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Cleveland Climate Action Fund Announces Small Grants

The Cleveland Climate Action Fund is awarding over $20,000 to five neighborhood-led projects that will reduce carbon emissions and encourage collaboration in the community. This marks the Fund’s first round of 2015 grant recipients. The second round of request for proposals is open now. Applications are due on June 19, 2015 and are online at www.clevelandclimateaction.org.

The Fund provides free educational climate action workshops and competitive grant opportunities for projects that advance neighborhood priorities while also furthering Cleveland’s climate action goals.

People power is the answer to true and lasting climate action in Cleveland. This means that a citizen-centered approach is needed to align climate action with the assets, capacities and priorities of Cleveland residents. Grants totaling over $20,000 will be awarded to fund the following five projects:

– Cleveland Youth Landscaping,“Glenville Re-Inspired”: Cleveland youth will be hired and trained to provide landscaping and snow removal services to the Glenville neighborhood. Funds will be used to landscaping equipment that doesn’t produce emissions, such as non-gasoline mowers, to reduce air pollution and use of fossil fuels.

Alexander Robertson, founder of Cleveland Youth Landscaping, commented on his project’s impact on the environment and his team’s health: “Initially, Cleveland Youth Landscaping was simply a neighborhood beautification project.  We hire about 50 young adults each year to perform basic landscaping services for our residents, but our mission was altered after I learned about the severe toxicity of gas powered lawnmower and string trimmer usage. This year, with the help of our Cleveland Climate Action Fund grant, we are happy to announce that we have created a team of green landscapers that will only operate electric and hand powered equipment.”

Cleveland Youth Landscaping’s equipment upgrades should reduce over 15,000 lbs. of CO2emissions by switching from gas mowers to reel mowers and electric mowers. They will reduce another 15,000 lbs of CO2 emissions by switching to electric string trimmers and hand tools. The youth will also educate the clients on the effects of climate change, how to reduce their carbon emissions, and hopefully convince them to engage with other environmental preservation projects.”

– Gordon Square Farmers Market/Rust Belt Riders, “Community Composting” pilot project for comprehensive community-wide composting initiative: This project will engage business owners and residents to better understand the impact of food waste and provide participation vouchers. Compost will be collected and dropped off via bicycles and will be used in community gardens. Funds will be used for vouchers for businesses and residents as well as additional equipment thereby reducing landfill waste and increasing fertile soil.

– The Grocery This project will support monthly educational community workshops, materials for community gardens, purchase of seeds and chickens, and materials for a chicken coop and hoop house to enable food to be produced year round to encourage eating local, healthy foods free of packaging and preservatives.

-Hough Biocellar/Neighborhood Solutions: This project will fund the installation of a solar panel array to power the BioCellar and vineyard. The BioCellar is a learning environment for people interested in crop propagation, local food production and healthy eating in the Hough neighborhood.

-Urban Community School: Funding for this project will be used to install a set of 10 solar panels that will provide approximately 3,120 kWh/year of energy at their satellite location providing the school with 96% of its annual energy costs. UCS will also build a hoop-house to be used as part of its new Learning Garden and Production Farm that is being created in partnership with the Cleveland Botanical Garden and The Refugee Response.

Founded in 2009 the Cleveland Climate Action Fund is the first community-based carbon reduction fund in the United States. The Cleveland Climate Action Fund invests in local community projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and spark community engagement in Cleveland. The Fund’s founding partners include the City of Cleveland, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland Foundation, George Gund Foundation, and the Green City Blue Lake Institute a the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. The Fund’s Advisory Committee is composed of local community non-profit, corporate, and philanthropic organizations: Arcelor Mittal, BrownFlynn, City of Cleveland, Cleveland Clinic, The Cleveland Foundation, Cleveland Museum of Natural History, Cuyahoga County Land Revitalization Corp., Enterprise Community Partners, the George Gund Foundation, KeyBank, Neighborhood Connections, and Neighborhood Progress Inc.

The Fund provides an option for everyone from individuals to companies that want to reduce carbon emissions and make a local impact. Donations to the fund are tax-deductible and directly support educational workshops and carbon reduction projects. Donors can give at a variety of levels and the carbon calculator on our site can assist those who wish to give to mitigate their carbon footprint. Visit www.clevelandclimateaction.org for more information.

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