During his time at Whitney High School in Cerritos, California, Kyle became involved with Grades of Green through the Ecology and Wildlife Club at his school. In his initial year with Grades of Green, he took part in the RISE Climate Solutions Campaign, collaborating with Tree Plenish to replenish the paper used at the school through a community tree sale. Despite the global pandemic, Kyle and his team successfully sold 120 apple trees in an online sale.

Following the success of the tree sale, Kyle progressed within the club and assumed the role of director during his junior year. As director, he partnered with Grades of Green to tackle plastic waste on campus, specifically focusing on reducing the use of plastic-wrapped utensils. Through his efforts, his project raised funds to introduce compostable utensils in the school cafeteria. Kyle’s initiative extended beyond his school; he took the campaign district-wide, rallying support from both faculty and students through a petition. “Seeing people use compostable utensils at our schools is incredibly fulfilling,” Kyle remarked.

Despite graduating from Whitney High School in 2023, Kyle aimed to ensure his campaign’s legacy. Evelyn, his successor in the Ecology and Wildlife Club, has continued to expand the project, now including replacing plastic-wrapped napkins with napkin dispensers. “Encouraging younger students to take charge of their own initiatives is key,” Kyle emphasizes.

Post-graduation, Kyle plans to attend UCLA to delve into the intersection of environmental science and public health.

What does sustainability mean to you?

Sustainability is a mindset or perspective. It’s a combination of taking action and realizing that everything you do has an effect on the environment and the people around you. Whether it’s dropping a piece of trash on the floor, the food you are eating, the house you are building, everything has an environment. Sustainability is being engaged and taking action to combat that.

What has been your favorite memory of Grades of Green?

Last year, leading the Grades of Green campaign and bringing such an ambitious project to our school is my favorite memory, even though there were so many challenges. With guidance from our advisor, Mrs. Perry, and everyone from Grades of Green, I was able to break out of my shell and develop leadership qualities I never would have imagined developing before. It showed me how resilient and determined I was. It also showed me the power of students to make an impact on our community.

For those who are new to Grades of Green, what would be one piece of advice you would give them?

Take advantage of all the resources Grades of Green has. They have a wealth of resources and experts from all sorts of fields. Whenever I reached out to Grades of Green, they offered guest speakers, volunteering or internship opportunities, and interviews. Don’t be afraid to reach out. Take advantage of everything they have to offer because really, that’s their goal: to inspire action and help students explore the environment.

Grant Manager

Grades of Green educates and empowers students to take action and lead environmental change to ensure a clean and sustainable environment for generations to come. We are looking for an experienced, highly organized, and multi-faceted team member to provide grant-funded project management expertise and development to support Grades of Green’s grant and corporate funded programing and services.

About Grades of Green

Grades of Green’s innovative Pathway of Programs fully supports students of all ages and backgrounds on their journey to become passionate environmental leaders of the future. We mentor young people and provide them with the leadership skills, resources, and connections they need to solve today’s environmental challenges and lead community wide impact. We are mobilizing an entire generation to tackle local challenges that lead to global impact. Grades of Green began in 2009 at one school in Southern California.  Since then, it has grown to inspire and empower more than over 700,000 students across 47 states and 27 counties, to take-action and care for our environment.

Position Summary

The Grants Manager is responsible for grants development, management and reporting of grant projects and corporate funding initiatives in addition to the ongoing evaluation and improvement of a grants database and tech tools. This role will manage all components of grants, including research, application writing and preparation, ensuring regulatory compliance, and conveying essential information to staff and external parties. The Manager will ensure compliant and accurate processing of all grants from approval to disbursement and provide management leadership on grants-related reporting, budget tracking, and overall continuous improvement for grants management function.

