Greetings Midwest BDC! 

March is finally here – and hopefully, we will all be seeing signs of Spring soon. Even though springtime weather is typically full of warmer days, sunshine, and occasional thunderstorms, our weather patterns continue to change and include more severe events due to climate change. Just this past week, we saw a storm sweep across the Midwest, dumping up to 20 inches of snow in Minnesota and leaving tens of thousands without power in Michigan.  

These severe weather events are made more dramatic by impacts of climate change. As we advocate for electrification and the introduction of clean energy production, it is vital we also include a strong, sustainable grid that doesn’t leave people without power. Without intervention, we know that climate change will continue to get worse, and these severe weather events will increase with it.  

In this Newsletter, we feature two new blog posts that are up on the MWBDC website, introduce two new resources from MWBDC staff (bi-weekly office hours and a new train the trainer program), remind you of upcoming webinars and events, and as always: funding opportunities, job postings, and our news roundup! 

In solidarity, 

– Marnese, Jacob, and Maggie 


Jamie Simmons (Michigan) 

Jamie Simmons is a macro social worker and organizer who has worked within reentry job retention and succession planning, social justice advocacy and education dialogues, and helped establish the UM Social Work-Engage program. Jamie has spent the majority of her career helping people, organizations, and higher education institutions center equity and authentic engagement. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University School of Social Science and a master’s degree from the University of Michigan School of Social Work. 

Justin Idleburg (Missouri) 

Known as an expert in racial equity strategies, Justin Idleburg is a racial equity strategist for Idleburg Consultants. In addition to working with governmental leaders and grassroots activists, Justin also works with religious communities and nonprofits. A fair community development plan is what he offers on issues such as health equity, educational equity, and workforce development. Thus, the application of a racial equity framework is better suited to addressing inequitable outcomes. He specializes in helping non-profit organizations analyze public policy, form coalitions, build strategic alliances, argue their case, and develop organizational capability as a coach. 

As part of Justin’s volunteer activities, he is a member of the Delmar Divine, Presbyterian USA St. Louis National Conference, and Presbyterian USA St. Louis Annual Conference. As well as being active with the Regional Health Commission, Creative Reaction Lab, Forward Through Ferguson, United Nations Association of St. Louis, The Magic House @MADE, Missouri Energy Efficiency for All, and the St. Louis Promise Zone Sustainable Development Committee, Justin volunteered for numerous other organizations. 

To meet the needs of the community, he strives to bring innovative, sustainable, banking-friendly, and emerging solutions to bear. The core of his work is about equity, sustainability, innovation, bankability, and engagement. Many of his clients are surprised to learn that their facility has capabilities they never dreamed of. In addition to his education at the University of Missouri-Columbia, Justin is a proud graduate of Charles Sumner High School, Washington University’s Brown School of Social Work, the Neighborhood Leadership Fellowship at UMSL. Moreover, the Urban Land Institute Real Estate Diversity Initiative. 

He is committed to introducing innovative equity and community development techniques and to integrating best practices into everything he does. A key goal of his team is to bring disruptive innovations to the market and contribute to the transformation of cities. Among his other initiatives, he works to advance equity in healthcare, education, and economic development in rural and urban communities. 

A man of great knowledge and who possesses exceptional technical expertise, Justin aims to better the world. Low-income families can receive affordable housing because he is dedicated to this cause. To him, making sure that everyone gets all the help they need is his top priority at work. Friendliness and enthusiasm are trademarks of Justin’s work ethic! 


Guest Blog Post: The Hate That Killed Tyre Nichols 

Read this blog post by James Trice, co-leader of the MWBDC Federal Policy Working Group. 

