Celebrating our Stories of Change Program

The goal of our Stories of Change Program is to cultivate and communicate stories of young people taking climate action across the United States, inspired by programming, events and toolkits from The Climate Initiative (TCI). From creating and leading climate action projects that engage and inspire communities to asking pointed questions to policy and decision makers, high school and college-aged youth are leading their communities in building a more sustainable future.

The Climate Initiative’s (TCI) inaugural Changemaker Awards competition celebrates and elevates these stories on a national platform.

The Changemaker Awards will award both individuals and groups/teams of youth across U.S. regions and territories who submit the most impactful climate action stories according to our Awards Criteria. The awards include grants for education/self-selected goals, furthering climate action work in communities and within schools, and special opportunities for expense-paid climate action experiences through TCI. These stories will serve as inspiration and actionable examples to other youth looking for meaningful ways to start conversations and climate action projects within their own communities and beyond.

Meet the 2022 1st Place Changemaker Award Recipients:
Maya Lis & Compost For All Team!

About two years ago, as I sat on my floor amidst the pandemic thinking, I couldn’t get the picture of the deteriorating environment out of my mind. I felt that with the lack of composting accessibility within Orlando, it was time to take a stand. So, I began planning a nonprofit aimed to reduce greenhouse gasses while improving soil and water quality throughout Orlando Florida. I entered the TCI Hackathon which gave my team a wonderful opportunity to come up with a thorough plan.

From the competition, although unsuccessful, we went on to receive funding and were able to begin the non-profit.

Today, Compost For All Corp. is a 501 (c)(3) certified nonprofit with over 500 composter sales and has educated over 10,000 people on the power of composting!

Learn more about Compost For all here: Compost For All Website

Submit Your Story of Change

Changemaker Awards Judging Criteria

Changemaker Awards
Students in the Gulf of Maine Field Studies Class working on a climate action project with the goal of mitigating of invasive species. Resources utilized: Gulf of Maine Field Studies Class*, Invasive Species Learning Lab. *TCI is a GoMFS class community partner*

Submission Categories: Individual & Group

Formats: Video (URL), Podcast/Audio Files, Written, Imagery/Photo

Story of Change Climate Action Area(s): Oceans, Weather, Climate Equity and Justice, Energy, Footprint, Species, Other.

Story of Change Specific Topic: Sea Level Rise, Ocean Warming and Acidification, Soil and Beach Erosion, Climate Equity and Justice, Alternative/Renewable Energy, Carbon footprint, Transportation, Consumption, Plastics, Wildfires, Drought, Flood, Invasive Species, Pollinators, Species Extinction, Other.

Changemaker Awards Regions:

East Coast: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont: New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, District of Columbia, West Virginia, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and all federally recognized tribal areas within the East Coast region.

Central: Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Wisconsin, Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, Wyoming and all federally recognized tribal areas within the Central region.

West Coast: Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Guam, American Samoa, Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands, Republic of Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, Washington, and all federally recognized tribal areas within the West Coast region.

Changemaker Awards Prizing:

Individual/Group: Announced in December 2022, rolling entries throughout the year for individual submissions

PRIZING 1st ($500), 2nd ($300), 3rd ($250) = Total of three winners in our inaugural year of submissions (2022). Winners must be U.S. residents in our inaugural year. 2023 onwards there will be a total of 12 winners (3 from each region). One national winner announced from this pool.

If within the age requirements for the Collegiate Climate Policy Institute (CCPI), the national winner will also receive an expense paid trip to our Collegiate Climate Policy Institute (CCPI).

Group/Learning Lab Specific:  Submissions accepted through June 20th, 2023. Winners will be announced on June 30th, 2023.

PRIZING (awarded to Sponsor School) 1st ($1,000), 2nd ($750), 3rd ($500). One national winner announced from this pool.

Prize grant goes directly to the school to further climate action projects via the Learning Lab program. TCI will also submit a local press release to media outlets within the winning geography to promote the school’s Changemaker Awards Story of Change. ALL Sponsor Teachers receive a personalized award certificate. The national winning teacher will be offered an expense-paid trip to TCI’s Annual National Climate Education Teacher’s Retreat in August of the calendar year.


Please direct any questions about our Changemaker Awards program to programs@theclimateinitiative.org