Institute for Sustainable Communities Grows Equity-Focused Partnership
Montpelier, Vt.—January 30, 2018—The Institute for Sustainable Communities (ISC) announced today that two new community-based organizations will join the Partnership for Resilient Communities (PRC). Through the partnership’s competitive proposal process, The Urban Collaborative Project of San Diego, Calif. and Walnut Way of Milwaukee, Wis. were chosen to join the PRC to work on community-driven resilience projects that serve the most vulnerable populations in these communities.
ISC will provide each new partner organization with customized technical assistance, access to ISC’s large and growing national network of sustainability and resilience practitioners, connections with peer organizations, and $150,000 of strategic funding. This funding enables partners to expand and accelerate their work on energy and water resilience.
These two community-based organizations join current partners: Living Classrooms Foundation (Baltimore, Md.), Eastside Community Network (Detroit, Mich.), Larimer Consensus Group (Pittsburgh, Pa.), and Westside Housing Organization (Kansas City, Mo.). Wrestling with similar challenges, each of these organizations is implementing resilience projects in their underserved neighborhoods.
“Over the past 18 months, this partnership has helped organizations create lasting solutions to immediate problems within their urban communities. We’re looking forward to continuing this success as the partnership expands with The Urban Collaborative Project and Walnut Way,” said ISC Program Director Deb Perry. “Together, we can deliver equitable and transformative community-level change that builds resilience and improves the lives of all residents within these communities.”
Through this partnership, The Urban Collaborative Project will install solar energy and battery storage at a community center they recently transformed from a vacant lot. This resilient solar installation will allow the community space to double as an emergency response site by supporting critical power needs when the electrical grid is down. This project will go beyond deployment of renewable and resilient energy in the low-income area of Southeast San Diego, it will also help residents visualize what a clean energy future looks like and educate the community on how solar can progress climate justice and community resilience.
“We at The Urban Collaborative Project and the Lincoln Park community are thrilled to partner with ISC,” said Brian Pollard, general manager and founder of The Urban Collaborative Project. “The additional resource of alternative power is a great addition to our community and will highlight ‘good things’ that are happening in the underserved community.”
Walnut Way will install solar across their low-income Milwaukee neighborhood of Lindsay Heights at four high-visibility community sites—a wellness hub, a neighborhood center, a farmers’ market, and a community garden. This project will provide the sites with clean energy and reduced utility costs to improve the community’s long-term economic sustainability.
Walnut Way will also design, install, and maintain green infrastructure installations to mitigate urban flooding in Milwaukee’s combined sewer system and increase community access to green space. The solar and green infrastructure projects will serve as demonstration sites to enhance community engagement on sustainability topics—building neighborhood pride and community resilience.
“This award is a critical step in our journey toward strengthening the linkages between Lindsay Heights organizations through partnership and collaboration,” said Antonio Butts, executive director of Walnut Way Conservation Corporation. “We are honored to have been awarded this impactful opportunity based on Walnut Way’s experience and commitment to building the capacity of residents and improving the cohesiveness of the community through green infrastructure projects.”
The ultimate goal of the PRC is to promote and build capacity for inclusive, community-driven approaches to urban resilience – advancing social equity, and bolstering social cohesion within cities across the country. These community-based organizations have a critical role to play in planning and implementing projects rooted in a community-based definition of resilience that meets the social, economic, and environmental needs of residents—especially those most vulnerable.
Learn more about the PRC and its partners at: https://www.sustain.org/program/partnership-resilient-communities/
About the Institute for Sustainable Communities
Since 1991, the Institute for Sustainable Communities (ISC) has worked in the United States and around the world to help communities, cities, industry, and NGOs accomplish their environmental, economic, and social goals. ISC uses training, technical assistance, peer-to-peer learning, and demonstration projects to help unleash the power of local people and institutions to address immediate challenges and opportunities – all while building those on-the-ground solutions into national and international best practices and policy. At the heart of the organization’s approach is results-focused, authentic and pragmatic engagement with all stakeholders, which unearths locally-driven and equitable solutions to the biggest challenge we face – global climate change. Learn more at sustain.org
About The Urban Collaborative Project
The Urban Collaborative Project is a community-based organization born out of the need for transformative, inclusive, and responsive leadership within Southeast San Diego. Its mission is to provide this leadership by amplifying the voices of community members and rallying the resources required to implement community-driven solutions. It is an inclusive effort through community outreach by neighborhoods, town councils, and other neighborhood stakeholders to make safety, civic engagement, health, and beautification, a neighborhood practice, making our communities more vibrant, informed, and connected.
About Walnut Way
Walnut Way Conservation Corp. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit neighborhood organization founded in 2000 by Lindsay Heights residents to reclaim and redevelop the economic health and vitality of their community. In the years since, Walnut Way and its partners have rolled out a series of successful and innovative programs and initiatives addressing the neighborhood’s most pressing economic, environmental, and health issues. The Walnut Way Center is located in a carefully renovated, formally infamous drug house. Understanding the importance of valuing place, residents restored this 1910 house, slated for demolition, into an active center where youth, families, elders, homeowners and renters participate in community development.