“As we embark on the 53rd celebration of Black History month – first proposed in 1969 and first celebrated in 1970 – passed by the US Congress in 1986, we are met with the harsh reality that anti-blackness still permeates the soul and culture of America. The recent brutal beating and murder of Tyre Nichols – a black man – on January 10, 2023, by five black police officers in Memphis, TN, underscore the fact that the pathology of anti-blackness is alive and well in the hearts and minds of some white folk as well as some black folk in America. Anti-blackness is a byproduct of the false ideology of white supremacy and black inferiority woven within the fabric of America, so much so that even the victims of this deadly ideology – some black people – have internalized it.” Read more here.  

Blog Post: 2022-2023 Empowerment Grant Recipients: Funding deeper involvement across the Midwest 

Check out this blog post by Maggie Heiser highlighting the recipients of the 2022-2023 Empowerment Grants cycle. Learn more about the organizations that received funding, and how they plan to use it to further their missions.  

“In the first cycle of the program, a total of $518,500 was invested into BIPOC-led community organizations committed to building power in BIPOC communities across the Midwest. Building on the success of that first year, we were able to regrant $270,002 in the form of Empowerment Grants and $203,000 of participation stipends in this second cycle of the program, with a funding period of September 2022 – September 2023.” Read more here.  

MWBDC Office Hours 

Do you have questions for our co-directors that come up between working group meetings? If so, visit our new office hours! This will be a time to ask questions and connect with MWBDC staff. If you plan on attending office hours, it could be a good idea to email staff with what you want to talk about ahead of time so that we can come prepared to answer questions. Register here! We will be holding office hours every other Friday for 60 minutes at 1 PM EST / 12 PM CST.  

MWBDC Train the Trainer Program 

Coming up this month, we are excited to launch our first Train the Trainer meeting. Have you been involved with MWBDC, and feel ready to bring our mission and work into your own community? This training will dive into how we do our new member orientations, and provide you with a slideshow and script. If you feel ready to take our work into your communities and bring more folks into the larger Coalition, register here! This training will be March 16th at 10 AM EST / 9 AM CST.  

Midwest Clean Heat Infrastructure Accelerator Webpage 

Slipstream recently launched a page on their website dedicated to Clean Heat infrastructure in the Midwest. Last month, Connor Jansen of Slipstream joined MWBDC’s Jacob Serfling for this webinar on Clean Heat Infrastructure. Watch the recorded webinar here, and then head on over to their webpage to learn more! 

Upcoming Trainings 

We have a ton of exciting trainings coming up in March – starting tomorrow! Learn more and register below.  

March 2: Justice40 Advocacy at State Level 

The Justice40 Initiative states that “The Federal Government has made it a goal that 40 percent of the overall benefits of certain Federal investments flow to disadvantaged communities that are marginalized, underserved, and overburdened by pollution.” 

This webinar, led by Ardie Griffin, Policy Analyst and Legislative Director at Emerald Cities Collaborative, will explore how we can advocate for the implementation of these Justice40 goals at the State level. Ardie will explore the two main funding mechanisms affected by the Justice40 Initiative: Formula Grants and Competitive Grants. 

If you would like to learn more about how the Justice40 Initiative works at the Federal and State levels, prepare to apply for funding through one of these grant sources, or advocate for proper funding allocations, this webinar is for you! 

Register now! 

March 9: Gas Utility Reform: RAP Webinar Series 

Gas utilities are facing an uncertain future. The possibility of a loss of customers is leading these entities to search for low/zero-GHG gas alternatives, despite their cost, limited availability, and air quality concerns. How should policymakers start to reform the regulation of gas utilities to limit risks to ratepayers and promote equitable and efficient decarbonization of the building sector? In this webinar, Mark LeBel and Megan Anderson from the Regulatory Assistance Project (RAP) will explore the topic of gas utility reform and conduct a discussion with participants. 

Thursday, March 9th. 90 minutes. Live on Zoom. Register now! 

March 23: Fundamentals of Utility Planning: RAP Webinar Series 

One of the most important opportunities in the power sector to advocate for decarbonization, consumer protections, and social equity is to engage in utility resource planning. In this webinar, Elaine Prause and Jessica Shipley from the Regulatory Assistance Project (RAP) will explore the fundamentals of robust utility system planning to support public participation and decision-making in the public interest.    

