Happy July, Midwest BDC!  

We are excited to announce that the applications for 2023 – 2024 MWBDC funding are now open! To align the Coalition’s work with Justice40 and the Climate Funder’s Justice Pledge, MWBDC has committed 40 percent of its annual budget to re-granting work, either through Participation Stipends for our Coalition Members or through our Empowerment Grants. We know that environmental injustices have not impacted all communities the same – BIPOC, members of Frontline Communities, historically marginalized groups, and environmental justice communities are strongly encouraged to apply.  

Participation Stipends 

Ranging from $1,000-$8,000 per year, these stipends are specifically for individuals and organizations that, due to financial constraints, would not otherwise be able to fully participate in Coalition activities.  

Expectations and Stipend Levels: Please view the Precipitation Stipend Program Handbook which outlines the different levels of stipends available and the expectations for involvement at each level. There are also ideas for how to get involved at different levels with each working group.  

Application: You can find the Participation Stipend Application on our website. 

Empowerment Grants 

Empowerment Grants are available to organizations that take action on one or more of the Coalition’s five domains of work; equity, market transformation, consumer inspiration, public policy, and research. Grants can be awarded to fund a specific project or initiative or build capacity in an organization. The grant period is one year, and the grants range in amount from $10,000 -$50,000. 

Application Rubric and Guidance: Please view the Empowerment Grant Program Handbook for more information on the application scoring process, rubric, and previous grantees. All of this information is designed to help you craft the best application possible! 

Application: You can find the Empowerment Grant Application on our website. 

Other Important Information

Please reflect and be honest about the level of coalition work you or your organization are prepared to take on in the next year. If you still have questions about the best fit, do not hesitate to contact MWBDC staff. 

Last year, we had more applications than funds available. Be thoughtful when filling out your application and provide as much information as possible. 

We will conduct quarterly check-ins via Zoom with stipend and grant recipients to make sure that they are fulfilling their commitments, and make sure that MWBDC is providing support and facilitating involvement in the areas of our work that interest them most!  

Please reach out to any of the MWBDC staff if you need assistance with your application or have any questions we could answer.  

In solidarity,  

– Marnese, Jacob, and Maggie 


Quinn Biever 

This month, we want to give a huge shout-out to Quinn Biever! He is currently the co-lead for MWBDC’s Affordable Housing / QAP Working Group and has done so much to advance the mission of that group.  

We so appreciate his leadership and want to congratulate Quinn as he makes the transition to attending law school at George Washington University in Washington D.C. this fall! Best of luck in your next endeavors, Quinn – we know you’re going to rock it! (And if anyone wants to step up into a leadership position for the Affordable Housing / QAP Working Group, we welcome your interest 😉) 

Quinn Biever is a Policy Analyst at Elevate, a nonprofit organization designing and implementing programs that reduce costs, protect the environment, and ensure the benefits of clean and efficient energy use reach everyone. In this role, he researches industry conditions and assists with the development of policy positions and advocacy materials while also tracking multi-party coalition decisions, state and federal legislation, and regulatory proceedings. With this knowledge, Quinn is responsible for drafting grant reports, board reports, presentations, regulatory documentation, and other deliverables. Policy Analysts also represent Elevate at policy forums, conference calls, and events to develop, support, and maintain relationships with external stakeholders and internal customers. Through a working partnership with the National Strategic Engagement Team, Quinn also works with the Wisconsin Climate Table, the Illinois and Missouri Energy Efficiency For All Coalitions, and the Midwest Building Decarbonization Coalition, as the representative from Elevate’s Policy Department.   


To view upcoming working group meetings and other Coalition events online, visit midwestdecarb.org/calendar. 

Keep an eye out for each week’s meeting schedule and links to join in your inbox Monday mornings! 

July 6: Federal Policy Working Group 
The Federal Policy Working Group meets every other Thursday for 90 minutes at 11 AM CST / 12 PM EST. To participate, please email Marnese. 

July 7: MWBDC Office Hours 

This time is for people to meet with MWBDC staff about any questions they might have. Feel free to email us before the meeting time so that we can be prepared with the information you need! 12 PM CST / 1 PM EST. Register here. 

July 12: Health Working Group 

This group meets on the second Wednesday of the month at 12 PM CST / 1 PM EST. To participate, please email Marnese. 

July 12: MWBDC Monthly Meeting 
The monthly meeting usually takes place the second Wednesday of each month for 90 minutes at 2 PM CST / 3 PM EST. Register here

July 13: Governance Working Group 
The Governance Working Group meets every other Thursday at 9 AM CST / 10 AM EST. To participate, please email Marnese. 