Overall Responsibilities

  • Manages grant and corporate funding projects, including government, foundation and corporate grant applications and proposals.
  • Works with the development, program, and administration teams to develop detailed project plans.
  • Creates and drives timelines to keep grants and objectives on schedule. Prepares timelines identifying all significant activities, measurements/outcomes, resources needed and milestones. Produces regular status reports.
  • Supports contract management, including budgets/budget amendments, monthly invoicing, compliance, reporting, contract documents, renewals, and proposals, with specific attention to Grades of Green’s federally funded EPA and other government awarded grants.
  • Ensures grant expenditures are allowable, allocatable, and responsible according to the terms of the grant contract, government regulations, and organizational policies.
  • Ensures that program and financial reports are submitted to the grantor in accordance with the award agreement.
  • Ensures that grant expenditures are properly supported and approved.
  • Ensures proper record retention and management of grant terms and reporting deadlines.
  • Identify, research, and write grants to support Grades of Green operations and programs.
  • Attends and represents Grades of Green at project meetings and works internally within teams to meet all terms set forth in the award agreement.
  • Facilitates highly effective team building and communication. Facilitates meetings and keeps them on track. Provides meeting minutes and drives follow up on Action Items.
  • Work towards funding opportunity renewals and relationship growth, performance will be measured on ability to renew and find new opportunities.
  • Identifies, develops and/or maintains an appropriate electronic platform (SharePoint, Shared Folders, etc.) for reporting/archiving/documentation of relevant program information, records, etc.
  • Prepares information with appropriate input from program team members for internal as well as external partner review.
  • Interfaces externally with collaborators, vendors, contractors, and consultants to ensure communication and deliverables in accordance with planned program objectives.

Required Skills

  • Experience: Two or more years of experience working in grants/contract management. Knowledge of the county, state and federal funding and grant system is required, as is experience in Federal and/or State grant contract management. Experience managing an EPA grant is highly desired.
  • Education: College or professional degree required. Masters degree or further education desired.
  • Communication Skills: Strong interpersonal, written, and verbal communication skills. Superior customer service skills to external and internal constituents. Excellent listening skills, follow-through and problem-solving abilities.
  • Technology Skills: Proficiency in computerized accounting systems and mastery of Google Docs and MS Office applications including Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint
  • Knowledge of grantmaking software preferred. CRM and Sharepoint experience preferred (training can be provided)
  • Project Management Skills: Excellent organizational skills and attention to detail. Ability to prioritize work effectively and adjust to multiple demands within set deadlines. Ability to design and implement effective grants management processes and procedures.
  • Teamwork & General Skills: Ability to work well independently and as a team member. Ability to take initiative and follow tasks through to completion. Ability to lead a team to goals, leveraging each team member’s skill set.
  • Excellent data collection and analytical skills
  • Highly organized and detail obsessed with the ability to manage deadlines and multiple projects and tasks effectively and efficiently.
  • Proactive mindset with strong formal and informal leadership, facilitation, and teamwork.
  • Background and knowledge in environmental projects, systems, and environmental justice concepts strongly preferred.
  • Commitment to a diverse, equitable, and inclusionary environment

We Got Your Back

  • Salary:  $68,000-$74,000 (DOE)
  • Health benefits and 401K, with company match
  • Generous number of paid holidays and vacation and sick days
  • 1-2 work from home days optional

Interested?

  • Please submit a thoughtful cover letter and resume by December 20th to: info@gradesofgreen.org  We will respond to all resumes with a cover letter.
  • January 2024 start date


Grades of Green is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, sex, religion, national origin, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, disability, age, or any other category protected by local, state, or federal laws. We are committed to building a diverse, equitable, and inclusive staff.

We’re thrilled to announce the winners of the 2022-2023 Climate Solutions Campaign! Learn more about the student teams who won Eco-Grants for their incredible environmental impact and those honored for their amazing efforts. You can also relive the fun by watching a recording of our live virtual announcement event!

LAcarGuy International Changemaker Grand Winner – $1,000

Matungu Community Development Charity
Nairobi, Kenya

Addressing large-scale issues of waste in their community, Team MCDC reduced 5,000 kgs of waste from the environment and educated students in local schools and across social media platforms. This ambitious team established 4 micro-gardens with the ability to feed up to 200 people monthly while planting 3000 trees. Team MCDC also furthered their efforts by processing 5,000 kgs of organic fertilizer, which were used to plant crops and indigenous trees.

Environmental Impact Grand Prize – $1,000

Mary Bragg Green Team
Cerritos, CA

The students at Mary Bragg Elementary School took on the ambitious feat of addressing multiple topics of the Climate Solutions Campaign. They managed sorting stations on their school campus, planted trees, held an E-Waste drive, encouraged alternative forms of transportation, participated in beach clean ups, and raised money for students in Africa. Mary Bragg also worked with a school in Nigeria, JSS Tudunwada, to learn more about their culture while fundraising money to beautify their community. They also were the recipients of the EPA Presidential Environmental Youth Award and the California Green Ribbon School Award.

Green Campus Leaders Award – $500

The Pear Tree Foundation
La Crescenta, CA

This enthusiastic team set up composting stations across 3 elementary schools, in addition to their own campus. They also created an animated video to educate viewers on composting on school campuses.

