the help of SMUD volunteers during the sponsorship period and will develop a longer-term plan for completing at least two more improvements after the funding ends.



Applicant:              Sacramento Native American Health Center, Inc.

Sponsorship ($$): $39,490

 Project Description:

In 2016, SNAHC completed a major expansion and converted of a pre-1970’s office building into primary care medical and comprehensive dental facilities expanding its midton footprint to just over 40,000 square feet. Although that project was completed, we have yet to achieve the state of the art health environment we envision; an environment that is energy efficient and accessible for all patients regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity or disability. In order to achieve this goal, we seek SMUD’s support with outstanding items that remain a priority for us including;

1) Energy Efficient HVAC Units

2) Handicapped accessible pro-slide automatic doors at both medical and dental entrances; and,

3) New floors in Community Meeting Room



Applicant:              Wind Youth Services

Sponsorship ($$): $100,000

 Project Description:

Wind Youth Services (Wind) is forging a new model for a youth drop-in center that co-locates youth service providers and anchors a plethora of services at one site. The site for this innovative project has been selected and we are in the final stages of escrow. With the SMUD SHINE program as a partner we will be able to install state-of the-art shower and restroom facilities, laundry facilities and install solar power.

 The new drop-in Center (Wind Center) is being developed in response to the current lack of services that are not connected to housing, and waits as long as a year for most housing. With such long waits for housing, it is essential that services greet youth on Day 1 so that progress toward diploma, employment, and healing can begin. Without our facilities, they would likely not be able to be employed, and thus will never move out of homelessness.


Contact information


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


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