Optional Reading:     

Thursday, March 23rd. 90 minutes. Live on Zoom. Register now! 

GTZ Program and MWBDC Workshop Announcement 

The 2023 Getting to Zero Forum is happening May 10-12 in Minneapolis, MN! Check out the full lineup of sessions and speakers here.  

MWBDC staff are running a workshop at the Forum on May 10 – The Nuts and Bolts: Coming to an Understanding on Equity and Equitable Decarbonization! 

“Join Midwest Building Decarbonization Coalition for an in-depth and hands on workshop on equitable decarbonization. Participants will leave the session with answers to questions like: What does a community that is equitably decarbonized look like versus one that isn’t? How can community members advocate for decarbonization in a way that is equitable for all members of the community? Additionally, participants will be challenged to consider the specific road blocks in their work for equitable implementation and how to take action.” 

Membership Forms 

Have you filled out your Membership Forms yet? If you want to be an official member of the Coalition, learn more and fill out the application form here.  

Newly Updated MWBDC Resources Page! 
Check out the updated resources page on the MWBDC website – now including the principles we follow at our meetings (as suggested at the Annual Meeting). If there are any other additions you’d like to see added to the page, let Maggie know at [email protected] 

Job Openings:

Senior or Managing Director, Inclusive Finance, Energy Access and Equity | Fresh Energy 

Director, Power Sector Policy & Strategy, U.S. Region | Environmental Defense Fund 

Assistant Director | Building Electrification Institute 

Policy Analyst, Electrification | Energy Innovation 

Staff Writer | Grist  

Director of Marketing & Communications | Evergreen Climate Communications 

Executive Administrative Manager – Executive Director’s Team | Chisholm Legacy Project 

Executive Administrative Manager – Deputy Director’s Team | Chisholm Legacy Project 

Regenerative Economy Communities Program Manager | Chisholm Legacy Project 

Black Femme Wellbeing Program Manager | Chisholm Legacy Project 

Senior Project Manager | National Housing Trust 

Director of the Advanced Materials & Manufacturing Technologies Office | Department of Energy 

Director of the Industrial Efficiency and Decarbonization Office | Department of Energy 

Senior Associate – Carbon Free Mobility | RMI 

Senior Appliance Standards Manager | Building Decarbonization Coalition 


Do you have announcements for the next Newsletter? Share them with Maggie at [email protected]


Check out this compilation of programs / funding opportunities compiled by Rachel Golden of RMI.  

These memos include an overview of each program, program implementation recommendations for maximum impact, and deadlines to access funds. These guides are intended to maximize the local impact of federal funds, and as such we hope you will share them with policymakers and advocacy groups in your state. 

  • Home Efficiency Rebate Programs (focused on program design) – $4.3B for states to design programs that will incentivize whole-home retrofits.  
  • Home Electrification Rebate Program (focused on program design) – $4.5 billion for states to design programs that will help low- and moderate-income households electrify their living units.  
  • Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund (focused on preparing for notice of funding) – $27 billion to nonprofit financial institutions, states, local governments and Tribal Nations designed to both support deployment of zero emissions technologies and to provide low-cost financing for climate and clean energy projects, especially in disadvantaged communities.  
  • Climate Pollution Reduction Grants (focused on preparing for notice of funding) – $5 billion in direct grants to states, local governments, air pollution control agencies, and Tribes to plan for and implement policies that reduce climate pollution.  
  • Environmental and Climate Justice Block Grants (focused on preparing for notice of funding) – $3 billion in grants and technical assistance to community-based organizations to execute climate and environmental justice projects of their design.  
  • New Electricity Incentives (focused on PUC engagement) -This brief examines how the electricity tax credit, and new financing and grant programs can inform the work of public utility commissions and lead to significant electric bill savings for Americans.  