Habitat Heroes Award – $500

Kishoka Youth Organization
Mombasa, Kenya

The Kishoka Team educated their community on the impacts of climate change. They planted 2,500 mangrove trees and collected waste, which they reused to construct buildings in their community.

Community Rubbish Reducers – $500

Malezi Community Center
Nairobi, Kenya

The Malezi Community Center educated over 1,800 students amongst 4 different schools about the effects of waste. This passionate team collected over 25,000 kgs of waste and planted 120 trees.

Green Thumb Award – $500

Agoura High School
Agoura Hills, CA

The Agoura High School team educated over 3,000 students about regenerative gardening and built an edible garden on their campus. They connected with local farmers to promote organic and regenerative farming methods while raising $100 for the Kiss the Ground organization.

Eco-Influencer Award – $250

Team University of Buea
Buea, Cameroon

Team University of Buea recovered 4.5 kgs of waste and educated their community members on the impacts of waste. Through appearances on national television, this driven team reached audiences of over 30,000 people. 

Hydration Heroes Award – $250

Nathaniel Hawthorne Middle School – The Water Team
Bayside, NY

The students at Nathaniel Hawthorne Middle School purchased reusable water bottles for over 1,300 students and staff and educated their community on plastic waste. In addition, they raised $300 for students in Africa.

Planet Protector Award – $250

For the Love of Frogs
Carlsbad, CA

Justin S. has worked diligently to save acres of the Ecuadorian rainforest by participating in the Reserva letter campaign. He has collected over 1,500 letters and held a Raffle for the Rainforest that encouraged his classmates to join his mission. 

Rookie of the Year Award – $250

Akili STEMARTS Academy
Kisumu, Kenya

The students at Akili STEMarts Academy learned vertical gardening methods to build gardens at their homes and school. This ambitious team used composting to reduce waste in their community while improving soil quality and crop yields.

Honorary Awards

Student of the Year

Cordelia O’Rourke
Crescenta Valley High School
La Crescenta, CA

Facilitator of the Year

Kerry Flores
Mary Bragg Elementary School
Cerritos, CA

International Student of the Year

Ayuk Esame Marie Noel
Team IRIC
Yaounde, Cameroon

International Facilitator of the Year

Dhanam Sivalingam
PSGR Krishnammel Nursery and Primary School
Coimbatore, India

We’re thrilled to announce the winners of the 2021-2022 Climate Solutions Campaign! Learn more about the student teams who won Eco-Grants for their incredible environmental impact and those honored for their amazing efforts. You can also relive the fun by watching a recording of our live virtual announcement event!

LAcarGuy International Changemaker Grand Winner – $1,000

Malezi Community Centre Primary School
Nairobi, Kenya

This team addressed the large-scale issue of waste in their community. The ultimate goal of the Malezi team was to construct a centralized waste holding facility away from the community. The students did door to door campaigns across the community to educate families about the benefits of reducing waste in addition to more information about their cleanup efforts. This ambitious team collected 2 tonnes of trash and are planning to purchase trucks for waste transport that is independent of the government. Simultaneously, they also created a rooftop garden at their school to support further efforts in greening their community.

Environmental Impact Grand Prize – $1,000

Mary Bragg Green Team
Cerritos, CA

The Mary Bragg Green Team stepped up to  take on every single environmental topic for their RISE Campaign! This student team sold trees via Tree Plenish, sold rain barrels, established a Trash Free Lunch Sorting Station, held beach clean ups, and began a food recovery program by donating edible food through Food Finders. On top of all this, they donated $500 to Matungu in order to help another team plant more trees internationally. Additionally, this team is participating in activities with This Little Light Africa to plant gardens and purchase new desks for a school.

Sustainable Impact Award – $500

Matungu Community Development Charity
Nairobi, Kenya

This year, Matungu continued with their project from last year and this time they planted 5005 trees. They met their goal  quickly while utilizing help from their community. In addition to tree planting, Matungu also created micro gardens to plant food items such as spinach, kale, coriander, etc. Furthermore, they conducted many outreach and educational events within their community. This team also worked with Mary Bragg Elementary in California to extend the reach of their project and they continue to inspire others with their dedication to the environment.

