Captain Planet Foundation: Grants for K-12 Education

OVERVIEW: The Captain Planet Foundation supports K-12 ecology education through its grantmaking and inhouse educational programs.

IP TAKE: The Captain Planet Foundation provides small grants to schools and nonprofits to foster problem solving, leadership and the use of technology in ecology and ecology education. This foundation also runs several internal ecology education programs.

PROFILE: The Captain Planet Foundation was established in 1990 by Barbara Pyle, co-producer of the Captain Planet and the Planeteers children’s television show, with a percentage of the show’s merchandising revenue. Based in Atlanta Georgia, the foundation is run by Laura Turner Seydel, the daughter of Ted Turner, who produced the show with Pyle. The foundation seeks not only to educate, but also to "inspire and empower" the children of today to become environmentally mindful adults—or better yet, the next generation of environmental leaders, and its grants are designed to reach as many children as possible toward that end. This foundation “invests in high-quality, solution-based programs that embrace STEM learning and empower youth to become local and global environmental change makers.”

The Captain Planet Foundation runs two grantmaking programs that center on youth leadership (ecosolution) and technology (ecotech) in ecology education. Ecosolution grants support youth led projects that “result in real environmental outcomes.” Past ecosolution grantees include the Celebration School in Celebration, Florida, where students planted a flower garden that attracts various pollinating insects to the area. In contrast, Ecotech grants aim to help students and teachers explore the ways in which technology can help to solve some environmental problems. In Portland, Maine, students at Lincoln Middle School used technology to explore biology and water quality at a local pond. Other funded projects may be explored on the foundation’s Grant Success Stories page.

In addition to the ecosolution and ecotech grantmaking programs, the Captain Planet Foundation runs several internal programs that offer STEM curricula kits, classroom gardening programs, online learning programs, and professional development in the area of ecology education.

Ecosolution and ecotech grants range from $500 to $2,500. Ecosolution grants provide monetary support to grantees, while ecotech grants must be used for the purchase of technology. This foundation mainly funds projects in the U.S., but participates in international projects through its many partnerships with other funders. Guidelines are provided on the foundation’s website, as well as a link to the online application system.