The first round of grant winners for the Greenpoint Community Environmental Fund (GCEF) was announced Thursday by Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joseph Martens.
A total of $395,000 in small grants was awarded to 18 organizations in amounts ranging from $5000-$25,000. The money is part of a larger pool of $19.5 million that make up the GCEF, which was created following a settlement between ExxonMobil and then Attorney General Andrew Cuomo to provide financial resources to environmentally friendly projects in the neighborhood.
“Through the Greenpoint Community Environmental Fund, New York State and Greenpoint residents are working together to help reverse the legacy of environmental abuse and neglect in this vibrant community,” said Schneiderman. “With this initial round of funding, we are investing in high-quality, locally led projects that will enhance open space, green neighborhoods, foster education and stewardship, and address other environmental improvement priorities of the community.”
Some of the recipients of the awards include the Newtown Creek Alliance, which received two separate grants of approximately $25,000 each for recreate the end of North Henry Street – a space of about 20,000 square feet, into ecologically beneficial open space and shoreline that can be accessed by the public, and for a biological “living dock,” that will provide a landing space for small boats and means to grow and preserve indigenous wildlife.
The North Brooklyn Boat Club received three separate grants also totaling approximately $25,000 to fund a cigarette butt disposal clean up drive and campaign, additional boats and to further bolster their environmental and education programs.
The 61 Franklin Street and Java Street Community gardens received funding for approximately $25,000 and $20,000 respectively to bolster sustainable practices of growing already practiced at the gardens such as adding a rainwater garden and a storm-water collection system.
The Greenpoint Chamber of Commerce in conjunction with Groundswell is receiving $25,000 to create a large public artwork that examines the history of environmental justice and advocacy in the neighborhood, which will be crafted by local youth.
“It’s a breath of fresh air to see these community-driven environmental projects come to life in North Brooklyn — including improved open space in a community that truly needs it, as well as education and stewardship programs and greener neighborhoods,” said State Senator Daniel Squadron.
The Fund identified the priorities of the neighborhood through various public meetings held by co-administrators North Brooklyn Development Corporation and National Fish and Wildlife Foundation in 2012 and 2013 that were attended by about 300 residents.
The deadline for submitting small grant proposals (up to $25,000), large (up to $2 million) and legacy ($2 million+) pre-proposals was in December. The Fund received 96 proposals requesting a total of about $65 million.
At present only the small grants have been awarded. Pre-proposal winners are expected to be announced in late March. Those chosen will then be invited to submit complete proposals with results to be announced in the fall.
“The Greenpoint Community Environmental Fund’s small grant awards are a much-needed first step in reversing the long history of environmental abuse that the Greenpoint community has suffered,” said Assemblyman Joe Lentol. “The excitement this Fund has created only goes to show the serious dedication that this community has in making a better Greenpoint.”
The complete list of small grant winners can be found at http://www.gcefund.org/wp-content/uploads/GCEF-SG-Awardees-2014-Project-Summaries.pdf