Greetings Midwest BDC!

Thoughts and prayers will never be enough. But we offer them, along with our commitment to fostering communities where everyone can survive and thrive, to our neighbors in Highland Park, Illinois, after more senseless gun violence this weekend.

We also believe that it’s clearer now than ever that local, state, and regional organizing will be key to advancing an equitable energy transition. The Federal Supreme Court may have dealt a blow to the Federal government’s ability to limit greenhouse gas emissions, reduced the rights of people with uteruses to make their own reproductive decisions, and more. However, we continue our fights at every level of government and society.   

The good news is, we have funding to help support our Coalition’s organizing and action! Our Participation Stipend and Empowerment Grant applications are open for Round 2. Scroll down or click here to learn more.

Keep reading to learn about the latest training opportunities from Midwest BDC: “False Solutions: A Deep Dive on Hydrogen and RNG in Buildings” on July 14, “Understanding Racism and Implicit Bias in Building Decarbonization,” on August 11, and “Undoing White Supremacy Culture in Building Decarbonization,” on August 25.

You may have also seen the news that the MI Supreme Court threw out charges against former MI Governor Snyder and other officials over the Flint water crisis. We want to lift up the words of Coalition member Flint Rising: “….It has become increasingly clear that the judicial system is not a viable option for a poor majority Black community facing injustice. We are building justice on the ground by creating spaces where marginalized voices are loved, valued, and have the autonomy to make the best decisions for their family.  We hope that one day our state and federal government will catch up and do the same…” Read their full statement here.

Finally, if you’re not seeing calendar invites to our Monthly meeting (July 13) or Equity working group (July 20), please contact Eric ([email protected]).

In solidarity,

– Marnese, Margaret, Jacob, and Eric


This month, we’re spotlighting two active Coalition members: Hillary Thomas (Minnesota) and Huda Alkaff (Wisconsin).

Hillary Thomas

When human beings experience environmental trauma, it is not uncommon for their lives to unravel. My great passion is to bring healing to underserved communities. My goal is to help communities, which includes children, adults, families and targeted industries find healthy perceptions of themselves. Striving to strengthen environment solutions so they know themselves as safe, healthy, complete and peaceful.

I know that one single approach does not work for everyone. I have been trained in Motivational Interviewing, Emotional Intelligence, Human Centered Thinking, GCDF Certification, Environmental Justice Fellowship, and Extensive Job Coach/Counseling at Urban League Twin Cities. 

My educational background includes a B.S. degree in criminal justice from Morningside University, Attended North Carolina A & T for graduate studies with a major in Secondary Education. 

In addition to celebrating 28 years of marriage, my wife, and I have four beautiful children.  Written a book for the Minnesota Historical Society entitled the “History of the Ebony Fashion Fair” hosted by Phi Beta Sigma, Fraternity, Inc. Four-year collegiate athlete, manage equities fund portfolio, playwriting and producer, Senior Deacon, and President of the 30 MEN STRONG Ministry. 

My goal is to remain involved with MWBDC equity team, grants and stipends subcommittee, local building codes, and eventually become a Environmental Scientist. Last but not least, remain cancer free since May 2022.

Huda Alkaff

Huda Alkaff is an ecologist, environmental educator, and the founder and director of Wisconsin Green Muslims, a grassroots environmental justice group formed in 2005 connecting faith, environmental justice, sustainability, and healing through education and service. Huda’s higher education degrees are in Conservation Ecology, Sustainable Development, and Science/Environmental Education from the University of Georgia.

Huda received recognitions from the 2015 White House Champions of Change for Faith Climate Justice Leaders by President Obama, the 2016 Sierra Club Great Waters group Environmental Hero of the Year, the 2017 Environment America’s Voices for 100 percent Renewable Energy, the 2018 Wisconsin Association for Environmental Education Eco-Justice Award, and the RE-AMP Network Superstar award, the 2021 Rachel’s Network Catalyst Award, the 2022 American Climate Leadership Award Finalist, and the 2022 Environmental Justice Award by Midwest Environmental Advocates.

