ALBANY, N.Y. /New York Netwire/ — Today, N.Y. Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced more than $1 million in environmental justice grants have been awarded to 34 organizations from around the state that serve communities facing multiple sources of environmental harms and risks. Funds will be used for projects such as inventories of polluting facilities, air monitoring, urban tree planting, community gardens and alternative energy projects.
“The Environmental Justice Community Impact Grants are an important resource to low-income and disadvantaged communities facing pollution and other environmental burdens across the state,” Governor Cuomo said. “From expanding green space and increasing homegrown produce to clean energy projects, pollution remediation activities, and education efforts, these initiatives can help contribute to a healthier environment and an improved quality of life for residents in these communities. I look forward to seeing the progress that will result from our partnership with these organizations.”
The Environmental Justice (EJ) Community Impact Grants, which are limited to awards of up to $50,000, were made through the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). In addition, for the first time, DEC has awarded Green Gems Grants, which will be used exclusively for establishing, improving, maintaining and using green space for projects like community gardens or tree plantings. Green Gems Grants are a subset of the EJ Community Impact Grants. Each Green Gem recipient will receive between $2,500 and $10,000, amounting to a total Green Gem Grants disbursement of more than $110,000 for smaller-scale projects.
“From New York City to Niagara Falls, EJ communities across the state are receiving state assistance to implement projects that will beautify and preserve green space, provide fresh vegetables through community gardens and address air and water quality issues,” DEC Commissioner Martens said. “DEC and the Cuomo Administration are committed to addressing environmental justice issues, and these grants will benefit communities that already suffer disproportionately from a high concentration of pollution sources.”
The EJ Grants program supports community-based projects that address environmental and/or public health concerns. The program has a particular focus on low-income and minority communities that have historically been burdened by environmental problems. Those environmental problems have traditionally included a large number of regulated facilities or contaminated sites, noise, air and water pollution, health problems and lack of green space and waterfront access.
Recipients of the EJ Community Impact and Green Gems Grants are listed below:
New York City: •Gowanus Canal Conservancy – Brooklyn – $49,836 Community Impact Grant to develop and implement a middle school curriculum focused on the range of environmental challenges related to the Gowanus Canal
•West Harlem Environmental Action, Inc. (WE ACT for Environmental Justice) – Manhattan – $50,000 Community Impact Grant to provide community education around environmental health issues such as climate and public health, understanding and reducing toxic exposures in the home and the role of environmental stressors on health
•United Community Centers, Inc. – Brooklyn – $34,965 Community Impact Grant to expand urban agriculture activities, increase the availability of locally-grown produce, and address ongoing food justice concerns
•North Shore Waterfront Conservancy – Staten Island – $49,970 Community Impact Grant to identify, monitor and assess local flooding vulnerabilities and “hot spots” and develop recommendations for addressing them
•Rocking the Boat – Bronx – $50,000 Community Impact Grant to develop the skills and leadership of underserved youth through activities ranging from habitat restoration to water quality monitoring to promotion of safe public access to the Bronx River
•Outrage – Brooklyn – $50,000 Community Impact Grant to further understand, assess and identify the risks related to solid waste processing and its attendant truck traffic in the Greenpoint neighborhood and develop recommendations to mitigate those risks
•UPROSE – Brooklyn – $49,992 Community Impact Grant to create community-based capacity to monitor street-level air quality and engage public and private sector decision-makers about improving community sustainability and resilience in Sunset Park
•Two Bridges Neighborhood Council – Manhattan – $50,000 Community Impact Grant to assess the environmental and public health impacts of the neighborhood’s defining transportation infrastructure and the area’s vulnerability to future storm surges
•Neighbors Allied for Good Growth – Brooklyn – $50,000 Community Impact Grant to conduct a community education campaign that incorporates information from a wide variety of sources including previously completed analyses and assessments of the Greenpoint/Williamsburg area’s environmental burdens
•a.i.r. Harlem – Manhattan – $50,000 Community Impact Grant to reduce asthma triggers in 100 households while demonstrating through increased monitoring and research the relative efficacy of focused, proactive, and ongoing trigger reduction efforts
