Georgetown University 2019 Laudato Si’ Fund

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The application period for the 2019 Laudato Si Fund is now closed.  Learn more about the funded proposals.

The Georgetown University 2019 Laudato Si’ Fund, named after Pope Francis’s groundbreaking encyclical on environmental justice, is a $300,000 fund available to support projects and programs led by faculty, students and/or staff that advance positive outcomes through activities in research, education, institutional action and/or engagement. The Fund is intended to deepen alignment between Georgetown’s ongoing sustainability efforts, our core mission as a Jesuit University, and Pope Francis’ encyclical, Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home – strengthening our responses to global and local sustainability challenges.  

About the Fund

The Fund seeks to support initiatives which help fulfill the vision, principles, practices and goals below, which have been developed as part of an ongoing strategic sustainability planning effort


As a global research university guided by our Catholic and Jesuit heritage, Georgetown University is committed to engaging the complex issues of sustainability to advance the common good for current and future generations. 

We are inspired by Pope Francis’ encyclical, Laudato Si’, and the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals as we embrace the call to “care for our common home.” 

Our approach seeks to be inclusive of all members of our university community and all our physical campuses, both across D.C. and around the world. We seek to positively impact the external communities and partners with whom we work and to meaningfully and materially improve the planet we call home.

Sustainability Principles

  • Respect and embrace the inter-connection of everyone and everything
  • Celebrate and protect the diversity and vitality of all living things
  • Promote health and well-being, joy and delight for all persons to flourish
  • Advance justice for all with whom we share our common home

Sustainability Practices

  • Establish short-, medium-, and long-term targets that enable us to continually improve and optimize our performance
  • Measure, evaluate and communicate the comprehensive impacts of our actions and behaviors in an ongoing and iterative manner
  • Foster a culture of decision-making which responds to the past and present while valuing and protecting the future
  • Pursue sustainability as a process of recurring self-reflection that spurs critical engagement with personal and institutional ethics
  • Equip and encourage all members of our community – including faculty, staff, students, alumni and partners – to contribute to the common good

Sustainability Goals

Pursue Innovative Research

  • Cultivate research across disciplines to advance new understandings of sustainability in theory and practice
  • Contribute to the local, national, and global dialogue in a manner which informs and improves policies and practices 

Educate Leaders in Sustainability

  • Prepare our students to lead through dedicated curricula, pedagogy, and experiential learning
  • Leverage our setting as a real-world community to create immersive, place-based learning for all
  • Foster a culture of sustainability and resilience within the university at the individual and community levels 

Lead through Institutional Action

  • Restore clean and healthy air, water and natural ecosystems, and foster resilience through the design and operations of our physical campuses
  • Produce environmental and social benefits through purposeful procurement of products and services and the intentional use, reuse, and recycling of material goods
  • Support our students, faculty, and staff in developing and scaling innovative practices which achieve sustainable outcomes in a performance-based manner
  • Advance care for our common home through our institutional investments 

Engage Locally and Globally

  • Engage in partnerships and collaborations locally and globally to advance positive outcomes for sustainability
  • Integrate our sustainability goals with those of our local and regional communities and jurisdictions
  • Convene leaders in dialogue to advance common solutions
  • Serve our partners and communities in work to achieve their own sustainability goals

This grant fund opportunity is generously supported by philanthropy.

Please review the information in each of the following sections before applying. 

All current Georgetown University faculty and staff, and current students with at least one full academic year remaining, are eligible to submit proposals to the Laudato Si’ fund.  Any projects that are primarily research-based nature must either have a full-time faculty member as a principal investigator (PI) or co-PI on the project, or in the case of student research projects, must have a full-time faculty member as a formal advisor.

Proposals can be for initiatives in one or more of the following categories: pursue innovative research, educate leaders in sustainability, lead through institutional action, and/or engage locally and globally. We expect to award approximately 6-10 proposals for projects, programs and/or thought-leader convenings in the $10k-$50k range.

Successful proposals will:

  • Demonstrate alignment with the University’s core mission of teaching, research, and service and be responsive to Laudato Si’s call to “care for our common home;”
  • Demonstrate a holistic approach to sustainability that seeks to drive positive social, environmental and economic outcomes;
  • Clearly articulate how the project, program, or initiative will help achieve one or more of the sustainability goals listed above; 
  • Describe a clear plan and structure for the project or program, including what you will do, what outcomes will be achieved, who you will collaborate with, and how the project, program, or initiative will communicate with or engage members of the University community (e.g. students, faculty, staff, alumni, and/or external partners);
  • Have potential to catalyze positive impact beyond the scope of the specific project;
  • If convening thought leaders, these convenings can incorporate partners external to Georgetown but must also engage members of the Georgetown community;
  • Demonstrate evidence of collaboration.

  • Feasible within Timeframe: Successful applicants must implement the proposed project, program or initiative by April 15, 2020; strong proposals will show that the project is feasible within this timeframe.
  • Collaboration: Projects should demonstrate collaboration among the Georgetown community, including current students, faculty and/or staff.  
  • Student-led Projects: For projects led by students, the student lead(s) must be enrolled full-time for the duration of the project, and must identify an appropriate faculty or staff member to serve as an advisor to the project.
  • Evidence of Support from Necessary Parties: If the proposed concept requires collaboration or approval (e.g. from University Services, Facilities, an external partner, or another office), your application should demonstrate clear evidence of support for the project from these parties.
  • Communications: Have a plan for sharing and disseminating outcomes, findings and/or learnings.
  • Evaluation: Describe how you will measure the success of your initiative.
  • Long Term Maintenance Plan: If applicable, projects should have a long-term maintenance plan.

Following successful implementation, awardees of the Georgetown University 2019 Laudato Si’ Fund will be required to submit a report on their project’s finances and outcomes no later than April 15, 2020. Financial reports must include an itemized expense report and copies of receipts in order to maintain compliance with the University’s financial accounting processes. Reports on outcomes should include a short write-up describing the project’s activities, results, and any photos, visuals, or documents generated as a result of the project. You may also be asked to participate in a Laudato Si’ Fund awardee event in the 2019-2020 school year.

The fund is managed by the Office of Sustainability in collaboration with the working group on a Sustainable University of the Future. Proposals will be reviewed and selected by a review panel inclusive of faculty, students, and staff convened by the Office of Sustainability.

Proposals will be assessed based on how strongly they meet the criteria above and fulfill the intent of the Fund.  Projects will also be considered based on overall scope and budget compared to availability of funds.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to Giulia Manno, Sustainability Program and Metrics Manager, at with any questions.