FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, October 17, 2023
CONTACT: Anya Silverman-Stoloff | firstname.lastname@example.org
First-Of-Its-Kind Approach Seeks to Make Climate Resilience and Justice oriented Financing Accessible to Frontline Communities
WASHINGTON, DC — The REGENERATIVES ECONOMIES NETWORK, a new national network of nine and growing climate justice groups launched during the 2023 People’s Climate Week, has submitted a $750 million grant application to the EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund Clean Communities Investment Accelerator. The first-of-its-kind approach seeks to make regenerative financing accessible to frontline community groups’ visionary projects.
The Regenerative Economies Network, convened by the Climate Justice Alliance, operates on “Just Transition” principles, aiming to shift the U.S. economy away from extractive industries and into a regenerative economy led by communities on the frontlines of the climate crisis. From left out to leading the way, these community reinvestment organizations are working and partnering in places that traditional capital investment has left behind.
Read more information about the Regenerative Economies Network HERE: https://regenerativeeconomiesnetwork.org/
The nine groups making up the REGENERATIVE ECONOMIES NETWORK have already directed more than $100m to more than 484 frontline community projects to more than 181 communities and tribal nations across the United States – but this is the first major grant application since the network came together to leverage its networks, expertise, and community trust and accountability. The Regenerative Economies Network provides opportunities for local businesses and community led projects to receive low-to-no-interest loans to jumpstart local, thriving, regenerative economies.
Some previously funded projects included:
- New York City’s first community-led solar energy project;
- Hawaii’s first community owned solar project;
- An energy-efficient grocery store in Isom, KY, region transitioning out of the coal industry and where there are dire options for groceries;
- and a sustainable goods store on the island of Guam that aims to prevent waste and further pollution in a fragile ecosystem.
If funded, REGENERATIVE ECONOMIES NETWORK will build upon these past successes, expanding its impact to support community projects like community owned solar, energy efficiency upgrades in low-income housing, and innovative zero emission transit projects. By taking the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund Pledge, the Network is doubling down on our commitment to equity and justice, values that are already espoused by practices in our governance, loan best practices, and accountability to those most impacted by the climate crisis. The Network calls on all applicants to the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund to sign the pledge as a starting point to more deeply integrate equity and justice into their work.
“The Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund offers a unique opportunity for the EPA to not only meet their Justice40 commitment, but also create room for community led and accountable models to meet the climate crisis moment. At Seed Commons, we have a unique model that helps scale small business and community projects and focus on what they do best while we provide the collective infrastructure. This funding and matching funding from Philanthropy could help our decades of collective regenerative economic work get to the next level of impact. We hope that both EPA and philanthropic institutions see that and invest in our proven, regenerative finance models.” Brendan Martin, Executive Director, Seed Commons
“With very few resources, frontline communities have long been developing innovative, people-centered solutions to their most pressing challenges. Grassroots-led, community-owned solar projects are proof that, with access to the necessary capital, local communities can implement sustainable models that not only address the climate crisis, but realize exponential social and economic benefits for the most climate-impacted. We are committed to supporting community-driven projects that maximize community-articulated benefits such as- local ownership opportunities, responsible land-use design, maximized electricity savings for the most vulnerable, and workforce development opportunities. The Greenhouse Gas Reduction Funds have the potential to catalyze and radically scale community-led projects and the Regenerative Economies Network is uniquely positioned, experienced and ready to support the scaling of such models. Funding from the GGRF will help multiply our impact while building community resilience and governance in the face of exacerbating climate impacts.” Mmakgantsi Mafojane, Co-Director, People’s Solar Energy Fund
“This group’s approach recognizes that the How and the Who of the clean energy transition is just as important as the What. In the community investment space, the currency of trust is what determines the true impact of the dollars deployed. Long-term change and lasting impact requires committed partnerships, meaningful community control and accountability, and a dedication to doing things the right way even if it’s harder or slower. The Regenerative Economies Network is a collection of experienced organizations who approach their work by building deep trust and accountability in the community they serve, and being responsive to the needs on the ground. This GGRF application is a promising first step for a national movement-based and community-centered approach to investing in a clean energy transition. With this Network, we’re hoping that the EPA and major climate funders will help us catalyze local, thriving, regenerative economies across the country, especially in places like rural Appalachia that traditional finance has ignored and that are self-organizing around their own vision of a just transition.” Andrew Crosson, Executive Director, Invest Appalachia
“Top-down has failed but bottom-up works. Traditional capital investing is all about winners and losers, but we’re playing a whole different game. Our bottomline is bottom-up: projects built by and for the communities we serve. This is an historic moment for the EPA to fund innovative new ways to address this unprecedented crisis. It’s also an opportunity for foundations to meet their stated values and move their nearly $1.2 trillion of endowment investments out of Wall Street and into frontline communities that are already making the Just Transition real. Experience has taught us that justice creates the best ROI. It’s time to deeply and directly invest in our movements, our regenerative finance vehicles, and in our communities” Marion Gee, Co-Executive Director, Climate Justice Alliance
The REGENERATIVE ECONOMIES NETWORK includes the Climate Justice Alliance, Seed Commons, NDN Collective, People’s Solar Energy Fund, Invest Appalachia, Appalachian Solar Finance Fund, New Economy Coalition, Mountain Association, and The Chisholm Legacy Project.
Visit RegenerativeEconomiesNetwork.org to learn more. Photos below depict projects that have been funded by members of the Regenerative Economies Network.