ACEEE Student Scholarship Program 

ACEEE is now accepting applications for the Linda Latham Scholarship, which will support students interested in attending our 2023 Industry Summer Study in Detroit, Michigan, July 11–13.  
The Industry Summer Study is the leading conference exploring strategies and technologies to reduce emissions from the industrial sector. This 15th biennial event will convene experts to discuss how to capitalize on recent federal climate legislation and turn the ambitious decarbonization goals set by the Biden administration into achievable action plans. Linda Latham Scholars will be exposed to new ideas and opportunities as they interact with efficiency experts from around the world. In turn, Summer Study attendees will be able to meet these exceptional students—a win-win for all! 
To be eligible, applicants must be a full-time undergraduate or graduate student enrolled in an accredited college or university who studies energy, climate change, or environmental science and is considering a career in those fields.   

Learn more and view the application here.  

Funding Opportunities 

U.S. Department of Energy Announces the Buildings Upgrade Prize 

The Buildings Upgrade Prize (Buildings UP) is offering more than $22 million in cash prizes and technical assistance to teams across America with winning ideas to accelerate widespread, equitable energy efficiency and building electrification upgrades. Learn more on the DOE’s website here. 

If you want to learn more and apply for funds, check out these informational sessions to learn more about the prize and how you can take advantage of this opportunity. The sessions are hosted by Residential Retrofits for Energy Equity (R2E2), which is providing training and capacity building for applicants to the Buildings Upgrade Prize. A partnership of ACEEE, Elevate, Emerald Cities Collaborative, and HR&A Advisors, R2E2 works to advance affordable housing energy upgrades to lower energy bills and GHG emissions while advancing racial equity, local workforce development, and health goals. Learn more and register for one of the webinar sessions here.  

EPA Announces Environmental and Climate Justice Block Grant Program 

EPA published a funding announcement for the Environmental and Climate Justice block grant program. This is $100 million in Inflation Reduction Act environmental justice grants (EJCPS and EJG2G). Applications are due April 10.  

Among many uses, building decarbonization projects in low-income communities are eligible for funding. For example, groups looking to fund local whole-home retrofit pilot programs (including appliance electrification) are eligible for funding.  

Eligible Applicants:

  • a community-based nonprofit organization (CBO)   
  • a partnership of multiple CBOs 
  • a partnership between a state/local/tribal government and CBO 

Project Amount:$150,000- $1,000,000 

Eligible Uses: 

  • Investments in zero-emission technologies and related workforce development.  
    Air pollution and climate emission mitigation and resiliency efforts 
  • Facilitating engagement between marginalized group and government bodies.  

Linked here is a list of previously funded projects.  

Thanks to Lauren Reeg for sending this along on the MWBDC listserv! 

The Environmental Justice Government-to-Government Program 

The Environmental Justice Government-to-Government (EJG2G) program provides funding at the state, local, territorial, and tribal level to support  government activities that lead to measurable environmental or public health impacts in communities disproportionately burdened by environmental harms. 

The EJG2G program goals are to: 

  • Achieve measurable and meaningful environmental and/or public health results in communities; 
  • build broad and robust, results-oriented partnerships, particularly with community-based nonprofit organizations (CBO) within disproportionately impacted areas; 
  • pilot activities in specific communities that create transferable models, which can be expanded or replicated in other geographic areas and;   
  • strengthen the development and implementation of meaningful approaches to achieve environmental justice. 

The deadline to apply is April 14, 2023. Learn more and find resources here.  

DOE Announces $50 Million for Tribal Clean Energy Projects

Through this funding opportunity announcement (FOA), the DOE is soliciting applications from Indian Tribes, which include Alaska Native Regional Corporations and Village Corporations, Intertribal Organizations, and Tribal Energy Development Organizations to:  

  • Install clean energy generating systems and/or energy efficiency measures for tribal buildings
  • Deploy community-scale clean energy generating systems or community energy storage on tribal lands
  • Install integrated energy systems for autonomous operation (independent of the traditional centralized electric power grid) to power a single or multiple essential tribal buildings during emergency situations or for tribal community resilience
  • Provide electric power to tribal buildings, which otherwise would be unelectrified

Read more about the funding here. Deadline to apply is May 16, 2023.

