College Park, Md. (May 19, 2009) – The Alliance for Community Trees, in partnership with The Home Depot(r) Foundation, is pleased to announce the recipients of $100,000 in grants awarded by the National NeighborWoods Program(tm). NeighborWoods is a nationwide initiative that engages the public in hands-on action to produce tangible improvements to community health through tree planting and stewardship. Eleven organizations were honored in the national competition, which promotes strategic partnerships between greening organizations and affordable housing providers. Grant funds will support tree planting to enhance the health and livability of affordable homes.
“In the next ten years, The Home Depot Foundation will plant and preserve more than 3 million community trees in urban areas, partnering with Alliance for Community Trees and other Foundation partners. Trees are an important component of responsible design to ensure that homes are affordable, energy efficient, safe and healthy,” said Kelly Caffarelli, President of the The Home Depot Foundation. Since 2005, The Home Depot Foundation partnership with Alliance for Community Trees has invested $1.9 million in grants, technical assistance and training to promote urban forest restoration for healthy communities nationwide.
“Thanks to the leadership and financial support of The Home Depot Foundation, we’re making investments in neighborhoods where the benefits of trees are needed the most. Trees provide clean air, energy savings for homeowners and healthier play spaces for kids,” said Alice Ewen Walker, executive director for the Alliance for Community Trees. Through its nationwide membership, Alliance for Community Trees has planted 14.9 million trees with help from 4.3 million volunteers to improve cities and towns nationwide.
The NeighborWoods grants recognize local urban forestry and affordable housing partnerships that will result in tangible, strategic improvements in the health and livability of the home environment of low-income families. The grants will fund projects that demonstrate the connection among quality affordable housing, adequate green spaces and trees and the overall health and success of communities. Trees can be the catalyst for profound community change and are an essential component of creating a strong and healthy community. Studies show that:
* When planted to provide shade and windbreaks, as few as three trees can reduce residential utility costs by as much as 50%.
* Residential property values are 5-12% higher when landscaping includes trees.
* Children exhibit greater concentration and self-control, even displaying fewer symptoms of ADHD, when they are provided with daily access to green settings.
* Children who live on tree-lined streets have lower rates of asthma.
* Trees along roadways encourage slower and safer driving; tree-lined streets have fewer accidents.
Alliance for Community Trees is delighted to recognize the following communities and organizations that will receive NeighborWoods grants with support from The Home Depot Foundation:
Asheville, N.C. – $10,000: Asheville GreenWorks will pursue a “Trees to Success” project to help grow a healthy urban forest in the underserved Lee Walker Heights, Livingston Heights, South French Broad and River District neighborhoods of Asheville, N.C. To make public housing complexes more energy efficient and affordable, the organization will plant trees to clean the air, shade hot parking lots and front yards, and control erosion and runoff in the mountainous terrain. Asheville GreenWorks will directly engage local youths from the area’s after-school programs through summer workshops on the benefits of trees and tree maintenance, site selection tours and planting ceremonies in the fall. A total of 100 youth and adult residents from local public housing will join volunteers from The Home Depot, Rotary Club, Asheville GreenWorks and University of North Carolina to plant more than 200 trees from August to October 2009, and each youth participant will adopt the tree closest to his or her residence to maintain and care for.
Albuquerque, N.M. – $10,000: Tree New Mexico works to ensure sustainable forests in urban and rural communities and natural areas through restoration, public education and advocacy. Trees are rare on residential properties in Albuquerque’s low-income, at-risk neighborhoods. Focusing on underserved residents and homeowners, Tree New Mexico will use this grant to partner with local affordable housing associations to plant mainly low-water-use, energy-saving, shade trees in three low-income areas in Albuquerque. Tree New Mexico will collaborate with the Sawmill Community Land Trust, the Greater Albuquerque Housing Partnership, the Greater Albuquerque Habitat for Humanity and Albuquerque’s City Forester to plant trees on more than 120 homeowner properties from August to November 2009. Volunteers from the neighborhood, Tree New Mexico and the local The Home Depot store will help distribute trees to private homeowners and assist the elderly and others who are unable to plant the trees on their own. This project will support community revitalization not only by improving property values through beautification and reducing residents’ energy costs, but also by encouraging volunteerism, bringing together neighbors and creating a sense of pride and shared accomplishment in the impacted communities.
