ENVIRONMENT (& EDUCATION) GOAL #1: Assure access to experiential environmental education for public school students that is regular, systematic, integrated with curricula, and connected with “real world” community initiatives such as Grand River restoration, renewable energy & efficiency, water conservation and protection, addressing climate change, wildlife habitat conservation and sustainable food systems.
Example grants: New City Neighbors – Hands on STEM learning through food systems education and youth career encouragement in sustainability field; Hope Gardens – Experiential environmental education programs in underserved schools; City of Grand Rapids Parks and Rec & Grand Rapids Public Schools – “Connecting Children to Nature” partnership at four GRPS sites in under-parked neighborhoods; Lower Grand River Organization of Watersheds – Engage urban youth in projects reducing urban and agricultural run-off pollution of two Grand River watersheds; GREEN – Collaboration of nine environmental education organizations to provide experiential environmental education; Urban Core Collective – Engage communities of color in environmental action with focus on increasing access to nature.
ENVIRONMENT GOAL #2: Develop and implement long-term strategy to restore, protect, and make available for appropriate uses by all the lower Grand River watershed, including restoration of the namesake rapids in downtown Grand Rapids.
Example grants: Michigan League of Conservation Voters – Expand sustained citizen engagement, especially on safe drinking water issues; River Network – Engage Latino community to support restoration and protection of waterways; American Rivers Inc. – Innovative stormwater credit trading program to reduce water pollution; Clean Water Fund – Mobilizing public support for Grand River restoration project and clean water policies; Grand Valley Metro Council – Restoration of Cold Creek watershed (strong Civic Engagement theme alignment); National Wildlife Federation – Support for houses of worship to protect watersheds, create habitat and build diverse, resilient communities.
ENVIRONMENT GOAL #3: Assure Grand Rapids continues to be a national and international leader in its commitment to sustainable development, i.e. “Economicology.”
Example grants: Habitat for Humanity – Green home upgrades for affordable housing; Green Home Institute – Environmental certification programs for affordable housing projects; Inner City Christian Federation – Upgrade single family affordable homes to certified green homes; Environmental Law & Policy Center – Technical, legal and civic engagement to meet Grand Rapid’s 100% renewable energy goal (strong Civic Engagement theme alignment); West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum – Equitable sustainability program that addresses racial and economic inequities (strong DEI theme alignment); Creston Neighborhood Association – Creating environmentally friendly neighborhoods through grassroots organizing; Friends of Grand Rapids Parks – neighborhood-based citizen engagement around local parks; West Michigan Environmental Action Council Education Foundation – Green infrastructure water conservation project in under-resourced neighborhoods with focus on People Of Color-owned businesses.
ENVIRONMENTAL GOAL #4: Assure that Michigan is a national and international leader in policies to protect the environment, including the Great Lakes, in ways that recognize the connection between environmental protection, human health, and promoting economic and social justice.
Example grants: Community Collaboration on Climate Change – Equity focused collaboration of local groups working to address climate change; GR-HEZero: Develop equitable policies to reduce carbon emissions from building sector in W MI; Sierra Club, Michigan Chapter – Advocacy of closing W MI coal-fired power plants and transforming region into a national clean national clean energy leader; Ottawa County Parks Foundation – Ecological/biodiversity analysis & planning for public land at mouth of Grand River & six mile long corridor extending north along Lake Michigan; Michigan Environmental Justice Coalition – Engage people of color to enhance climate justice leadership to increase social connectivity; Environmental Law and Policy Center – Remove barriers to on-site renewable energy generation in Michigan and develop improved programs for purchase of renewable energy; Groundwork Center – mobilize Great Lakes businesses on clean energy issues; West Michigan Environmental Action Council Education Foundation – Water quality and climate change policy advocacy.