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.

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.

Submit Your Story of Change

Changemaker Awards Judging Criteria


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

PRIZING 1st ($500), 2nd ($300), 3rd ($250) = Total of 12 winners for three regions. One national winner announced from this pool.

National winner additionally wins a TCI-expense paid video spot and interview. If within the age requirements for the Collegiate Climate Policy Institute (CCPI), the winner will also receive an expense paid trip to our Collegiate Climate Policy Institute (CCPI).

Group: *WON’T START UNTIL 2023: Announced in May 2023, rolling entries throughout the year for group submissions

PRIZING (awarded to Sponsor School) 1st ($1,000), 2nd ($750), 3rd ($500) = Total of 12 winners for three regions. One national winner announced from this pool.

Prize grant goes directly to the school to further climate action projects. 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. Sponsor Teachers (12 total) receive a personalized award certificate. The national winning sponsor teacher (selected from the four 1st place regional winners) will be offered an expense paid trip to TCI’s Annual National Climate Education Teacher’s Retreat in August of the calendar year.

Judges and Official Changemaker Awards Rules will be released by end of August, 2022. Please stay tuned for more information! In the meantime, please direct any questions about our Changemaker Awards program to programs@theclimateinitiative.org