For over two decades, Huda advocates for environmental justice, initiating Muslim and interfaith programs on energy democracy and water equity. Huda is a Program Manager at Milwaukee Environmental Consortium and the Coordinator of Wisconsin Faith Communities for Equitable Solar that connects with over 7,000 people from 19 different faith traditions, spiritualities and various backgrounds. She recently co-chaired the 2021-2022 US Climate Action Network 100% Equitable Renewable Energy Action Team.

Huda is a board member of the Midwest Renewable Energy Association. She is a founding member of the Interfaith Earth Network of Southeastern Wisconsin, Wisconsin Interfaith Power and Light, Wisconsin Creation Care Ambassadors, and the Islamic Society of North America Green Initiative Team.


To view upcoming working group meetings and other Coalition events online, visit

July 7: AWHI Steering Committee

The Midwest Advanced Water Heating Initiative Steering Committee meetings the first Thursday of each month at 10-11am Central / 11am-12pm Eastern. To participate, please contact Jacob.

July 13: Coalition Monthly Meeting

Our next monthly meeting will be on Wednesday, July 13 at 2pm CST / 3pm EST. Send any agenda suggestions or additions to Marnese. If your announcement item will take more than 2-3 minutes, please get on the agenda ahead of time.

July 14: Governance Working Group Meeting

The Governance Working Group meets every other Thursday at 9am Central / 10am Eastern. To participate, please email Marnese.

July 14: False Solutions: A Deep Dive on Hydrogen and RNG in Buildings

Can we replace fossil gas with hydrogen? What’s the deal with “renewable natural gas”? Join us to get clear on some of the solutions that will work, might work, or simply will not work. Training is 90 minutes, Thursday, July 14, at 2pm Central / 3pm Eastern for 90 minutes. Register here.

July 18: 2022 Equity Summit Planning meeting

This core group will plan the 2022 Equity Summit. We will meet Monday, July 18, 2022 at 11a.m. EST/10a.m. CST. If you have ideas and can’t meet, please fill out the google form HERE.

July 20: Equity Working Group

This group meets every month on the third Tuesday at 12 pm Central / 1pm Eastern for 90 minutes. This is the second month of our new time, starting 30 minutes earlier than past months. To participate please email Marnese

July 21: Policy Working Group Meeting

The Policy Working Group meets for 90 minutes every third Thursday at 10:30am Central / 11:30am Eastern. To participate, please email Marnese.

July 19: Affordable Housing/QAP Working Group

This group meets every third Tuesday of the month at 3:30pm Central / 4:30pm Eastern. To participate please email Marnese

July 26: New Member Orientation

New member orientation is every 4th Tuesday of the month at 12pm Central / 1pm Eastern. Click here to register.  

July 26: Michigan Building Decarbonization Coalition Meeting

This group meets monthly on the 4th Tuesday at 1pm Central / 2pm Eastern. For more information, please contact Charlotte Jameson with MI Environmental Council. 

July 27: Local Codes and Standards Working Group

This group meets every month on the fourth Wednesday at 3:30pm Central / 4:30pm Eastern. To participate, contact Jacob

July 28: Governance Working Group Meeting

The Governance Working Group meets every other Thursday at 9am Central / 10am Eastern. To participate, please email Marnese.

August 3: Health Working Group

The Health Working Group meets monthly on the first Wednesday at 12pm Central / 1pm Eastern. To participate, please email Emma Hines.

August 4: AWHI Steering Committee

The Midwest Advanced Water Heating Initiative Steering Committee meetings the first Thursday of each month at 10-11am Central / 11am-12pm Eastern. To participate, please contact Jacob.

August 11: Understanding Racism and Implicit Bias in Building Decarbonization

11am-1pm CST / 12-2pm EST

Join us for this Coalition training, facilitated by Stephanie Bowman of Mothers Out Front.

Register here.

August 25: Undoing White Supremacy Culture in Building Decarbonization

11am-1pm CST / 12-2pm EST

Join us for this Coalition training, facilitated by Stephanie Bowman of Mothers Out Front.

