Today, the Funders’ Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities awarded the City of Cleveland a $60,000 grant from the Local Sustainability Matching Fund (LSMF) to support the establishment of an equitable model for developing and funding neighborhood projects that align climate action with the assets, concerns, and priorities of Cleveland residents. The grant and fund are national programs designed to connect innovative city sustainability projects with local philanthropies. “We are thrilled to receive this funding in support of our initiative to engage and empower residents to take climate action,” said Chief of Sustainability Jenita McGowan. “This grant allows us to double the number of neighborhoods we are working in and to connect resident-driven projects to grassroots funding”
In 2013, the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability, in partnership with a diverse 50-member Advisory Committee, launched the Cleveland Climate Action Plan: Building Thriving and Healthy Neighborhoods with the goal of creating a foundation through two primary strategies, aimed at developing an effective and replicable way to fund and provide resources for neighborhood-led climate action projects. In order to create the foundation for true, lasting and equitable climate action, it was decided that this plan must be implemented at the neighborhood level.
The first strategy involves the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability working with community partners to roll out the Cleveland Neighborhood Climate Action Toolkit throughout the city. This Toolkit, developed in tandem with the Climate Action Plan, is intended to help residents take actions that advance their neighborhood goals while also taking climate action. The toolkit currently includes materials to help neighborhoods learn about Cleveland’s Climate Action Plan, identify neighborhood assets and concerns, relate them to climate action, and develop neighborhood climate action project ideas. The toolkit, including results from pilots conducted in three neighborhoods, can be found here: www.sustainablecleveland.org/toolkit
The second strategy is centered on linking the toolkit process with a successful tradition of grassroots grantmaking in Cleveland, thereby creating a sustainable mechanism for turning ideas into implemented neighborhood projects. This project seeks to develop a Cleveland Climate Action Fund that allows corporate donors and individuals alike to invest in local projects that meet neighborhood concerns while also mitigating and/or adapting to climate change.
In all, nine communities were awarded a total of $531,250 by the Funders’ Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities and its partner, the Urban Sustainability Directors Network, in Round Four of the Local Sustainability Matching Fund (LSMF).