Community Trailblazer Award – $500

Team University of Buea
Buea, Cameroon

This team’s goal was to plant 500 trees in their community to reduce the amount of CO2 in their home, and they partnered with multiple organizations to complete their goal. Eco-leader Joel not only reached out to local organizations, he also met with multiple government officials and news outlets to spread the word. In the end, he gathered 400 trees and planted them throughout his whole community. Joel and his team made countless flyers, social media posts, and even made certificates for all of the students who participated. He also reached out with local radio and news stations to cover the tree planting event which helped  broadcast and widen the reach of his team’s goals.

Community Eco-Activists Award – $500

Cooking Up Less Food Waste from Nathaniel Hawthorne Middle School
Bayside, NY

This team of middle schoolers from New York are a determined group who pushed really hard past many hurdles. Initially, this team set out to implement a food donation station at their school, but met a challenge when they found out that the Department of Education prevents this action. The team  took this as an opportunity to shift their project towards changing the laws. They contacted multiple government officials to gain support in changing the laws in addition to making a petition. The team continues their work to change the laws and aims to complete this ambitious task by the end of the school year.

Campus Waste Warriors Award – $500

Poly Green Team
Long Beach, CA

The Poly Green Team addressed waste and sorting in their large High School by installing 65 recycling bins on their campus. They also created and implemented food waste sorting stations around campus and created videos/presentations to educate students on how to properly sort waste. This dedicated team of students worked hard and showed real leadership throughout their year-long project.

Green Campus Leaders Award – $250

Whitney High School
Cerritos, CA

This team of students set out to change out their district’s utensils from plastic into compostable. This was extremely ambitious which caused them to meet many roadblocks. They shifted their efforts from targeting the district to their school only. The students made multiple petitions, flyers, social media posts etc. to gain support. They held many food fundraisers to purchase their own compostable utensils that the school could use in addition to utensil dispensers. Moving forward, they are looking to have a district meeting to campaign for the district wide shift as they originally planned. If that does not work, they are also campaigning to switch from a plastic packaged utensil, napkin, and straw to single items.

Eco-Preneaur Award – $250

Justin Sather from For the Love of Frogs
Carlsbad, CA

Justin has done many presentations to promote his own work and the new Grades of Green toolkit he has been developing. Justin also worked with multiple businesses to advocate for more sustainable products including ECOS and Native Shoes. He also won the Crate & Barrel Kids Changemakers prize and is currently aiming to advocate towards bigger businesses. Justin also did many outreach events/presentations with multiple organizations.

Eco Innovator Award – $250

For the Greener Good from Mira Costa High School
Manhattan Beach, CA

The students at Mira Costa High School decided to take on the topic of waste by educating their community and hosting multiple events. Their first event was a clothing swap to raise awareness about the harms of fast fashion and textile waste on the environment. This student-led team educated their school community about reducing textile waste while promoting sustainable fashion. Another event they hosted was a harbor clean-up event in which club members and friends took to the water on kayaks and paddle boards to clean up litter in the harbor.

Rookie of the Year Award – $250

Eco Crew from EDUSN International Digital School
Myanmar

Eco Crew was our first team from Myanmar that completed a social media/presentation campaign on how to reduce litter. This included many posts, videos, and graphics to express their care for the planet. They held multiple webinars about their initiatives and worked closely with other teams in the area.

Honorary Awards

Student of the Year

Ruthie Heis
Long Beach Poly High School
Long Beach, CA

Facilitator of the Year

Kerry Flores
Mary Bragg Elementary School
Cerritos, CA

International Student of the Year

Deshna Jain
To Environment, With Love
Kolkata, India

This season of giving, help fund our students’ and teachers’ most impactful environmental projects!

Last school year, Grades of Green awarded more than $15,000 in Eco-Grants and stipends to students and teachers around the world! 

Help us DOUBLE the amount we award in 2022 by donating today!

Each dollar you donate goes toward expanding the environmental impacts brought about by these amazing student environmentalists and their dedicated teachers.

Typically, each Eco-Grant ranges in value from our Grand Prize, $1,000 Eco-Grant, to $500 or $250. Teacher stipends also range in size from $500 for new teachers to $250 for those returning to our programs.

See How Our Eco-Grant Expands our Students’ Impact

To give you an idea of the outsized effect that our Eco-Grants and stipends have on students and teachers, we asked last year’s awardees to record a short video to showcase their project and what they plan to do with their new funding.

Please take a moment to watch the videos below and discover how you can positively impact both the environment and our students by helping us double the Eco-Grants that we provide.

