In this groundbreaking summer program, West Virginia youth will get the opportunity to work side-by-side with grassroots groups who are pioneering community sustainability projects. These community sustainability projects have crucial political significance, as they are grounded in the idea of transitioning communities that are heavily economically dependent on & impacted by dirty industries to local & healthy economies. All of our site locations are low-income communities, and we are heavily prioritizing the participation of low-income West Virginians through this Program to build a more diverse movement. We are running projects in Charleston (threatened by chemical plants which hold the same chemicals that killed more than ten thousand people in Bhopal, India), Beards Fork (which has been economically left behind by the coal industry), and the Coal River Valley (which suffers from high levels of Mountaintop Removal and three dams full of billions of gallons of toxic sludge sitting about the community).
Our goal is to engage West Virginia Youths in doing hands on work throughout the 2010 summer to expand community-run sustainability projects to help transition the WV Coalfields to sustainable economies. We will be working with community volunteers to expand a bicycle co-op in Charleston, expand a farmers market program in Fayette County, weatherize homes in Fayette County and the Coal River Valley, and install a solar thermal system in the Coal River Valley. These sustainability projects are incredibly important in each of these areas which are low-income and have economies dependent on dirty industries to get beyond talk of green jobs and show residents concrete sustainability projects. This Summer Program is also intentionally targeting West Virginian Youths to develop our young leaders to do more effective year round organizing so we can achieve policy and systematic change as well.
This Summer Program is underway and it is rockin! We've been planting all kinds of great stuff in community gardens in Fayette County and the Coal River Valley. The vegetables that are sold from these gardens will bring in needed money to the communities that run them and will help make sustainability an economically viable option in the coalfields. As they sell the vegetables that we plant, the financial viability of community gardening grows. We have also heard from miners and community activists about the challenges facing the communities that we're working in.
We hope to win this funding to bring on more young people in July to put in a life-changing three weeks building justice and sustainability in the West Virginia Coalfields.
The green grants contest is designed to give a boost to the green economy. We want to draw attention to projects that are doing a great job of combining social justice with environmental responsibility, and reward them with a grant toward their work.
What kind of groups are eligible?
If the project is good for both people and the planet and a $1,000 or $2,500 grant could make a difference to them – you should nominate the group. The group is not required to be a nonprofit organization or have 501c(3) status.
Will you be contacting my nominee?
If your nominee makes it into our top-ten, we will contact them to let them know. We'll work with the ten nominees to get a full description of their projects on our Web site for the round of top-ten voting.
What kind of projects are you talking about?
Here are some examples: Maybe a local school could use a green-grant for its organic garden project. Maybe a local pro-bicycling non-profit organization wants to extend its reach into the inner city. Maybe a local solar-installation business wants to make a commitment to provide job-training. Really, we're looking forward to seeing what you report to us. We're excited about publicizing good news about the green economy and rewarding good green projects.
When will the grants be given?
The nomination period runs through June 7. The top-ten voting runs through June 30. We'll publicize the winners and disburse the grants shortly after that. We'll also keep up with the winners and profile the great ways that they use their "green grants."
How else will the nominees benefit?
We'll list all the nominees (not just the top ten) on our Web site with links to their work. This will become an honor roll of organizations doing great green work in their communities, bringing together social justice and environmental health. People from all over the country will see their work and have an opportunity to link to it.
How are the top ten nominees chosen?
Top ten nominees will be chosen by Green America staff.
How are the green grants funded?
A generous Green America donor provides these funds for us to disburse to other groups as we see fit. This year, we decided to invite you to help us decide who receives these grants.