July 18: Affordable Housing / QAP Working Group 

This group meets every third Tuesday of the month at 3:30 PM CST/ 4:30 PM EST. To participate please email Marnese.   

July 19: Equity Working Group 

The Equity Working Group meets every third Wednesday of the month for 90 minutes at 1 PM EST / 12 PM CST. To participate please email Marnese.  

July 20: Federal Policy Working Group 
The Federal Policy Working Group meets every other Thursday for 90 minutes at 11 AM CST / 12 PM EST. To participate, please email Marnese. 

July 21: MWBDC Office Hours 

This time is for people to meet with MWBDC staff about any questions they might have. Feel free to email us before the meeting time so that we can be prepared with the information you need! 12 PM CST / 1 PM EST. Register here. 

July 24: Local Codes and Standards Working Group  
This group meets every month on the fourth Wednesday at 10 AM CST / 11 AM EST. To participate, contact Jacob. 

July 25: New Member Orientation  
New member orientation is every fourth Tuesday of the month at 12 PM CST / 1 PM EST. Click here to register

July 26: Faith Working Group  

This group meets the third Wednesday of every month at 12 PM EST / 11AM CST. To participate please email Marnese.  

July 26: New Member Orientation (evening)  
New member evening orientation is every fourth Wednesday of the month at 5:30 PM CST / 6:30 PM EST. Click here to register

July 27: Healing Justice Working Group  

This group meets on the fourth Thursday of the month at 10 AM CST / 11 AM EST for 60 minutes. To participate, please contact Marnese. 

July 27: Governance Working Group 
The Governance Working Group meets every other Thursday at 9 AM CST / 10 AM EST. To participate, please email Marnese. 

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


MWBDC Membership 

Thinking about applying for a Participation Stipend or Empowerment Grant? Then make sure your MWBDC Membership forms are completed! 

Check out the membership page on our website – if you do not see your or your organization’s name, then you need to fill out your membership forms.  

  • Want your organization’s logo featured on the website page? Email it to Maggie ([email protected]) and she will add it. 
  • Not seeing you or your organization’s name? Make sure you have completed your membership forms. The names on the website are pulled directly from the form responses! If you have any questions or concerns, reach out to Maggie. 

August Trainings 

August is fully booked with MWBDC trainings! Find links to all of these on our website calendar page: https://midwestdecarb.org/calendar/ 

August 3: Climate Justice 101 – register here 

We talk a lot about Climate Justice – but how do we really put it into practice? This training will dive into the nuts and bolts of understanding the movement, policy efforts, and practical steps to achieve justice. Join us to learn and reflect on some of the core principles of our movement. Facilitated by Marnese Jackson, Co-Director of the Midwest Building Decarbonization Coalition. 

August 10: EcoFeminism & EcoWomanism – register here 

Women in energy matter! This webinar will discuss the difference between EcoFeminism and EcoWomanism and how both theories can be applied to our current fight for access to clean energy options. We will also look at the intersectionality framework, and expand on how it is useful in working towards equitable building decarbonization. Facilitated by Marnese Jackson, Co-Director of the Midwest Building Decarbonization Coalition. 

August 24: Undoing Implicit Bias in Building Decarbonization – register here  

This training will discuss the basics of implicit bias and how it’s related to our work in the building sector. We dive into assumptions, pre-assumptions, and microaggressions. This training will have some pre-work to get you thinking about these topics before the session. 

August 31: White Supremacy Culture in Building Decarbonization – register here 

This training will analyze how white supremacy culture characteristics can show up in the building sector, and how we can challenge and work against them. We will come away with tangible steps we can take to manage and undo these characteristics that harm us and our communities. This training will have some pre-work to get you thinking about these topics before the session. 

The August 24 and August 31 trainings will be facilitated by Stephanie Bowman of Mothers Out Front. Before joining Mothers Out Front, Stephanie was a battleground state grasshopper for various gubernatorial, congressional, issue-based, NGO, and presidential campaigns. From age 14, she knew life in Environmental Justice was inevitable from growing/delivering freshly picked vegetables to neighbors’ doors, canvassing with AFSCME, and protesting a predatory utility company. So she received a BA in Political Science from Hampton University, and she began organizing from Virginia, Wisconsin, to Kansas. Six states later she felt disgusted about the transactional treatment by party politics. Her first passion for national work and research led her to Cornell in Marketing Strategy to learn how to test ways to engage folks nationally using digital tactics. Her second passion is facilitating tough conversations around race and class and moving towards measurable change with equity and justice at the core. 

