Institute for Sustainable Communities announces selected partner organizations and project details
Montpelier, VT — September 13, 2016 — The Institute for Sustainable Communities (ISC) has selected two community-based organizations as partners in its new Partnership for Resilient Communities (PRC) program to implement projects that advance social equity and build local resilience.
Through a competitive proposal process with over 50 applicants, Living Classrooms Foundation, in partnership with Power52 of Baltimore, and Eastside Community Network of Detroit were selected as the initial partners. Each organization will now enter into a three-year intensive resilience-building project receiving technical assistance, connections with peer organizations, and a $250,000 grant to implement projects serving their city’s most vulnerable populations.
These organizations were selected as part of ISC’s new national program, the Partnership for Resilient Communities, which supports community-based organizations’ work on innovative, locally-driven urban resilience projects within underserved neighborhoods.
“We received dozens of strong proposals from communities we have worked with for years – this was a very difficult decision! We are so energized to work in an in-depth way with the Living Classrooms Foundation and the Eastside Community Network,” said ISC Senior Program Officer Tessa Kaneene. “These projects will not only help build community resilience, but enable these community based organizations to be leaders in transforming the environmental, social and economic health of Baltimore and Detroit.”
Through a combination of financial and technical assistance, training, and peer learning, ISC’s program will enable Living Classrooms Foundation and Eastside Community Network to implement specific climate resilience, clean energy and mitigation projects that benefit low-income and vulnerable populations, while at the same time helping each organization to gain new skills and resources that will allow them to grow and expand their community resilience work.
ISC will work with Living Classrooms Foundation and the Power52 team to install solar power with battery storage on community centers in some of Baltimore’s lowest-income communities. The installation of the panels and batteries will make the community more resilient by ensuring access to electricity during grid outages, and includes the Living Classrooms Power52 job training program which prepares unemployed residents for jobs in solar installation – one of the fastest-growing job markets in Maryland.
“With the aid of this grant, Living Classrooms Foundation, in partnership with Power52, will have the capacity to make huge contributions to the community resilience movement locally,” said Living Classrooms President and CEO James Piper Bond. “This project will not only give our residents a safe place when power is down, but the job training program will help build individual resilience and the communities centers will help grow our social fabric. Transitioning facilities like this to solar power is also critical to curbing the effects of climate disruption for future generations.”
Eastside Community Network will receive support to create a safe, vibrant community hub within Detroit’s Lower East Side central Chandler Park and revitalize its surrounding vacant lots. The project will also provide assistance to households experiencing extreme flooding and mold as a result of severe storms and sewage back-up.
“We have served Detroit’s lower Eastside for over 32 years,” said Donna Givens, President and CEO of the Eastside Community Network. “Over the past several years, we have worked with our neighbors to find sustainable solutions and to re-purpose vacant land through shared planning, mini-grants, and interdisciplinary partnerships. We’re excited for the opportunity to tap into the technical knowledge ISC will bring to make our community safer and better equipped to deal with issues surrounding climate change through green infrastructure projects. We look forward to sharing the creative solutions our community derives with other peer organizations across the country via ISC’s network.”
ISC has worked with hundreds of U.S. communities as part of its renowned peer-learning work, and received proposal submissions from more than 50 organizations in the communities initially targeted for this program. These community-based organizations have a critical role to play in planning and implementing projects which ensure they are rooted in a community definition of resilience that meets the needs of residents, especially the most vulnerable.
The ultimate mission of the Partnership for Resilient Communities is to promote and build capacity for inclusive, community-driven approaches to urban resilience, to achieve a broader goal of advancing social equity and bolstering social cohesion within our cities. Funding for PRC is provided by The JPB Foundation. Learn more at: www.sustain.org/program/partnership-resilient-communities
About the Institute for Sustainable Communities
An international nonprofit organization, the Institute for Sustainable Communities (ISC) has 25 years of practical experience working with local leaders to accelerate climate change and sustainability solutions. ISC’s programs are designed to facilitate peer learning and engagement among local leaders charged with the work of making their communities more sustainable. ISC has led more than 100 projects in 30 countries, and currently works in Asia and the United States. Learn more at: sustain.org
About Living Classrooms Foundation
Living Classrooms Foundation strengthens communities and inspires young people to achieve their potential through hands-on education and job training, using urban, natural, and maritime resources as “living classrooms.” Founded in Baltimore in 1985, Living Classrooms Foundation has grown into an educational and economic force that combines one of the city’s most cherished assets – its beautiful and historic harbor – with some of its most overlooked – the thousands of bright, ambitious children and young adults who are struggling to succeed against very challenging odds. What began with one program in one city has grown into dozens of programs across Baltimore and the National Capital region. Living Classrooms will partner with Power52, a Maryland-based business established to provide technical and development services to create renewable energy projects aimed to reduce the cost of energy for low-income communities/families. The renewable energy projects created for the program allow the organization to offer jobs for low-income individuals in disadvantaged communities that are struggling financially. Training is available for those interested in pursuing a career in the renewable energy sector as well as scholarships for individuals unable to attend a trade school or college due to lack of financial sources. Learn more at: www.livingclassrooms.org and www.Power52.org.
About Eastside Community Network
The Eastside Community Network (formerly Warren/Conner Development Coalition) has been spearheading community development on Detroit’s Lower Eastside for over 30 years. Eastside Community Network works with partners on Detroit’s Lower Eastside to drive lasting, positive change in our neighborhoods and communities. This positive transformation is achieved through resident engagement, multi-sector collaborations, advocacy, leadership development and innovative approaches to land development. Learn more at: ecn-detroit.org