Ray C. Anderson Foundation Awards More Than $600,000 in Grants to Universities and Environmental Organizations

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The Ray C. Anderson Foundation has awarded more than $600,000 in 2013 to universities and environmental organizations, mainly in the Southeast.

We certainly saw a great need in our own region for funding, and going forward we hope to advance the cause of sustainability in our corner of the world in particular.

The Ray C. Anderson Foundation is pleased to announce that it has awarded grants in the first two quarters of 2013 totaling more than $600,000 in support of environmental initiatives and sustainability research. The grants are awarded and paid in keeping with the organization’s desire to advance the legacy of Ray C. Anderson (1934-2011), beloved founder and chairman of Interface, Inc. and globally recognized “pioneer for the environment.”

The Gray Notes Grant Program is the Foundation’s official funding vehicle, named after the "gray notes" that Ray used to send questions and comments to Interface associates, thus challenging and inspiring them in their next steps to action.

In February 2013, the Foundation issued a public request for proposals (RFP) to environmental nonprofit organizations, and an invitation only RFP was sent to more than 70 colleges and universities, mainly within the Southeast.

“The response was overwhelming,” said John Lanier, the Foundation’s Director. “I think it opened our eyes to just how many organizations are doing outstanding work across the country. We certainly saw a great need in our own region for funding, and going forward we hope to advance the cause of sustainability in our corner of the world in particular.”

University Research Program Grants Paid in 2013:

Auburn University – Renewal grant for Dr. Jin Wang’s research program in the Department of Chemical Engineering entitled “Next-generation Control Solutions for Sustainable Manufacturing in Pulp Mills.” The team will be working to reduce the energy intensity and chemical consumption associated with the continuous digester process in an effort to improve the manufacturing sustainability and competitiveness of the industry.

Clark Atlanta University – “Fabrication of Bio-based Biodegradable Composites by Green Incorporation of Renewable Nanomaterials into Bio-based Polymers.” The use of nanomaterials as fillers has been expanding, but many are derived from unsustainable sources. Several bio-based, biodegradable polymer systems have been developed, but they need to be processed into composites that meet rigors of durability for consumer needs. Dr. Eric Mintz and his team at CAU will use their grant to explore the incorporation of biobased cellulose nanocrystals into green polymers to make the process more sustainable.

Emory University – Grant to Ciannat Howett, J.D., to hire a Distinguished Teaching Fellow in the area of sustainability leadership and behavior change from a top sustainability doctoral program; enhance Emory's nationally-renowned interdisciplinary faculty development program, the Piedmont Project, to create new research-based, engaged-learning courses; develop a sequenced-learning internship program to apply research skills and sustainability knowledge to assist campus and Atlanta organizations and to create a mentorship program pairing students with business or nonprofit leaders.

Georgia Institute of Technology – Renewal grant for Dr. Yulin Deng’s research project in the School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering entitled “Green Polyurethanes from 100% Sustainable Natural Materials through Non-isocyanate Reactions.” One of the major goals of this project is to synthesize polyurethanes using natural materials instead of petroleum, and to create an intermediate product that will have applications in various industries.

Georgia Institute of Technology – Grant to Dr. Kevin Haas for a research project entitled “Development of Small Scale Marine Hydrokinetic Turbines.” U.S. Department of Energy studies have shown that tidal streams in coastal Georgia (and much of the coastal United States), have the potential to provide upwards of 50 gigawatts of power; a viable source of energy in an untapped market.

Georgia State University – On-site sustainability education faculty workshop training and development will be offered through the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) for 40 faculty members across multiple disciplines at GSU. The Foundation has also provided support for a faculty mini-grants program related to sustainability and the environment. Project leaders are Dr. Dabney Dixon and Dr. Michael Black.

University of Southern Mississippi – Renewal grant for Dr. Sarah Morgan’s project in the School of Polymers and High Performance Materials entitled “Increasing Polymer Solar Cell Efficiency through Structures Inspired by Nature.” The project goal is to increase the efficiency of solar cells to make them more viable, resulting in faster paybacks and greater market acceptance.

Grants Paid to Environmental Organizations in 2013:

Association for Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) – Sustainable Campus Consumption Video Series for colleges and universities

Bainbridge Graduate Institute – General Operating Support; Developing Intellectual Property into Sustainable Business

Biomimicry Institute – Education Summit and Global Conference

Captain Planet Foundation – CPF’s Small Grants program

Chattahoochee Nature Center – General Operating Support

Chattahoochee Riverkeeper – Helping Georgia’s Industries Reduce Stormwater Pollution

David Suzuki Foundation – General Operating Support

Earth Island Institute – New Leaders Institute Conference

Earth Policy Institute – Clean water and environmental education initiative

Georgia Conservancy – Coastal sea level rise project

Georgia Interfaith Power & Light – General Operating Support

Georgia Research Alliance – General Operating Support

Georgia State University – Marketing Capstone Project

Green Chamber of the South – Greenhouse Accelerator Program

Harvard University Center for Health and the Global Environment – General Operating Support

LaGrange Academy – General Operating Support; Energy Efficiency Upgrades

The Land Institute – Natural Systems Agriculture

National Wildlife Federation – Atlanta Earth Tomorrow

Rocky Mountain Institute – General Operating Support

Southeastern Council of Foundations – Annual Conference

Southern Environmental Law Center – General Operating Support

Southface – Southface Fund and General Operating Support

Southwings – General Operating Support and Conservation Initiatives

Sustainable Atlanta – General Operating Support

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About The Ray C. Anderson Foundation

The Ray C. Anderson Foundation is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization that seeks to promote a sustainable society by supporting and funding educational and project-based initiatives that advance knowledge and innovation in sustainability.

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Valerie Bennett
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