The Northern New Jersey Community Foundation (NNJCF) in partnership with Greater Bergen Community Action (GBCA) and the City of Hackensack received a matching grant of $75,000 from Partners for Places, a project of The Funders Network. The grant supports the development of the project, Green Infrastructure for Environmental Justice and Flood Mitigation. The project will be implemented in the City of Hackensack. Furthermore, this partnership was one of only eight grants totaling nearly $1.3 million awarded nationwide in The Funders’ Network Partners for Places program.
The Foundation’s Climate Action Mobilization Project (CAMP) initiative leads the project in the City of Hackensack. The project engages community members in an environmental justice initiative addressing stormwater flooding. Also, it installs green infrastructure on public and private lands. In the city, extensive stormwater flooding and climate change increased environmental and health risks. This impacted Latinx, Black and other communities of color. Furthermore, the project complements the combined sewer separation work underway by the City of Hackensack.
Green Infrastructure Planning
The project also plans to engage directly populations and areas most impacted by frequent flooding in the city. They participate in green infrastructure planning and installation. In addition, community members learn how to create rain gardens. They also learn how to install rain barrels to decrease stormwater run-off and reduce flooding.
“The Northern New Jersey Community Foundation’s CAMP initiative spearheads this environmental justice project. This ensures all community members are informed, engaged and activated about sustainable climate action and green stormwater infrastructure. We welcome this opportunity to expand our work with the City of Hackensack and Greater Bergen Community Action. This addresses the myriad causes of stormwater flooding and build community driven solutions,” said Leonardo Vazquez, Executive Director, Northern New Jersey Community Foundation.
The CAMP initiative engages communities in response to three regional crises. This includes economic disruption, the pandemic and climate change, and the need for coordinated, multi-community resiliency planning and action. The CAMP also mobilizes community members, institutions, businesses, and government leaders to rebuild areas through innovative collaborative action. Furthermore, this grassroots approach promotes innovation, and local ownership. This approach also advances belonging and equity. This allows the community itself to build resiliency in the face of climate change. They identify and address the most urgent local impacts.
“Contaminated flood waters disproportionately impact residents of Hackensack overall and communities of color. This project will expand opportunities for residents to engage in planning discussions beyond the traditional public sessions at council meetings. Frontline community members want to improve the livability of their neighborhoods and take an active role in planning and implementation. Through this project, they receive greater access to information or opportunities to inform planning,” said Lynne Algrant, Vice President of Planning, Development and Communications, Greater Bergen Community Action.
“By bringing together local governments, place-based funders and frontline community groups, this project will help build relationships that will fuel even more action and collaboration at the grassroots level,” said City of Hackensack Mayor John Labrosse.
Partners for Places
Partners for Places, a joint effort by The Funders Network (TFN) and the Urban Sustainability Directors Network (USDN), aims to enhance local capacity to build equitable and sustainable communities in the United States and Canada. This is a successful matching grant program advancing equitable and sustainable communities through collaborative partnerships. The fund requires local government leaders, place-based funders, and frontline community partnerships, and by pairing national and local philanthropic funding sources. Furthermore, one-to-one matching awards support equitable, sustainable climate action and green stormwater infrastructure projects. National funders invest in local projects to promote a healthy environment, a strong economy, and the well-being of all residents.
The grant program provides partnership investments between $25,000 and $75,000 for one-year projects.$50,000 and $150,000 for two-year projects, with a 1:1 match required by one or more local place-based funders. To date, Partners for Places has awarded more than $9 million across North America in this successful matching grant program, leading to more than $19 million in investments.
Through these projects, Partners for Places also fosters long-term relationships that make our communities more sustainable, prosperous and just. Partners for Places’ general grant program is supported by The JPB Foundation, The Kendeda Fund, The Kresge Foundation, New York Community Trust, The Allen H. and Selma W. Berkman Charitable Trust, and the Pisces Foundation.