Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot recently announced a new grant opportunity aimed at catalyzing climate action across Chicago by nonprofit organizations and small businesses. In partnership with the Department of Planning and Development’s Chicago Recovery Plan Initiative, the newly established Climate Infrastructure Fund will provide funding for renewable energy and energy efficiency improvements in buildings, support the purchase of electric vehicles and installation of electric vehicle charging stations, and enable green infrastructure solutions to capture stormwater and reduce onsite flooding. Applications will be scored on criteria related to climate mitigation and resilience factors, equity impact, and project readiness.
“In October of last year and along with the support of the City Council, we committed to delivering on bold, equitable, and actionable climate solutions by investing in the largest climate budget to date in Chicago,” said Chicago Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot. “That $188 million serves as a down payment for climate action and resiliency with an intentional focus on direct benefits within neighborhoods that are disproportionately impacted by the effects of climate change and decades of disinvestment. The Climate Infrastructure Fund is further strengthening this foundation by supporting organizations and small businesses as they take on leadership roles as participants and beneficiaries in the green economy.”
The $5 million Climate Infrastructure Fund will support projects that are in line with the City’s commitments to reduce emissions, invest in environmental justice communities across the city, and meet targets within the 2022 Climate Action Plan. The Climate Infrastructure Fund is part of a suite of climate and environmental justice projects within the Chicago Recovery Plan, which funds a variety of projects across the city. Grant amounts will range from $50,000 to $250,000.
The Climate Infrastructure Fund is one of four different sources of funds being offered by the Department of Planning and Development’s small grant universal application that opened today. Applicants may submit proposed projects through February 24, 2023. Other opportunities include the newly established Equitable Transit Oriented Development fund and new rounds of funding for the Neighborhood Opportunity Fund and Community Development Grants.
“These new funding opportunities for climate infrastructure and transit-oriented development projects offer more options and resources for stakeholders to directly support citywide goals at a neighborhood level, especially through investments that have a global impact,” Department of Planning and Development Commissioner Maurice Cox said.
2022 marks a year in which the City of Chicago has fortified its commitment to community-centered climate solutions that create greater equity through planning, policy, and programming. In April, the City of Chicago released the 2022 Climate Action Plan, a community stakeholder-guided effort to establish ambitious but attainable goals that center people first and will deliver meaningful community benefits. The Plan establishes a goal to reduce emissions by 62% by 2040 through interconnected climate strategies designed to better serve all Chicago communities and in particular Black, Brown, and working-class communities who disproportionately experience the chronic stress and impacts of the changing climate. The new Climate Infrastructure Fund will provide grants that align with this purpose to projects in the following categories: renewable energy and energy efficiency, electric vehicles (EV) and EV charging, and green infrastructure.
“The City of Chicago recognizes that the key to mitigating the climate crisis and fostering resilient neighborhoods begins at the community level,” says Angela Tovar, Chief Sustainability Officer for the City of Chicago. “We are thrilled to provide direct resources to our community organizations and small business on the frontlines of the climate crisis and to support their vision for a sustainable future.”
Nonprofit organizations and small businesses seeking more information on proposal requirements and how to apply should visit Chicago.gov/ClimateFund.