Ohioans – Stand up to AEP Rate Hikes 

AEP is requesting a customer rate increase, while they reap billions in profits. These increases are on top of surging energy prices that took effect in June for many customers in Central Ohio. AEP needs to share the burden and not just pass it along to hard hit Ohio ratepayers.  

June 14th-16th marks the one year anniversary since AEP power outages devastated the Central Ohio community during some of the hottest days of 2022. Major storms across the region contributed to more than 230,000 AEP customers losing power in Central Ohio, leaving impacted poor and low-income neighborhoods with little to no resources to navigate the blackouts. The current request (as part of AEP’s Electric Security Plan) to increase rates for its customers will only continue to hurt marginalized communities the most. Please sign this petition to tell the PUCO not to allow AEP to increase their distribution charges and take advantage of Ohio ratepayers. 

Sign the petition and read more about the AEP’s rate hikes.  

Biden-Harris Administration Launches $7 Billion Solar for All Grant Competition to Fund Residential Solar Programs that Lower Energy Costs for Families and Advance Environmental Justice Through Investing in America Agenda 

“The new grant competition will provide funds to expand existing low-income solar programs as well as develop and implement new Solar for All programs nationwide. Solar for All programs ensure low-income households have equitable access to residential rooftop and residential community solar power, often by providing financial support and incentives to communities that were previously locked out of investments. In addition, these programs guarantee low-income households receive the benefits of distributed solar including household savings, community ownership, energy resiliency, and other benefits.”  

The deadliine to submit a notice of intent to participate is coming up in August – read more and get all the details here! 

Equitable Building Decarbonization 101 Recording

Check out this recording of Equitable Building Decarbonization 101 with Marnese and Jacob, hosted by GreenHome Institute

Lessons Learned:  

  • Articulate the benefits and barriers to equitable decarbonization.  
  • Review what is going on in the space of electrification and energy efficiency for those typically not present in these spaces.  
  • Understand where to go to get more information and join a group to continue the equitable decarbonization work in the Midwest.  
  • Discuss what is equitable decarbonization and efforts around it. 

Illinois Renewable Energy Conference – September 20 – 21, 2023 

Industry leaders discuss current topics surrounding renewable energy in Illinois and the surrounding regions.  

  • Gain insights into industry trends 
  • Explore the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act and Inflation Reduction Act 
  • Find solutions for entering the renewable energy career path 

Learn more about the speakers and schedule here

Job Openings 

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


IRA Tracker  

IRATracker.org is a joint project of Columbia Law School’s Sabin Center for Climate Change Law and Environmental Defense Fund. The IRA Database, linked below, compiles information about the climate change-related provisions of the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). Actions taken by federal agencies to implement those provisions are recorded in the IRA Tracker.” 

Roadmap to Navigating Federal Funding for Public Buildings from BlueGreen Alliance 

The 117th Congress passed historic infrastructure legislation that can be utilized to retrofit buildings, including Municipal, University, School, and Hospital (MUSH) buildings. MUSH buildings are particularly important, serving as essential community assets that represent significant opportunities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve health outcomes, build climate resilience, and support and create good, local jobs all while addressing equity and environmental justice. The objective of this roadmap is to identify the federal funding opportunities available through the Inflation Reduction Act, The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, and, in the case of schools, the American Rescue Plan, that can be used to upgrade MUSH buildings.” 

Relevant legislation includes the Inflation Reduction Act and Bipartisan Infrastructure Law 

Read the full report. 

BIPOC in Environmental and Climate Justice: A Database of Leaders 

“As a one-stop-site for speakers, specialists, potential hires, board members, advisory group and steering committee members, and more, this website is designed to be the antidote to the age-old lamentation: “But I couldn’t find any people of color.” 

There are people of color engaging on environmental and climate justice in every state in the union and beyond! This website provides a directory of Environmental and Climate Justice leaders, as well as several specialists directories to help fill the needs of organizations, institutions, and governments while uplifting BIPOC voices and experiences. Specialist directories currently include: graphic notetakers, language justice practitioners, culture workers and healing justice practitioners, and anti-oppression, diversity, equity, and inclusion professionals.” 

Environmental Justice Index  

The Environmental Justice Index uses data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to rank the cumulative impacts of environmental injustice on health for every census tract. Census tracts are subdivisions of counties for which the Census collects statistical data. The EJI ranks each tract on 36 environmental, social, and health factors and groups them into three overarching modules and ten different domains.” 


