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City of Berkeley, California 2016 Measure T1 - Bonds to Improve Existing City Infrastructure and Facilities

November 8, 2016

On November 8, 2016 Berkeley voters passed Measure T1 with an 86. 5% approval.   This measure authorizes the City to sell $100 million of General Obligation Bonds (GO Bonds) to repair, renovate, replace, or reconstruct the City’s aging infrastructure and facilities, such as sidewalks and streets, senior and recreation centers, and other important City facilities and buildings.  The first round of funding includes the use of green infrastructure for storm drains and parks, and is focused on advancing social equity across projects.

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Chicago Participatory Budgeting Project and Rulebook

In 2009, the Chicago 49th Ward Alderman, Joe Moore launched the first participatory budgeting process in the United States in the City of Chicago, Illinois. When participatory budgeting was first introduced in the City, Alderman Moore used the process to engage with his constituents regarding how the community would spend its $1.3 million in discretionary capital funds. Since this initial introduction, the participatory budgeting process in Chicago has proved a rousing success. In 2012, the Great Cities Institute partnered with the Participatory Budgeting Project and community-leaders from the area to launch PB Chicago to spread the budgeting process throughout the city. PB Chicago has now engaged with over 13,000 residents in 12 different communities, allocating over $18 million in funding to community-chosen projects varying from tree planting to establishing bike lanes. By focusing a majority of their outreach on marginalized and underserved communities, PB Chicago ensures not only that policymakers and city officials hear these residents’ voices, but that these same voices have the opportunity to effectuate change within their own communities as well. 

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New York City Participatory Budgeting and Rulebook

2011

In 2011, four New York City Council Members partnered with several community-based organizations and launched a Participatory Budgeting process to allow residents to vote to allocate a portion of the council’s capital discretionary funds. The Participatory Budgeting New York City (PBNYC) process involved the city allocating funds to finance physical infrastructure projects, such as schools, parks, and public housing that benefit the public, that cost at least $50,000 and have a lifespan of at least five years. Residents were able to visit the website to review eligible projects and then submit an idea for consideration. The process gave residents the opportunity to vote during a nine-day Vote week for the city’s fiscal budget and implemented by city agencies. PBNYC is one of the largest and the fastest-growing participatory budgeting process in the United States which also ensures that low-income people and people of color can participate in the process. Currently, the majority of participants, around 57%, are identified as people of color. 

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California’s Urban Greening Program

September 2016

California’s Urban Greening Program, created by SB 859 in 2016, is a competitive grant program that funds local green infrastructure projects to reduce emissions, expand green space, and create more sustainable communities. Administered by the California Natural Resources Agency (CNRA), the program is part of "California Climate Investments," which refer to the more than three dozen programs that are funded by the state's cap and trade auction revenues. Urban Greening projects can be used for improvements such as tree planting, park creation or enhancements, green streets and alleys, greening of public lands and structures, and more. The program's selection criteria ensure that projects proposed by, benefiting, and building partnerships in disadvantaged and critically underserved communities will be prioritized for funding.

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USDA Urban and Community Forestry Program

This U.S. Forest Service program aims to promote forest health and enhance community resilience in both urban and rural communities through information and technical assistance. One of the program’s strategic focus areas (as outlined in the 2016-2026 Ten-Year Urban Forestry Action Plan) is Diversity, Equity, and Leadership, with program goals including engaging underserved communities in urban forestry efforts, increasing workforce development opportunities in community forestry, promoting expanded collaboration, and more. To promote the goals underlined in its Action Plan, the U.S. Forest Service provides grants under its National Urban Forestry Challenge Cost Share Grant Program. 

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Catalyst Miami Disaster Matched Savings Account

The Catalyst Miami Disaster Matched Savings Account was established as a resource for low- and moderate-income individuals within Miami, Florida neighborhoods to help families build financial stability, and better withstand disaster events. The program helps households build assets and savings through the use of financial coaching, credit coaching, and lending circles. The program encourages savings behavior and offers a 1-to-1 match as an incentive. In addition, Catalyst Miami distributes disaster preparedness kits to those who partake in the Program by saving the full amount of the cost of the kit. It also provides important information about hurricane season, along with emergency preparedness resources available from local government and community partners both before and after storms. By supplying communities with these disaster preparedness kits, as well as with teaching participants how to bank and save responsibly, Catalyst Miami helps low-income, underserved communities better withstand the shocks – economic and otherwise – often associated with disaster events. 

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Maryland Resiliency Hub Grant Program

November 1, 2018

The Maryland Energy Administration (MEA) created a $5 million Resiliency Hub Grant Program to provide funding in 2019 for the construction of community Resiliency Hubs with solar power and battery storage. The program provides funding to microgrid developers to offset some of the costs to build a Resiliency Hub in high-density, low- and moderate-income neighborhoods in Maryland. The program defines “Resiliency Hubs” as community facilities “designed to provide emergency heating and cooling capability, refrigeration of temperature sensitive medications and milk from nursing mothers, plug power for charging of cell phone and computer batteries, as well as emergency lighting.

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Tucson AZ Rainwater Harvesting Rebates

September 2013

Since 2012, the City of Tucson, Arizona has provided over $2 million in rebates for the Rainwater Harvesting Rebates Program, which allows the city’s water utility, Tucson Water, to subsidize the installation of rainwater catchment systems on residential properties throughout the city. The installations increase tree canopy cover, which helps to more effectively manage rainwater resources throughout the year. To increase project participation within low-income neighborhoods, the program provides grants and loans. These systems work to significantly reduce potable water use, push residents to move beyond sustainable practices and towards regenerative practices, and enhance the quality of life by extending the amount of tree canopy across Tucson. 

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EPA Urban Waters Small Grants

2012

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Urban Waters Program is a potential source of funding for green infrastructure and other resilience projects that highlight equity and environmental justice. The program offers small grants (up to $60,000) for water projects that encourage the growth of local business, promote public education, or otherwise create recreational, social, and employment opportunities in local communities. Since its inception in 2012 the program has provided $6.6 million in funding to 114 organizations across the U.S. and in Puerto Rico. Through this program, underserved communities can access healthy waters; helping grow local businesses and enhancing educational and social opportunities.

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New Jersey Energy Resilience Bank Grant and Loan Financing Program Guide

October 14, 2014

Created using $200 million of Community Development Block Grant – Disaster Recovery funds from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the New Jersey Energy Resilience Bank (ERB) provides funding for new or retrofitted distributed energy resources (DER) technologies that allow facilities to continue to operate at critical load in the event of losing power because of extreme weather. This holistic approach to enhancing energy infrastructure resiliency in New Jersey was established following Superstorm Sandy.

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