Initiative will help smaller Hoosier communities pursue federal climate and resilience funding
For Immediate Release
Apr 3, 2023
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — As new federal legislation begins to make billions of dollars available for community climate and resilience projects, Indiana University’s Environmental Resilience Institute and Center for Rural Engagement are launching a joint program to help Hoosier communities identify and compete for federal grants.
The Indiana Resilience Funding Hub will help Hoosier communities with fewer than 50,000 residents pursue federal funding for climate, energy and resilience projects. The hub will provide these communities with technical assistance and state-specific environmental expertise in the preparation and submission of competitive grant applications.
This new community-focused initiative is made possible by the Rural Climate Partnership and the Energy Foundation. Through their combined support, the Environmental Resilience Institute will hire a dedicated community funding specialist and four McKinney Climate Fellows, IU students interested in sustainability and climate careers.
A 2022 survey conducted by IU researchers found that about four out of five cities and towns in Indiana report that they lack the resources to apply for sustainability-focused federal grant funding.
“Smaller Hoosier communities know the challenges they face because of climate change, but because of capacity issues, they may not be able to take advantage of these new funding opportunities to address those challenges,” Environmental Resilience Institute Managing Director Sarah Mincey said. “The Indiana Resilience Funding Hub will work with ERI’s existing network of local government and environmental partners to help ensure these communities have the opportunity to solve identified environmental challenges.”
Rural communities, which face unique resilience challenges and frequently get overlooked in national climate discussions, will be especially encouraged to participate in the hub’s outreach and training offerings.
“The Indiana Resilience Funding Hub will connect much-needed resource development capacity with communities that are striving towards a strong future,” Center for Rural Engagement Executive Director Kerry Thomson said. “Rural communities have a critical role in mitigating climate change and its effects, and our success as a state relies on collaborative efforts like the hub.”
Through the hub, smaller Indiana communities will be better equipped to overcome capacity barriers by tapping directly into IU expertise free of charge. The Environmental Resilience Institute and the Center for Rural Engagement will guide smaller communities through an environmental needs assessment, provide data and solutions management, and support proposal development.
“The applications for federal funding opportunities are complex, have a steep learning curve and can require a substantial time investment,” said Carol Johnson, the town of Zionsville’s executive assistant to the mayor. “Access to grant specialists will give us an advantage in identifying, applying for and securing funding to implement projects and programs.”
Local government staff and community leaders who want to connect with the Indiana Resilience Funding Hub and stay informed on news and opportunities are encouraged to submit a brief interest form.