Who is Alternative?

Alternative is a fashion lifestyle brand that makes simply designed, easy-to-wear, eco-friendly apparel.  

What is Alternative Grants?

Alternative Grants is a program designed to support grassroots community improvement projects. Alternative invites everyone to propose projects they would like to see realized in the San Francisco community. We'll select the most promising ideas, host a party where the organizers each give a public presentation, and then the community decides who receives the Alternative Grant to make their project possible.

How does it work? 

For each edition of Alternative Grants, we partner with a passionate individual that inspires our Grant theme. In April 2013, we launched the program with renegade gardener, Ron Finley around the theme of Gardening & Agriculture in Venice, CA. This winter, we present the second edition with social entrepreneur Mike Del Ponte focused on Sustainability in Design & Technology in San Francisco, CA. Here's how it works:


  1. Alternative solicits proposals for projects related to Sustainability in Design & Technology during a three-week submission period.
  2. Alternative reviews all submissions and selects five projects as finalists.  
  3. These finalists are invited to give a brief 3-5 minute project pitch at a party at our San Francisco store.  
  4. The winner will be chosen via online and in-store voting.  

What's the Award?

A one-year membership at TechShop San Francisco, residency classes and $1,000 to support the creation of a product prototype.

TechShop is part fabrication and prototyping studio, part hackerspace and part learning center. The studio provides access to over $1 million worth of professional equipment and software, comprehensive instruction and expert staff.

Mike Del Ponte, Grants Ambassador

This Alternative Grant was inspired by social entrepreneur Mike Del Ponte and his commitment to sustainability in design and technology. Mike is the co-founder and CEO of Soma, a San Francisco based company that makes the world's most innovative water filters and beautiful glass carafes to provide healthy drinking water.  

Mike Del Ponte

Soma water filter and glass carafe

Soma water filter and glass carafe

Mike is also the founder and former CEO of Sparkseed, a global nonprofit investing in the most promising young social entrepreneurs. Mike’s leadership earned Sparkseed a Financial Times Social Innovation Award and recognition in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Fast Company, Inc Magazine, and CNN.

Read more about our partnership with Mike on our blog Common Thread.


December 6, 2013


December 11, 2013




December 18 2013



424 Hayes Street
San Francisco, CA



Read the recap and see pics from our second Alternative Grants event on our blog.