Rylee from Redondo Union High School

Most Inspirational Team Award – $500
Redondo Beach, CA

Rylee and her team earned our $500 Eco-Grant to start their own website to educate and inspire the public to reduce their use of single-use plastics. Eco-Leaders like Rylee worked with state and local leaders to discuss problems caused by plastic, and how people can take action to fight the plastic pollution problem. Her team is helping pave the way to a greener plastic-free future!

Sam from Mira Costa High School

Green Influencers Award – $500
Manhattan Beach, CA

Eco-Leader Sam Torres and her team launched their viral campaign, “South Bay Meatless Mondays,” which gained major reach in their community. With their $500 Eco-Grant, the Mira Costa Team is excited to work on their vegetarian cookbook and host monthly beach cleanups. Thanks to Eco-Leaders like Sam and her team, sustainable eating habits are being made easier and more accessible to the public!

Ruthie from Helen Keller Middle School

Community Changemakers Award – $500
Long Beach, CA

Eco-Leader Ruthie and the Helen Keller Middle School team earned our $500 Eco-Grant for advocating to Long Beach Unified School District to commit to transition to 100% renewable energy by 2030. Her team collaborated with local government leaders, LBUSD staff, press outlets, and NGOs to keep up the pressure on the district. Their $500 Eco-Grant will fund eco-resources such as school gardens, bike racks, and recycling programs for underserved schools in Long Beach. Eco-Leaders like Ruthie and her team are one step closer to making their school district more sustainable!

Eunita from Matungu Community Charity Development

Grand Prize Winning Team – $1000
Nairobi, Kenya

Eunita and three other Eco-Leaders from the Matungu Community Charity Development earned our $1,000 Grand Prize Eco-Grant for planting 3,500 trees and more. They’re using their Eco-Grant to inspire local communities to plant more trees to expand their reforestation efforts. They’ve used the grant to purchase seeds, equipment, and establish a community nursery. Through Eunita and the Matungu Community Charity Development’s efforts, the Nairobi community is on its way to vastly reducing their carbon footprint!

Deshna and Devenganna from the Modern High School for Girls

International Changemaker Award – $250
Kolkata, India

The International Changemaker Award recipients, Deshna and Devenganna, and the Modern High School for Girls team are collecting e-waste and inspiring teen leaders to work on waste awareness around the world. With their $250 Eco-Grant, these Eco-Leaders are helping install solar panels in villages of Bihar, India, to make these villages more sustainable and eco-friendly!

Max from Weston High School

Rookie of the Year Award – $500
Weston, Massachusetts

Eco-Leader Max and the Weston High School team received the Rookie of the Year Award for their impressive work in inspiring their community to help them collect over 900 pounds of plastic bags. All those plastic bags are being used to create a public community bench for Weston residents. With their $500 Eco-Grant, Max and his team will be able to fund a plastic bailer at Weston waste transfer station to create a long-term solution to plastic bag recycling in Weston!

Halima from the Kishoka Youth Organization

Most Dynamic Team Award – $250
Mombasa, Kenya

The Most Dynamic Team Awardees, Eco-Leader Halima and the Kishoka Youth Organization, have successfully hosted interactive events to get their community to take on environmental issues. They held bike-riding events and planted mangroves to offset the removal of trees for a nearby highway construction project. With their $250 Eco-Grant, the Kishoka Youth Organization will be planting more mangroves and expanding outreach to more local schools and students. Their work will educate younger students and the greater community on the importance of mangroves and planting trees!

Mary Bragg Elementary

Best Elementary Impact Award – $500
Cerritos, CA

Mary Bragg went above and beyond. The team is enormous (over 50 kids) so they split into 3 groups. Each group voted on a group leader and held a weekly meeting where they set an agenda and met their goals. These 5th and 6th graders picked trees for their topic and decided to have each group focus on a different solution. Group one focused on increasing urban tree cover, group two focused on protecting tropical forests, and group three focused on reducing the heat island effect.

Meghana from Farmington High School

Most Collaborative Teams Award – $500
Farmington, MI

Students from Adams and Farmington Hills High Schools collaborated on a project to get their schools to ban styrofoam lunch trays and replace them with sustainable alternatives. These teams really put in the time and effort to work as a collective unit to try and get styrofoam banned in their cafeterias! You could tell that they were extremely organized and were always available to move their project forward.

We were so excited to partner with Kathy Kellogg Johnson of Kellogg Garden Products to rejuvenate the school garden at Kelso Elementary School in Inglewood, CA. This amazing event was featured by ABC7 and CBS2 – watch each clip below.