Heat waves like the one that’s killed 14 in the southern US are becoming more frequent and enduring AP News, June 30, 2023 

Prepare for More Smoky Summers in the Midwest and Northeast Inside Climate News, June 30, 2023 

CenterPoint proposes $106M plan to cut carbon emissions from its gas system Star Tribune, June 29, 2023 

Ex-Ohio House speaker gets max sentence in corruption case, blasted as ‘bully with a lust for power’ Ideastream Public Media, June 29, 2023 

Most US regions get D+ or below for transmission planning, development: benchmark report UtilityDive, June 29, 2023 

Opposition continues on proposed Yough river power plant Trib Live, June 29, 2023 

New Construction in Oak Park Will Now Be All-Electric MEEA, June 26, 2023 

Gas stoves emit benzene levels above secondhand smoke, US study finds The Guardian, June 20, 2023 

AEP’s increases would make families pick between keeping the lights on and eating| Opinion Columbus Dispatch, June 26, 2023  

Show this to anyone who says renewables are unreliable Heated, June 29, 2023  

Opinion | Wildfires and extreme heat burning ever closer to Michigan Bridge Michigan, June 27, 2023 

Central Ohio solar project can be model for solar, farming mutual benefits Ohio Capital Journal, June 21, 2023  

This time it’s different? The rush to mine Indigenous lands ICT News, June 21, 2023   

NiSource to sell minority stake in NIPSCO to private equity firm Blackstone for $2.15B UtilityDive, June 21, 2023  

Can affordable housing be energy efficient? These developers say yes Energy News Network, June 22, 2023   

Department of Energy awards $1.5 million to South Dakota nonprofit South Dakota Public Broadcasting, June 21, 2023   

Most Americans underestimate the popularity of policies to protect the climate Yale Climate Connections, June 21, 2023 
Republicans want to cut rural energy program they once loved E&E News, June 21, 2023  

Biden administration rule would cut fees for renewable development on public lands The Hill, June 15, 2023 

Vast fossil fuel and farming subsidies causing ‘environmental havoc’ The Guardian, June 15, 2023  

In Woodlawn, Naomi Davis planted a seed that now will help find green solutions to help Black communities Chicago Sun Times, June 17, 2023 

Midwest States Need a Modern Grid to Supercharge Clean Energy Goals NRDC, June 15, 2023 

Is there a partisan divide on climate? Not among young people Virgiana Mercury, June 13, 2023 

Granholm details views on climate law, gas, DOE staffing E&E News, June 13, 2023  

Dashboard on utility disconnections highlights need for protections, data Lakeshore Public Media, June 14, 2023 

Detroit’s Boston-Edison homeowners balance historic restoration and energy efficiency Planet Detroit, June 13, 2023  

Stakeholders Recommend Major Boost to Water Heater Standards Appliance Standards Awareness Project, November 21, 2022  

*A Glendale woman’s greenwashing lawsuit against Delta Air Lines aims to set a precedent LA Times, June 14, 2023 

Power companies quietly pushed $215m into US politics via dark money groups The Guardian, June 15, 2023 

Lawmakers want Michigan 100% off fossil fuels sooner than all but 1 other state M Live, June 14, 2023 

‘We cannot wait any longer’: Milwaukee close to adopting climate and equity plan Wisconsin Public Radio, June 14, 2023 

Opinion: How I talk to my kids about climate change CNN, June 10, 2023  

Smoke continues over East Coast, but air quality could improve late Friday Washington Post, June 8, 2023  

US residential heat pump sales pass gas furnaces for first time as interest in efficiency tech surges: IEA UtilityDive June 7, 2023 

It’s a myth that burning fossil fuels is a reliable way to generate power Chicago Sun Times, June 7, 2023 

Intense smoke fills NYC and forces a ‘code red’ in Philadelphia as millions from the East Coast to Canada suffer from Quebec’s wildfires CNN, June 7, 2023  

The Inflation Reduction Act shifted the calculus on wind, solar and EV manufacturing in the U.S. Domestic and foreign firms alike are now rushing to set up shop. Canary Media, June 6, 2023 

Rich countries with high greenhouse gas emissions could pay $170tn in climate reparations The Guardian, June 5, 2023 

Hundreds of US localities restrict renewables siting, with 293 projects currently contested: Columbia report Utility Dive, June 5, 2023  

Sierra Club urges Dairyland Power to use New ERA funds for alternative to Nemadji Trail Center in Superior LA Crosse Tribune, June 3, 2023 

Carbon dioxide levels in atmosphere mark a near-record surge Washington Post, June 5, 2023 

Ohio and Michigan groups aim to boost underrepresented entrepreneurs in clean energy Energy News Network, June 2, 2023  

Minnesota Emerges as the Midwest’s Leader in the Clean Energy Transition Inside Cliamte News, May 31, 2023  

Calif. scared off its biggest insurer. More could follow. Climate Wire, May 31, 2023