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Groundwork USA Receives $6 Million Investment From Bezos Earth Fund for Environmental Restoration Efforts in Frontline Environmental Justice Communities
December 7, 2021 | |

Support from the Bezos Earth Fund provides the Groundwork network with a transformative opportunity to tackle ambitious environmental restoration and climate resilience projects in communities on the frontlines of the climate crisis.

The clock is ticking down on the critical window to mitigate the worst predicted outcomes of the climate crisis. Many communities are already experiencing an increase in extreme weather events, but not all communities share this burden equitably. Lacking green space, tree canopy, and adequate stormwater management infrastructure, low-income communities and communities of color are disproportionately vulnerable to the effects of urban heat islands and flooding. For over two decades, Groundwork Trusts have worked hand-in-hand with residents to transform neglected urban land and waterways into community assets that foster connection, health, and resilience. With the support of a $6 million grant from the Bezos Earth Fund, we will accelerate our efforts to address the effects of the climate crisis through ambitious nature-based, community-driven resilience projects that engage residents in the process of building safer and healthier neighborhoods.

“The harm caused by the climate crisis is growing exponentially in communities across the Groundwork network. With support from the Bezos Earth Fund, Groundwork Trusts will leverage their deep personal knowledge of the challenges faced by residents in frontline communities to accelerate their response to the climate crisis with the level of urgency demanded of us at this moment,” said Stephen Burrington, Executive Director at Groundwork USA.

Launched in 2020, the Bezos Earth Fund is a $10 billion commitment to fund scientists, activists, NGOs, and private-sector entities that are taking critical action to combat the climate crisis, preserve and protect the natural world, and support climate justice. We are excited for their support over the next three years as Groundwork Trusts tackle significant restoration projects in at least ten communities. Projects like:

  • Creating multi-purpose stormwater management systems in New Orleans, LA to protect neighborhoods from flooding and reduce the prevalence of stagnant water on roads and lawns that creates health problems for surrounding neighbors.
  • Utilizing nature-based solutions and resilient landscaping to reduce exposure to extreme heat and flooding in public housing properties across Yonkers, NY.
  • Constructing new urban trails like the Merrimack River Trail in Lawrence, MA to provide close-to-home access to nature and recreation on safe, accessible, interconnected routes in densely populated, low-income neighborhoods – optimizing the health and climate resilience benefits of extremely limited green space.

“The Bezos Earth Fund is investing in what works: people-centered climate action that prioritizes the restoration of urban land, builds the capacity of residents to protect themselves from the climate crisis, and sets people up to live safely and harmoniously with the built and natural environment,” said Cate Mingoya, Director of Capacity Building at Groundwork USA. “The future of climate adaptation rests on the ability of communities to come together quickly and flexibly to solve rapidly approaching challenges. The Groundwork network’s decades of experience in grassroots advocacy and land revitalization positions us well to get the right resources into the right communities at the right time.”

To learn more about Groundwork USA and our environmental restoration and climate resilience efforts, visit https://groundworkusa.org/focus-areas/

About Groundwork USA

Groundwork USA is the national capacity-building organization for a cross-country network of people-centered environmental justice organizations working hand-in-hand with residents to transform environmentally disadvantaged urban neighborhoods into communities that are healthy, green, and resilient. For over two decades, the Groundwork network has worked to undo the legacies of poverty and racial discrimination and build the capacity of communities to effect change in the natural and built environments in which they live. We do this by developing community-based partnerships that empower people, businesses, and organizations to promote environmental, economic, and social wellbeing.