Preventing Outages and Enhancing the Resilience of the Electric Grid Grants

The Preventing Outages and Enhancing the Resilience of the Electric Grid Grants are designed to make grants to eligible entities, States, and Tribes to prevent outages and enhance the resilience of the electric grid. Learn more here. 


Advocates seek to boost clean energy program in latest Farm Bill renewal – Energy News Network, February 28, 2023 

‘We can’t find people to work’: The newest threat to Biden’s climate policies – Politico, February 27, 2023 

Green colonialism is flooding the Pacific Northwest – High Country News, February 28, 2023 

Xcel Energy proposing a program to expand assistance for customers with their energy bill – WEAU, February 27, 2023 

Michigan Democrats pressure utilities: more credits for power outages – Bridge Michigan, February 27, 2023 

Energy Storage Grand Challenge Update – U.S. Department of Energy, February 27, 2023 

Illinois Put a Stop to Local Governments’ Ability to Kill Solar and Wind Projects. Will Other Midwestern States Follow? – Inside Climate News, February 27, 2023 

EPA Announces $1.35M in Research Grant Funding to Iowa State University – EPA, February 27, 2023 

EPA Announces $21M in Research Grant Funding to Investigate Cumulative Health Impacts of Climate Change on Underserved Communities – EPA, February 27, 2023 

Energy Conservation Program: Energy Conservation Standards for Refrigerators, Refrigerator-Freezers, and Freezers – Federal Register, February 27, 2023 

Zero Energy Ready Home – U.S. Department of Energy, February 27, 2023 

DTE seeks another rate increase citing inflation, material costs – Bridge Detroit, February 22, 2023 

Rural clean energy focus of new report – Daily News, February 23, 2023 

EPA Releases Proposed Approach for Considering Cumulative Risks under TSCA – EPA, February 24, 2023 

*As Heat Pumps Go Mainstream, a Big Question: Can They Handle Real Cold? – The New York Times, February 22, 2023 

The American climate migration has already begun – The Guardian, February 23, 2022 

Winter storm causes over 1 million power outages, traps drivers in cars and delays travel nationwide – CBS News, February 23, 2023 

EPA administrator: ‘Norfolk Southern will pay for cleaning up the mess they created’ – NBC News, February 21, 2023 

Buildings UP Prize Applications are Now Open for Phase 1 – U.S. Department of Energy | February 21, 2023 

Black Minnesotans disproportionately affected by environmental pollutants – MinnPost, February 17, 2023 

St. Cloud leaders want community carbon neutral in 5 years – KFGO, February 18, 2023  

*Two Evangelical Leaders on ‘Radical Faith’ – The New York Times, February 20, 2023 

Ann Arbor’s big decarbonization bet – Grist, January 25, 2023 

Minnesota Has Passed a Landmark Clean Energy Law. Which State Is Next? – Inside Climate News, February 9, 2023 

Justice40 Accelerator program boosts Detroit nonprofits, but advocates say more help is needed – Planet Detorit, February 8, 2023 

Evers’ budget will call for spending millions on Wisconsin’s clean energy workforce – Wisconsin Public Radio, February 8, 2023 

Whitmer budget puts billions toward water infrastructure, clean energy – M Live, February 9, 2023 

Minnesota’s carbon-free electricity bill: 8 questions, answered – MPRNews, February 2, 2023 

The forgotten gas stove wars – Vox, February 5, 2023 

Faith leaders: Clean energy bill will help us fulfill our role as earth’s stewards – PostBulletin, February 1, 2023 

The enormous heat pumps warming cities – BBC, February 1, 2023 

*Indicates that unfortunately, this article is behind a paywall.