Calling all Climate Change Heroes, Activists, Changemakers

Are you working to engage Americans in climate advocacy and action? Have you made important progress, even during this time of compounded crises? Could your work be a model of replication for others to follow? If so, apply for the American Climate Leadership Awards 2021 (ACLA21)

ACLA21, hosted by ecoAmerica, recognizes, rewards, and shares best practices on climate change advocacy and action in America. We are proud to offer money, support, and national recognition to climate leaders and organizations building political resolve for climate action at local, regional, and national levels, particularly those who center diversity, inclusion, and justice in their work. 

$155,000 in CASH AWARDS

We invite you to submit your applications for current programming that demonstrates measurable results. ACLA21 is looking for effective and innovative programs and compelling storytellers who can articulate how they are building public support to slow and/or stop climate change in ways that are just, inclusive and equitable, and help to dismantle racism and environmental racism during our unprecedented time of multiple crises. Submissions are due by December 15, 2020; Semifinalists will be announced on January 15, 2021. Learn More About the Awards. Watch our informational webinar.

NOMINATE someone making a difference or APPLY NOW

Prestigious Awards Committee

The 2021 Selection Committee currently includes Attorney and Couchiching First Nation Anishinaabe and former Native adviser to Bernie Sanders Tara Houska, Climate Hero Gus Speth, Executive Director of USCAN Keya Chatterjee, APHA President Georges Benjamin, MD, 35th Mayor of Salt Lake City Jackie Biskupski, Harvard School of public health and environment Professor of Environmental Epidemiology and Physiology Marc Weisskopf, Executive Director of To Nizhoni Ani Nicole Horseherder and Green Muslims Climate Change Advocate Sofia Gilani. NRDC President and CEO Gina McCarthy will be chairing the Committee again this year. The Committee welcomes your submissions to encourage further climate action and provide examples of creative and inspiring programs for others to follow. Please apply today.

Watch the 2020 awards on-demand to hear from Selection Committee Chair Gina McCarthy, see short videos featuring the finalists, and watch the announcement of the runner up and winner HERE. Take a look at 2020’s top 10 finalists HERE.

Learn More About the Awards

What will the winners receive?

10 finalists will receive: 

  • $10,000 to further your work.   
  • Prominent recognition at the American Climate Leadership Summit 2021 and in key communications before, during, and after the event.
  • Media coverage, including social and traditional media. 

One runner up will receive a total of $25,000. And, the winner will receive a total of $50,000! Both will be announced live during the awards ceremony at ACLS 2021. 

How do you apply?

  • Apply – Any eligible individual or organization can submit an application using this form by the December 15 deadline. Whether you are deepening your work in one community or scaling your program nationally, we invite you to apply to showcase your climate leadership.
  • Nominate If you know of a climate hero that you believe is deserving of this award, please nominate them here, and we will invite them to apply. If you’re an applicant, feel free to ask your mentors to nominate you as well.
  • Top 30 – After reviewing all applications, 30 of the most promising submissions will be named Semifinalists, and invited to submit more detailed proposals for finalist consideration. The Top 30 Semifinalists will be promoted in ecoAmerica communications and online, receiving recognition for their progress thus far in the awards process.
  • Top 10 Semifinalist submissions will be reviewed, and from this group, ten finalists will be selected, notified, and promoted as finalists for the Climate Leadership Awards 2021. During the 2021 American Climate Leadership Summit, the winner and runner-up will be announced live in front of several hundred attendees. 

What are the eligibility requirements?

The American Climate Leadership Awards seeks submissions from initiatives that have: 

  • Demonstrated leadership on climate change, specifically those who have successfully engaged Americans to build public support and political resolve for climate solutions.A strong track record of positive climate action, including clear program objectives, effective tactics, and measurable results. 
  • Successful programs or initiatives that can be replicated by others with success.
  • Centered diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice in their work.
  • Are for current programming only (plans for future programs will not be considered). 

How will my application be evaluated?

The Selection Committee for ACLA21, shown here, is comprised of climate experts and leaders from across a diversity of  sectors and constituencies, who will score the submissions based on the following criteria:

  • Impact and a track record of success, including measurable key success metrics
  • Replicability, in other words, how easily another person or organization could follow your example and recreate a similar program for another region or constituency. Please share your effective tactics.
  • Diversity, equity, and inclusion, demonstrating how your program has centered DEI and justice and worked to dismantle racism and environmental racism 

The Committee will also consider secondary criteria including:

  • Innovation, including new, novel or uniquely effective tactics 
  • Effective storytelling including demonstrating the success of how your program built public support and/or political will to slow and/or stop climate change

More information can be found on the application form

Who should apply?

    • Transformational leaders who are employing innovative methods to engage a diversity of Americans in climate change solutions locally, regionally, or nationally.
    • Individuals and not for profit entities, including but not limited to those who engage or represent local communities, health, faith, and youth constituencies. 

Awards 2021 Timeline 

  • Oct 19 Informational webinar >> Register HERE
  • Nov 15 Nomination period closes 
  • Dec 15 Applications due 
  • Jan 15, 2021 30 Semifinalists announced 
  • Feb 8, 2021 Final proposals due from Semifinalists
  • Mar 15, 2021 10 Finalists announced 
  • Apr 27, 2021 Runner up and Winner announced live at the 2021 American Climate Leadership Summit.  Apply HERE.

For more information: [email protected]

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