Baltimore, Md. – $10,000: Parks & People Foundation is dedicated to promoting a healthy natural environment for Baltimore, Md. Parks & People will utilize this grant to green the barren sidewalks of Jefferson Street in McElderry Park, an urban neighborhood in East Baltimore. Working with Chesapeake Habitat for Humanity, Parks & People will plant up to 65 street trees along Jefferson Street, which will soon be home to 14 families living in newly-rehabilitated Habitat houses. After workshops, community meetings, and Tree Steward trainings over the summer, 40 volunteers-including The Home Depot store associates, the 14 new families, local residents, and individuals and groups recruited by Parks & People-will participate in the October planting event. Among those volunteers will be one with doubly strong ties to this project: one of the associates at the local The Home Depot store will purchase and move her family into one of the new Jefferson Street homes this May. With her hard work and the efforts of dedicated volunteers and partners, Parks & People will revive Jefferson Street into a healthy neighborhood block with beautiful family homes and the benefits of trees and green space.
Pittsburgh, Pa. – $10,000: Friends of the Pittsburgh Urban Forest aims to enhance its home city’s vitality by restoring and protecting the urban forest through community tree maintenance, planting, education and advocacy. Pittsburgh has experienced a substantial drop in its number of trees in recent years-approximately 4 trees are lost to construction, pollution, disease, or neglect for every 1 tree planted-and East Liberty is one of the city’s most barren neighborhoods. As part of a comprehensive green plan for East Liberty, this year Friends of the Pittsburgh Urban Forest will partner with East Liberty Development, Inc., Negley Place Neighborhood Association, and the Sojourner House to plant trees on the site of four new affordable housing units and adjacent properties. Residents and neighborhood volunteers will be involved in tree site selection and planting, and will receive formal training in tree biology, tree planting, and tree care. Among the community members affected by this greening project are the residents of Sojourner House, a local facility that provides permanent, supportive housing to help rebuild families torn apart by addiction and poverty. Friends of the Pittsburgh Urban Forest will strive to bring together these families and other dedicated residents for a truly community-driven revitalization of the East Liberty neighborhood.
Tulsa, Okla. – $7,686: Up With Trees is a 32-year-old Tulsa based non-profit that beautifies the greater Tulsa area by planting trees and creates urban forestry awareness through education. For this grant project, Up With Trees will partner with Tulsa’s Community Action Project (CAP), which provides safe, affordable, quality housing options for low-income families by buying, renovating and reselling homes in at-risk neighborhoods. Up With Trees will plant trees at 40 homes owned by participants of CAP’s First-time Homebuyer Program. Tree recipients will live in neighborhoods with CAP Early Childhood Centers, where eighty percent of enrolled children live at or below the federal poverty line. All 40 homeowners will attend tree planting and tree care seminars during the summer months, and will participate in tree plantings from October through December along with volunteers from The Home Depot and Up With Trees. The new trees will help combat Tulsa’s lack of safe, affordable housing by improving neighborhood aesthetics, increasing homeowners’ property values and reducing their energy usage by providing shade on the South face of the residences. This Up With Trees project will result in tangible, strategic improvements to the health and livability of Tulsa’s low-income communities.
Goleta, Calif. – $10,000: Goleta Valley Beautiful organizes beautification efforts, environmental education, and public policy advocacy to support a healthy urban forest and encourage community environmental involvement in Goleta Valley, Calif. In a project that will affect over 700 residents living in 221 low-income housing units, Goleta Valley Beautiful will plant 70 native shade trees on four affordable housing properties in the Goleta Valley area of Santa Barbara County. Through partnerships with The Home Depot, Habitat for Humanity of Southern Santa Barbara County, People’s Self Help Housing and the Housing Authority of the County of Santa Barbara, Goleta Valley Beautiful will implement four or more volunteer support projects and develop matching contributions to complete this tree planting program. The 70 shade trees will beautify the impacted communities and will provide passive energy conservation by reducing summer temperatures on South- and West-facing building walls, thereby cutting energy costs for residents. Goleta Valley Beautiful anticipates over 180 volunteers-two thirds of them residents of the affordable housing communities-will participate in the planting and ongoing maintenance of the trees.
New Orleans, La. – $10,000: Parkway Partners will partner with The Home Depot and the Gulf Coast Housing Partnership to advance its ReLeaf New Orleans initiative, a volunteer-driven citywide post-Katrina reforestation campaign to address the loss of 70% of the city’s trees. More than 100 volunteers will plant 343 trees at three new affordable-housing projects in the historic Central City and Holy Cross neighborhoods. Parkway Partners will recruit volunteers from the impacted neighborhoods and engage them in a series of events over an eight month period: Tree Trooper Training in May, a hurricane preparedness workshop in July, an event celebrating trees and urban forestry in October, a tree planting project in December and an Arbor Day Celebration with tree planting in January 2010. The intensive Tree Trooper training will educate residents from throughout New Orleans about tree health and care, with lessons from representatives of the Louisiana Urban Forestry Council and the LSU Agricultural Center. Through this project, Parkway Partners will strengthen ties within the new community-based affordable housing groups, help restore New Orleans’ urban forest and further the rehabilitation of two communities ravaged by Katrina’s floodwaters.