It was so much fun to spend the day with the students and staff of Kelso Elementary and to join Kathy, who will be receiving our first-ever Mother Earth Award at VERTE 2021 coming up on October 9th. We’d love you to join us at VERTE as we celebrate Grades of Green’s student Eco-Leaders!

We’re so excited to share the winners of the 2020-2021 Climate Solutions Campaign! Please explore the student teams who won Eco-Grants for their incredible environmental impact and those who we honored for their amazing efforts. You can also relive the fun by watching a recording of our live virtual announcement event, here.

Grand Prize Winner – $1,000

Matungu Community Development Charity
Nairobi, Kenya

Team MCDC was a wonderful team to work with during the Climate Solutions Campaign. They are a group of four motivated girls who are passionate about solving the climate crisis in their community and ended up inspiring their community to plant more than 3,500 tree saplings! From the start, they were committed to the campaign and it showed in their organization, coordination, and overall success of their project. They had clear goals on how to help their community and executed their project exceptionally well. 

South Bay Rotary Club Award – $1,000

The STEAM Express Team from Gardena High School
Gardena, CA

While researching the global climate impact of waste, the STEAM Express team from Gardena High School was very concerned about the environmental cost of fast fashion and textile waste. What really struck them was that 84% of donated clothes still end up going to the landfill. To do something about it, the STEAM Express team worked with local organizations like LAcarGUY and BizHaus, a co-working space where Grades of Green has an office, to collect old clothes. These caring students decided to turn the clothes they collected into blankets to be donated to local homeless shelters. For their dedication to the environment and to people in need, the students were chosen by the South Bay Rotary Club to receive a special Eco-Grant!

Best Elementary Impact Award – $500

The Mary Bragg Green Team at Mary Bragg Elementary School
Cerritos, CA

Mary Bragg went above and beyond. The team is enormous (over 50 kids) so they split into 3 groups. Each group voted on a group leader and held a weekly meeting where they set an agenda and met their goals. These 5th and 6th graders picked trees for their topic and decided to have each group focus on a different solution. Group one focused on increasing urban tree cover, group two focused on protecting tropical forests, and group three focused on reducing the heat island effect.

Green Influencers Award – $500

The “For the Greener Good” Team at Mira Costa High School
Manhattan Beach, CA

This team is 100% student-led with very little to no adult support. Sam Torres, a Junior, is the leader of the team and organizes everything from the meetings to the project and outreach. This team of about 40 students was very successful in inspiring their community to eat less meat and go meatless on Mondays. They garnered support from local businesses and engaging their audience to participate in their online challenge.

Community Advocates Award – $500

The Ecology & Wildlife Club at Whitney High School
Cerritos, CA

The dedicated Ecology and Wildlife Club at Whitney High School hosted a community tree sale to offset their school’s paper usage and surpassed their goal by distributing more than 120 trees. This team is very student-led with minimal adult support. They are extremely passionate, organized, and driven and worked very hard on their social media videos and infographics.

Community Changemaker Award – $500

The Keller Greenies at Helen Keller Middle School
Long Beach, CA

This team is exemplary! The students from Helen Keller Middle School teamed up with fellow Long Beach students to advocate for the commitment of the Long Beach Unified School District to transition to 100% renewable energy by 2030.  They are very capable and continually show that they’ll one day be future world leaders.

Most Inspirational Award – $500

The Redondo Reducers at Redondo Union High School
Redondo Beach, CA

The Redondo Reducers Club, led by long-time Grades of Green Eco-Leader, Rylee, hosted a Plastic Pollution Solutions Panel featuring state and local leaders that
dove deep into the most pressing issues around plastic pollution. Rylee worked very hard to pull together this panel which required her to coordinate with numerous community leaders to make it such a success.

Most Collaborative Teams Award – $500

Adams High School & Farmington High School
Rochester Hills, MI & Farmington, MI

Students from Adams and Farmington Hills High Schools collaborated on a project to get their schools to ban styrofoam lunch trays and replace them with sustainable alternatives. These teams really put in the time and effort to work as a collective unit to try and get styrofoam banned in their cafeterias! You could tell that they were extremely organized and were always available to move their project forward.

Rookie Team of the Year Award – $500

Weston High School
Weston, MA

The team from Weston High School, led by Max, collected more than 500 pounds of plastic bags from his community to repurpose into a public bench. Max worked to coordinate with many leaders in his community and they all responded positively. He is looking for a longer-term solution to the problem of plastic waste and plans to use his Eco-Grant to help fund a bailer for his local waste transfer station. He always managed to come through and get the work done!

