The City of Providence has been awarded a second year of funding to support its Equity in Sustainability initiative. This effort is a partnership between the Office of Sustainability, the Environmental Justice League of Rhode Island, and Groundwork Rhode Island.
The goal of this initiative is to create recommendations for a system and process that directly integrates voices and concerns of people of color into a city sustainability and resiliency planning process, with the long-term goal of institutionalizing this work city-wide. Year one focused on relationship and base-building to create a model for equitable engagement that centered the voices of frontline communities. This included the creation of the Racial and Environmental Justice Committee, hosting two Undoing Racism trainings, and evaluating the City’s sustainability plan with a racial equity lens. Year two will build on this work by creating an implementation plan that applies the values and principles set by the REJ Committee and its base to embed equity goals, strategies, action items, and metrics into the City’s sustainability plan.
“The Environmental Justice League of RI is looking forward to continuing this important work of creating systemic change where the voices and concerns of people of color are integrated in decision-making, planning and accountability processes in a meaningful and democratic way,” said Cristina Cabrera, Executive Director of the Environmental Justice League of Rhode Island.
“Talking about the importance of racial equity is easy, but doing the work takes deliberation, time, patience, and trust,” said Leah Bamberger, Director of Sustainability for the City of Providence. “One of the many things I’ve learned from this process is that we have a long way to go in this work and I’m thrilled to have the growing support from funders to continue this process with the community.”
Providence’s award is part of $405,000 in funding from the Partners for Places Equity Pilot Initiative, providing financial and technical support to a cohort of cities and their place-based foundation partners to develop local approaches for prioritizing equity in sustainability and/or climate action. They are also learning together and sharing their insights with each other to advance their work. This two-year pilot program is supported by the generosity of The Kendeda Fund and The Kresge Foundation. Providence received $55,000 from Partners for Places, a $10,000 grant from the Island Foundation as well as continued support from the Rhode Island Foundation. The Island Foundation is a new funding partner to year two, while the Funders’ Network and Rhode Island Foundation supported the first year of the project with each contributing $50,000.
About Partners for Places Partners for Places
A joint project of the Funders’ Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities and the Urban Sustainability Network, Partners for Places is a successful matching grant program that improves U.S. and Canadian communities by building partnerships between local government sustainability leaders and place-based foundations. National funders invest in local projects developed through these partnerships to promote a healthy environment, a strong economy and well-being for all residents. Through these investments, Partners for Places fosters long-term relationships that make our communities more prosperous, livable and vibrant.
The Funders’ Network is a mission-driven network of grantmakers across North America, working to inspire, strengthen and expand funding and philanthropic leadership that yield environmentally sustainable, socially equitable, and economically prosperous regions and communities.