Register here.

For full details about all Coalition working groups, keep reading.


Energy PLUS: Uncovering the many facets of energy and climate issues in our lives

Energy and climate issues play out across our society—in books and film, institutions of higher learning, our democracy, and in the very air we breathe. Fresh Energy and special guests are sitting down to talk about the many facets of energy in our lives every Thursday from 12-1 Central / 1-2 Eastern this July! RSVP to join in on four separate fun, engaging conversations. Find speaker information, topic schedules, and more as details emerge here:

  • July 7 at Noon Central: “Energy + Democracy,” a talk about how voter engagement intersects with climate and justice
  • July 14 at Noon Central: “Energy + Higher Ed!” What’s next for climate and clean energy leadership at these institutions?
  • July 21 at Noon Central: “Energy + Health,” a discussion on health impacts in energy decisions
  • July 28 at Noon Central: “Energy + the Arts” From science fiction to Hollywood films, how accurate are these depictions, and can they spur action?

IIJA Weatherization Implementation Webinar 

Monday, July 11 | 11 am – 12 pm CDT | by Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (MEEA)

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) includes a historic $3.5 billion investment in the Weatherization Assistance Program to reduce energy burdens, improve housing quality and create jobs. Join Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (MEEA) and panelists from the Illinois Association of Community Action Agencies, U.S. DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and the International Center for Appropriate and Sustainable Technology for a deep dive on the weatherization initiatives within IIJA, including how funds will be allocated, meeting workforce development needs, the Justice40 initiative and opportunities for stakeholders to support implementation. Register here.

Indoor Air Quality: Through the Lens of Occupants

Wednesday, July 20 | 11 am – 12 pm (CDT) | by Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (MEEA)

Building occupants, and those preparing or expected to return to work in a building, may want assurance that the building is “safe.” Definitions of “safe” or “acceptable indoor air quality” may differ from how the occupants view good air quality. In this webinar, we will explore benchmarks and create an audit template which can be used to evaluate a building’s air quality. The findings from this audit can then be communicated to occupants providing objective information on the building environment. Register here.

Minnesota Housing Capacity Building Grant Application Due July 25

Minnesota Housing’s Capacity Building Program is accepting applications to fund activities that build the capacity of organizations and communities to address root causes of housing challenges and create thriving and inclusive communities. Capacity Building Program grant funds can be used for organizational capacity building and intermediary capacity building.

Learn more about the RFP on the program page: The application deadline has been extended to 12:00 p.m. CT on Monday, July 25.

Illinois Electrification Leadership Summit: August 10

Join the Beneficial Electrification League for the Illinois Electrification Leadership Summit in Springfield Illinois, August 10. Click here for details and registration. Please note this event has a $250 cost for attendance.

Job Openings

Do you have announcements to share?

Send them to Eric at [email protected]


Advanced Energy Infrastructure: A Roadmap for Implementation in Michigan, Michigan EIBC, May 24, 2022

Home is Where the Pipeline Ends: Characterization of Volatile Organic Compounds Present in Natural Gas at the Point of the Residential End User, Michanowicz et al, June, 28, 2022.

  • PSEHealthyEnergy webinar on the study
  • “Twitter space” online event recording with Boston Globe recording here
  • Additional resources, including an explainer video and a summary of the findings are available on PSE’s website 
  • The press release is available on Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s website 


Do you know what natural gas is made of? | PSE | Physicians, Scientists, and Engineers for Healthy Energy March 22, 2022

3 Questions Wisconsinites Are Asking About Heat Pumps, CleanTechnica, June 1, 2022

Cori Bush Steers Funding to Fight Climate Crisis to Biden, The Intercept, June 22, 2022

Gas Piped Into Homes Contains Benzene and Other Risky Chemicals, Study Finds, New York Times, June 28, 2022

Michigan court tosses charges against ex-governor, others stemming from Flint water crisis, Reuters, June 28, 2022

* Asterisk indicates that, unfortunately, the article is behind a paywall, and can only be viewed by paying subscribers.