Marion, Iowa – $10,000: Trees Forever is a regional nonprofit that plants trees and cares for the environment by empowering people, building community and promoting stewardship. Disastrous flooding in Iowa in 2008 irreparably damaged 944 homes in Cedar Rapids, 75% of which were low-income housing. The city needs at least 420 new owner-occupied homes, half of which must be affordable housing. Trees Forever will partner with Cedar Valley Habitat for Humanity to help address this need and ensure green, sustainable redevelopment in Iowa by planting approximately 50 trees at 20-25 new Habitat homes in the Jones Park neighborhood of Cedar Rapids. Trees Forever will also plant another 50 trees at 20-25 Habitat sites in Des Moines. With an estimated 45 volunteers including future Habitat home occupants, The Home Depot associates, Habitat and Trees Forever volunteers, this project will revitalize devastated Iowa neighborhoods and benefit low-income homeowners by increasing their property values, improving air quality, reducing storm water runoff and producing energy-conserving shade. Volunteers and every future Habitat homeowner will receive training on proper planting and maintenance of trees to ensure survivability of the trees and maximize their long-term benefits for Iowa communities.
Greenville, S.C. – $10,000: Trees Greenville educates residents about the benefits of trees and plants, promotes, and protects trees in Greenville County, S.C. As part of its ongoing partnership with the Greenville County Redevelopment Authority (GCRA), Trees Greenville will utilize this grant to plant 100 shade and street trees in the Freetown Community and 50 shade and street trees in the Brutontown Community. These efforts will contribute to the continuing revitalization of these neighborhoods, where all homes are owner-occupied but tree canopy cover is low. Trees Greenville will engage homeowners and community residents through summer workshops at the Brutontown and Freetown Community Centers, teaching them about tree planting, care, and maintenance. Youth from after-school programs at the Centers will team up with Community residents, The Home Depot and Trees Greenville volunteers, GCRA staff and members of the Brutontown Community Football team to plant trees around their streets and homes from October to December 2009. The revitalization project will come full circle for one associate of The Home Depot who is also a Brutontown resident; by volunteering on this project, she will help to beautify her community while also increasing her property value and decreasing her energy costs.
Wilmington, Del. – $9,355: The Delaware Center for Horticulture cultivates a greener community, inspiring appreciation and improvement of our environment through horticulture, education and conservation. In partnership with Habitat for Humanity and the City of Wilmington Real Estate and Housing, Delaware Center for Horticulture will use this grant to plant 40 trees on the property of new homeowners in several low-income neighborhoods across Wilmington. Delaware Center for Horticulture’s efforts will help revitalize these older inner-city areas on the east side and northeast of Wilmington, where median family income fluctuates around $30,000. Homeowners will join with Delaware Center for Horticulture and The Home Depot volunteers, university students, corporate volunteers and other area residents to plant new, neighborhood-beautifying trees in their yards. They will benefit from the improved air and water quality, increased shade, lower summer temperatures and lower energy costs that new trees will bring. Delaware Center for Horticulture will educate residents about the value of trees in the urban environment and train them on proper tree maintenance so that their trees will survive as sustainable revitalizing tools in these low-income Wilmington communities.
About Alliance for Community Trees
Alliance for Community Trees (ACT) is dedicated to improving the health and livability of cities by planting and caring for trees. With 160 grassroots affiliates in 40 states and Canada, ACT engages volunteers to take action to improve the environment where 80% of people live – in urban areas. ACT member organizations have planted and cared for 14.9 million trees in cities with help from 4.3 million volunteers. For more information, visit www.actrees.org.
About The Home Depot Foundation
The Home Depot Foundation was created in 2002 to further the community building goals of The Home Depot. The Home Depot Foundation is dedicated to building affordable homes for working families that are healthy to live in and affordable to own. To make homes healthy and affordable, the Foundation encourages developers to incorporate responsible design and use durable and quality materials to ensure that homes are more energy and water efficient, have good indoor air quality, and provide a safe and healthy space to live. Since its formation, The Home Depot Foundation has granted $120 million to nonprofit organizations and supported the development of more than 65,000 affordable, healthy homes. For more information, visit www.homedepotfoundation.org.
For the full press release, visit Alliance for Community Trees Announces $100,000 National Grant Program Recipients.