Sponsored by Alliance for Community Trees and The Home Depot Foundation
Pittsburgh, Pa. (March 1, 2010)- Friends of the Pittsburgh Urban Forest today announced that it will receive a $9,500 grant from Alliance for Community Trees and The Home Depot(r) Foundation. This challenge grant is part of the National NeighborWoods Program(tm), made possible through generous support of The Home Depot Foundation. 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.
“The Home Depot Foundation believes that trees are an integral part of a sustainable community’s infrastructure, and we are proud of our partnership with Alliance for Community Trees to plant and preserve a remarkable number of trees in urban areas,” said Kelly Caffarelli, president of the The Home Depot Foundation. Since 2005, The Home Depot Foundation partnership with Alliance for Community Trees has invested more than $2 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, executive director for the Alliance for Community Trees. Through its nationwide membership, Alliance for Community Trees has planted 15 million trees with help from 10.7 million volunteer hours 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.
Friends of the Pittsburgh Urban Forest (FPUF) 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. FPUF will help increase the city’s tree canopy by planting 30 large trees at the new Oak Hill Phase II development. Built on grayfield land in the city’s urban core on the site of a demolished public housing complex, Oak Hill Phase II is a mixed income residential project designed with a number of green credentials. A dense, walkable environment connected to open space and public transportation, the community will feature sustainable construction materials and energy-efficient systems for heating, plumbing, lighting, and more. This green vision was the accomplishment of the Oak Hill Residents Association, which worked closely with the housing developers to achieve their goals for a health community. The Oak Hill Residents Association will work with FPUF to fulfill the goal of adequate trees and green space in the development, and residents will partner with The Home Depot volunteers, students from adjacent universities, and city Tree Tenders for the tree plantings this fall. Training throughout the spring and summer will prepare some Oak Hill residents to graduate from the Tree Tender program, meaning the new trees will be maintained through sustained community engagement in years to come.
About Alliance for Community Trees
Alliance for Community Trees (ACT) is dedicated to ensuring clean air, green streets, and healthy neighborhoods by planting and caring for trees. With 160 grassroots affiliates in 41 states and Canada, ACT engages volunteers to take action to improve the environment where 80% of people live – in urban areas. Together, ACT member organizations have planted and cared for 15 million trees in cities with help from over 5 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.
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