International Changemaker Award – $250

The “To Environment, With Love” Team at the Modern High School for Girls
Kolkata, India

These girls are on a mission! Two high schoolers started an organization called “To Environment, With Love” in their community before participating in the Campaign. They called family friends, knocked on neighbors’ doors, made phone calls and started an Instagram page to start collecting recyclables such as e-waste, paper waste, and items that could be donated or upcycled. Although they started the campaign with an existing project, they were able to build on it significantly this school year. Not only did they expand their collection in their community, but they were also able to reach other high school students all over the world to start chapters in other cities. They now mentor those students to do the same thing they’re doing in their community.

Most Dynamic Team Award – $250

The Kishoka Youth Organization
Mombasa, Kenya

The students from the Kishoka Youth Organization hosted a bike ride event in their community where they planted 100 mangrove seedlings, in addition to conducting litter pick-ups, presenting at seminars and educating younger students on the importance of mangroves. The Kishoka Youth Organization is led by a very energetic and dedicated director who keeps his students active non-stop. He’s committed to empowering his students and wants them to learn and get involved in making environmental improvements. The team of kids made a ton of impact this year!

Honorary Awards

Best Student Innovator

Adriel Mar at Culver City Middle School
Culver City, CA

Adriel chose a difficult advocacy project – he created a food waste certification system for local businesses – with the potential to make a major impact on food waste in the future. Because of the scope of his Campaign, he is still early in the process, but he continues to be committed to his project and has laid significant groundwork for his goals.

Most Enthusiastic Team

The “Mission Unsoakable” Team at Rogers Middle School
Long Beach, CA

Mission Unsoakable checked every educational goal in the RISE campaign outline. They used all their guidebook materials, learned a TON about project management, used every resource available, and made terrific use of their Ask the Expert meeting. They were truly the most enthusiastic team and showed so much dedication to their project!

Best Team Name

The “Jeez We Like Trees” Team at Nathaniel Hawthorne Middle School 74
Queens, NY

What a great team name from Nathanial Hawthorne! This team was heavily student-led, holding their own virtual meetings and organizing their ideas and thoughts. This creative and fun team had an awesome project: they planted trees outside their school to filter polluted air from the nearby docks.

Best Alumni Team

The HEAR Club from the California Academy of Mathematics and Science
Carson, CA

What a high effort, high-functioning team! The HEAR Club has always been an awesome team to work with. This year, the team focused on fighting fashion waste by repurposing used clothes into 150+ dog toys for Gone to the Dogs Rescue. They partnered with long-time Grades of Green supporter, Subaru Pacific, to collect donated clothes and made a lot of dogs very happy!

Best Elementary School Team Facilitator

Roberto Escala at Goethe International Charter School
Los Angeles, CA

Best Middle or High School Team Facilitator

Jean Posada at Nathaniel Hawthorne Middle School 74
Queens, NY

This Earth Month, Grades of Green students across the South Bay are taking action to protect our planet and they need your help! Check out these opportunities for you to help our students make the South Bay healthier, cleaner and greener throughout April!


Clean Up Litter and Turn Your Trash into Treasured Art – April 17

El Segundo 9th-Grader, Addison, and our student team from Goethe Elementary invite you to join the El Segundo Museum of Art and the El Segundo Public Library to clean up litter and learn how to create art out of waste. It’s a fun way to clean up your community and learn how to reuse items so they don’t enter the waste stream.

Learn all about it by watching this video made by Addison, a 9th-Grader from El Segundo.

Please support Addison and the Goethe team’s efforts and join their virtual presentation on turning your trash into treasure!


Help Reforest Wildfire-Affected Areas with Manhattan Beach Middle School

Help fight climate change by planting trees for Earth Month. The MBMS Grades of Green team is fundraising to reforest areas of California affected by wildfire and drought. Each dollar donated to our One Tree Planted fundraiser will plant 1 tree in California. Watch the video below to see why trees are so important in protecting our planet and fighting climate change and then click here to donate to their fundraiser.

Anyone who donates $5 or more can fill out this form to be entered into a raffle to win gift certificates to Deep Roots Garden Center and International Garden Center.


