Give us Your Two Cents!
The What, Why, How of this critical giving program
What: Two Cents for Compost is a voluntary donation program in which compost producers agree to pay into a fund that will be managed by the Composting Council Research and Education Foundation (CCREF), an independent 501(c)(3).
Why: To establish a long-term funding mechanism so that the CCREF can make grants for research and education needed to improve the quantity and quality of compost produced and sold in the US.
How: On an annual basis, producers will pay $0.02 per ton of compost that they sell, or a penny per cubic yard. This money will be placed in a dedicated fund that will be distributed by the CCREF. After establishing grant-making criteria, the CCREF will use an open RFP process to solicit proposals for research and education projects. It is anticipated that the CCREF will cover its operating costs through other means, so that 100% of the funds collected will be distributed for research and education.
To encourage broad participation in the program, entities that are not compost producers can certainly take part and contribute to this program.
As a 501(c)(3) organizations, all money paid to the fund would be considered a charitable donation and so may be eligible as a tax deduction.
Goal: $100,000 per year, by year 2. Last year there was about 3.2 million tons of Seal of Testing Assurance (STA) compost sold. At 2 cents per ton that would raise $64,000, and that’s just STA compost. We know that represents less than half the compost sold in the country, but since it is unlikely we can get every producer to participate, netting $100,000 a year is a reasonable goal. Non-compost producers, such as equipment manufacturers, consultants or other foundations, will also be encouraged to contribute to this fund.
Projects: High priority and time sensitive research and education projects that are national in scope have been given preference for funding by the CCREF. These include the funding of a national communications campaign, conducting a compost industry economic study, reviewing and revising the Test Methods for Evaluating Composting & Compost (TMECC).
 From the National Ag Law Center: Checkoff programs, also referred to as research and promotion programs, promote and provide research and information for a particular agricultural commodity without reference to specific producers or brands. The term “check off” is derived from programs that were not mandatory; producers marked a check off box if they wished to contribute to the program. Producers and handlers usually finance these programs from assessments charged on a per unit basis of the marketed commodity. Check off programs attempt to improve the market position of the covered commodity by expanding markets, increasing demand, and developing new uses and markets.