A little money can go a long way in raising local consciousness and building models that the average citizen can appreciate. For the second year in a row, the city government of Minneapolis is sponsoring a program that will distribute about $90K of its own money and the same amount of matching donations to individuals and groups who can make the most impact on reducing the local “warming footprint.”

The grants give organizations funding to launch a variety of creative and unique programs aimed at educating people about global warming on a personal level, as opposed to spreading information through brochures and pamphlets, Prest said.

“We knew we wanted to do something on climate change in terms of working with the public,” she said. “When it really got down to it, we didn’t want to keep inundating them with educational materials on global warming.”

Some previous projects have focused on raising awareness through energy fairs and community get-togethers. Other projects have worked with businesses to increase their energy efficiency.

The Longfellow Community Council received one of the $10,000 innovation grants in 2008, and used the funding to help renters and landlords conserve energy and save money, Joanna Solotaroff , a community organizer with the council, said.

Part of the grant funded workshops to teach renters techniques to reduce energy and heating bills. The rest of the money went to a program that provided up to $500 in matching funds to landlords working to improve the energy efficiency of their properties.