Join the Mira Costa High School’s Meatless Monday Campaign

High school junior and Grades of Green veteran, Sam Torres, has partnered with Southern California small businesses to encourage more planet-friendly diets through her Grades of Green Club’s #MeatlessMonday campaign. Members of the public who post pictures of their plant-based meals are entered into a giveaway featuring gift cards and items from a new business every Monday. The campaign ends April 25th, so don’t miss your chance to green your diet and enter to win some awesome prizes!


The Green Queens from Grand View Challenge You to Plant Native Plants!

We can’t recycle out of the problem…Reduce your use! 

Did you know that 8 million metric tons of plastic enters the ocean each year? This equals one trash truck dumping its load of plastic into the ocean every minute of every day.

Rylee Goldfarb, a 10th-grade student from Redondo Beach is passionate about creating a healthier world and is partnering with the creators of The Story of Plastic for the Redondo Reducers Club’s Reduce Your Use Campaign. The panel discussion will dive deep into the most pressing issues around plastic pollution and reflect on the themes of the award-winning documentary.

About The Story of Plastic: The Story of Plastic is a searing expose revealing the ugly truth behind plastic pollution and the false solution of plastic recycling. From the extraction of fossil fuels and plastic disposal to the global resistance fighting back, The Story of Plastic is a life-changing film depicting one of the world’s most pressing environmental issues. Watch The Story of Plastic trailer!

Register for our panel discussion and get the opportunity to see this groundbreaking documentary for free!

Watch a Recording of the Discussion!

Event Details:

  • March 25 – May 1: Watch The Story of Plastic for FREE by registering for the Panel
  • April 1, 7 PM PST: Join the virtual Plastic Pollution Solutions Panel and hear from leaders and environmental professionals tackling plastic pollution

Meet The Panelists!

Samuel Liu

Deputy Chief of Staff for State Senator Ben Allen representing the Westside and Coastal South Bay in the State Legislature

In his role as the Deputy Chief of Staff, Samuel serves as a strategic senior advisor to Senator Allen and oversees the operations of the District office. Prior to that, Samuel ran Senator Allen’s successful campaign for State Senate in 2014 and most recently ran the successful Senate campaign for State Senator-elect Henry Stern.
He brings prior experience working in the State Legislature for then Assemblymember Ted Lieu and has also worked for the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, the Alliance for Children’s Rights as well as the Citizens’ Commission on Jail Violence. He is an alumnus of the New Leader’s Council fellowship program and served on the board of the Asian Professional Exchange and the Asian Pacific American Legislative Staff Network in leadership positions.
Samuel has a Juris Doctorate degree from Loyola Law School and a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley.

Anika Ballent

Education Director, Algalita Marine Research and Education Center

Anika has been studying and educating about the plastics issue since 2010. Her academic background is in the Earth Sciences.  During her undergrad at Jacobs University Bremen she studied how microplastics move underwater, and she later completed a Masters in Geology at the University of Western Ontario studying microplastics in the sediments of Lake Ontario. Since then, she’s been developing educational content around the complexities of the plastics issue at the non-profit Algalita to empower and prepare young people to take action on this issue.

Allie Bussjaeger

Director of Impact and Sustainability, human-I-T

For the past decade, Allie has worked with environmental nonprofits to cultivate behavior changes to protect our planet. Currently, Allie is the Director of Impact and Sustainability at human-I-T, a nonprofit that takes technology that would normally be recycled or sent to a landfill and refurbished it to redistribute to low-income families. Previously, she served as the Recycling Center Coordinator at California State University, Long Beach, where she oversaw the recycling center, as well as the Co-Executive Director at Grades of Green, a nonprofit dedicated to inspiring kids to care for the earth.

What’s the Reduce Your Use Campaign?

Click here to learn more about Rylee and the Reduce Your Use Campaign!

While the New Year was settling in, our Eco-Leaders were hard at work spreading the word about sustainability and the environment!

Everyday Environmentalist – Teen Edition

Sam Torres and Rylee Goldfarb joined as guest speakers for South Bay Cares’ “Every Day Environmentalist – Teen Edition” webinar. They inspired us with their passion for the environment and shared how we can all make sustainable changes to how we approach fashion, food, and single-use plastic. 

Watch a recording and get wowed by Rylee and Sam!





Get Real with Alissa Stevens Podcast

Grades of Green student Max Riley, co-founder Kim Martin, and Advisor Robyn Murphy spoke about advocating for the environment from home with Ecopreneur Alissa Stevens on her podcast “Get Real with Alissa Stevens.”  

Listen to the podcast and get inspired, here.