•Human Impacts Institute – Brooklyn – $40,410 Community Impact Grant for community education efforts focused on reducing the impact of toxic cleaning products on households, multifamily residential buildings, and the environment in North Brooklyn
•Added Value and Herban Solutions – Brooklyn – $40,000 Community Impact Grant to provide job training on urban farming, composting, outreach, and education to a select group of community leaders as part of a broader urban agriculture effort
•Bronx River Alliance – Bronx – $10,000 Green Gems Grant for development and support of a high school environmental science curricula that includes water quality monitoring at Starlight Park on the Lower Bronx River
•Fifth Street Farm Project – Manhattan – $10,000 Green Gems Grant for a summer youth employment and skills-building effort centered around the group’s rooftop farm
•Friends of Van Cortland Park – Bronx – $10,000 Green Gems Grant to expand and improve the organization’s Youth Operated Farmers Market Stands located near Van Cortland Park
•Lower East Side Girls Club of New York – Manhattan – $10,000 Green Gems Grant to support the establishment of a research lab focused on pollinator habitat around the organization’s recently installed rooftop meadow
•St. Mary’s Urban Farm – Manhattan – $9,975 Green Gems Grant to support ongoing efforts to undertake in situ bioremediation of contaminated soils on the church’s grounds within the context of a broader urban agriculture effort
•Time’s Up! – Manhattan – $8,000 Green Gems Grant to assist with the restoration of several community gardens flooded during Super Storm Sandy
Long Island: •Long Beach Latino Civic Association – Long Beach – $49,840 Community Impact Grant to conduct soil, air and water testing in areas flooded by Super Storm Sandy and incorporate the results into a community awareness and education effort
•Starflower Experiences – Wyandanch – $24,800 Community Impact Grant for environmental education efforts focused on elementary and middle school students
Hudson Valley: •Quassaick Creek Watershed Alliance – Newburgh – $49,539 Community Impact Grant to support the design and establishment of public open space along Quassaick Creek that would include a fitness trail, habitat restoration and green infrastructure
•Groundwork Hudson Valley – Yonkers – $45,315 Community Impact Grant for the establishment of a paid, environmental internship program for at-risk teens in Southwest Yonkers.
•College Park Revitalization Committee – Poughkeepsie – $8,000 Green Gem Grant to support the revitalization and repurposing of the Clarence Lown Memorial Rock Garden in College Hill Park
Capital District: •Capital District Community Gardens – Troy – $50,000 Community Impact Grant to expand urban farming operations and support a job training program focused on disadvantaged youth from Troy High School
•North Troy Environmental Education Consortium – Troy – $49,316 Community Impact Grant to support the establishment of several community gardens and related programming on vacant lots on 6th Avenue between Glenn Avenue and 101st Street
•AVillage, Inc. – Albany – $5,000 Green Gem Grant to expand and standardize a community garden-based educational program and invest in new equipment
Central New York and Mohawk Valley: •Partnership for Onondaga Creek – Syracuse – $50,000 Community Impact Grant for the strengthening of environmental education and youth leadership development programs in low-income neighborhoods of Syracuse
•Jubilee Homes of Syracuse – Syracuse – $10,000 Green Gem Grant to support youth leadership development and job training around an existing urban farming operation
•For the Good, Inc. – Utica – $48,126 Community Impact Grant to expand an existing community garden, enhance outreach and education efforts, and conduct a community survey around desired garden enhancements and improvements
Western New York: •Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper – Buffalo – $49,535 Community Impact Grant to support the establishment of an immersive training and mentoring program focused on environmental science for high school students from low-income neighborhoods
•Groundwork Buffalo – Buffalo – $25,073 Community Impact Grant to support the conversion of a vacant lot in the Hamlin Park area into a rain garden and related environmental education efforts
•Schiller Park Community Services – Buffalo – $10,000 Green Gems Grant to support conversion of a vacant lot into neighborhood green space
•Seneca Street Community Development Corporation – Buffalo – $8,536 Green Gem Grant to conduct soil testing and community education in support of community gardens and urban agriculture efforts
•Niagara Arts and Cultural Center – Niagara Falls – $10,000 Green Gems Grant to fund soil testing of vacant lots to determine suitability for conversion to community gardens and support related environmental education efforts
For more information on the EJ Community Impact Grants, visit DEC’s website at http://www.dec.ny.gov/public/333.html or contact the DEC Office of Environmental Justice at 518-402-8556.