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Fiscal Sponsorship of Community Sustainability Projects

In order to apply for project support in the form of grants and technical assistance, 501(c)(3) nonprofit status is often required. Yet some of the most creative momentum for change comes from ordinary, committed citizens with extraordinary and innovative ideas.

SCI offers fiscal sponsorship for sustainability projects being conducted by individuals or community groups who would value access to funding or technical support resources but don’t wish to form their own organization or pursue nonprofit status.

SCI’s fiscal sponsorship support can take on a minimal role in the project, essentially providing access to our legal and organizational framework, and overseeing the accounting and tax work. If the individual or group desires more involvement from SCI’s experienced board members and affiliates, greater partnership possibilities can be explored.

Fiscal sponsorship requires a 5-10% fee of the project budget, depending on the role SCI serves and the overall budget amount. Projects must be grounded in the tenants of sustainability and clearly align with the mission and goals of SCI. If accepted as a fiscally-sponsored program, SCI will promote your work through our website and marketing materials, and will utilize our community connections to held ground your work.

Community-based projects that SCI has fiscally-sponsored include:

Superior Grown Food Summit

Community food system stakeholders, lead by organizer, Randal Hanson, came together in 2009 to organize a regional food and farming conference entitled the Superior Grown Food Summit. Grounded in the tenants of sustainability, the Superior Grown Food Summit objectives were to:

  1. Build a common framework for understanding food as a public good that includes yet transcends the market.
  2. Gather public input on food needs and concerns over food availability, affordability, quality and security.
  3. Draft attainable goals for greater local, regional and state food production.
  4. Prioritize pathways for success in localizing food.

Fiscal sponsorship was provided by SCI in order to pursue funding and provide accounting oversight of Summit activities and expenditures. In addition, SCI served on the conference committee providing support and coordination with specific aspects of the Summit and designed the promotional materials for marketing the event.

The Superior Grown Food Summit was staged on November 13, 2009, at the University of Minnesota, Duluth. An estimated 225 people from across the western Lake Superior bioregion took part in this event, which was publicized through newsletter articles and conversations with individuals within a variety of networks in the region. Organizers believe that the multi-step action plan devised to gather, harness and channel public input and desire for expanding local and regional food production was largely successful based on the numbers of direct participants at the event as well as the feedback received afterwards.

One special outcome of the event was that a landowner with 20 acres on the urban edge of Duluth contacted conference organizer, Randel Hanson, after reading a newspaper article in the Duluth News

Tribune. The landowner inquired about whether a community process to utilize his property could be created to maintain that land in agricultural use in perpetuity. After nearly a year’s long series of trust building and information exchange, the process to create the ‘Duluth Community Farm’, now ‘Growing Farms.’ Growing farms serves as a farm incubator for beginning farmers and farmers without access to land. SCI was pleased to invest the remaining funds in the Superior Grown Food Summit account towards the initiation of the farm.

Minnesota Renewable Energy Credit Exchange (MN REC-X)

In 2012, SCI fiscally-sponsored feasibility and development work for the MN Renewable Energy Credit Exchange or MN REC-X, designed and coordinated by Tom Karas. MN REC-X is yet in the development stage and is seeking community support and funding to advance it to the market place. In the end, MN REC-X will be a web-based marketing opportunity to facilitate two distinct achievements: (1) the auction of renewable Energy Credits for existing and proposed clean energy projects, and (2) a public campaign that increases awareness of the need for these projects. Since the completion of this phase of MN REC-X, the NE MN Clean Energy Resource Team (CERTS), coordinated by Bill Mittlefehldt, has convened a group to continue to brainstorm this project. The group met in February 2013 and generated ideas and an enthusiasm to move MN REC-X forward. CERTS welcomes anyone who wants to get involved. Contact Bill Mittlefehldt at 218.726.6146 or bill@cleanenergyresourceteams.org.