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Happy October, MWBDC! 

It’s been – as always – a busy month here at the Coalition! Our transition to becoming a 501c3 is going well, and we are excited to share more this winter. As most of you know, we also wrapped up our 2023 regranting program this month. With over $2.5 million in requested funds and only $500,000 available in the program budget, our staff and Finance Subcommittee had to make a lot of tough decisions.  

However, it’s also cause for celebration that our program is growing! With over 150 great applications, we will be able to use this proven interest in our work as we continue to apply for the funding that makes this regranting program possible. Keep an eye out for a blog post in the near future that gives an overview of our 2023 Empowerment Grant Recipients, and make sure to welcome them and our 2023 Participation Stipend Recipients into our coalition and our movement.  

We also wanted to lift up other funding opportunities that apply to our members – especially the Community Energy Innovation Prize, Community Change Grants, and Energy Equity Grants. Read more about each of these funding sources in this newsletter! If you applied for an Empowerment Grant and need a copy of your application to reuse for one (or both) of these opportunities, reach out and we can get that to you! 

Keep reading for details on those funding opportunities, overviews of upcoming events our working groups have been planning (online and in-person!) and all of the resources, news, and meeting links for the month of October.

In solidarity,  

– Marnese, Jacob, and Maggie 



Jennifer Young 

Jennifer Young is an Energy Programs Manager with Michigan Interfaith Power & Light, a nonprofit whose mission is to inspire and equip people of faith and conscience to exercise stewardship of and love for all Creation. In this role she works with dozens of faith communities across the state to assist them in bringing earth stewardship into congregational life. Jennifer’s primary responsibilities include working with 11 faith communities who were awarded $100K each to make their worship facilities energy efficient via a “Sacred Spaces” grant from the State of Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy. Additionally, she serves as a representative of Michigan IPL in a newly launched initiative “Solar Faithful” which aims to increase solar access among low-income/low-wealth congregations, BIPOC led faith communities, and diverse faith traditions.   

Jennifer is honored by the opportunity to participate in the Midwest Building Decarbonization Coalition and to contribute towards creating a cleaner, healthier, and more just world. She sees the MWBDC’s work as instrumental to building a movement that ensures that the benefits of clean energy are available to all. 

Deirdre Courtney Nieves 

Deirdre is a social scientist, educator, and environmental justice advocate. Deirdre works with communities and organizations in Michigan and across the country advancing energy democracy and organizing for transformative federal action to cut carbon emissions, end fossil-fuel use, and address the climate crisis.  

At Western Michigan University, Deirdre serves as a Professor of Environment and Sustainability and Intercultural and Anthropological Studies. She is recognized for her interdisciplinary work across multiple fields with a strong emphasis on the study of relationships between people and their diverse environments. Deirdre is also the Director of Climate Solutions and Justice with the West Michigan Environmental Action Council. She has been part of the Environmental Fellows Program (Yale School for the Environment & UM SEAS) and the Advance Midwest Partnership. Deirdre enjoys spending time in the great outdoors. In the past few years, she has traveled to experience the stunning natural beauty and wildlife of Yellowstone, Zion, Olympic, Glacier, and Grand Teton National Parks. 



Save the Date: 2024 Equity Summit 

We are excited to announce that we will be hosting our third annual Equity Summit in person in 2024! 

Save the Date: July 31 – August 1, 2024, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin 

Our theme is Sustainability Renaissance: Unleashing the Power of Collective Action. This conference embarks on a transformative journey towards a just and sustainable future. Over two days, we will explore themes such as building decarbonization, equity, cultural respect, storytelling, and the power of collective action. This conference serves as a rallying call, igniting our passion and empowering us to mobilize around the Justice40 Initiative and the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). 

Mark your calendar now! In the coming months, we will share more information on registration, speakers, and sessions. 

Register now for our Demystifying Justice40 Leadership Bootcamp! 

Join MWBDC on November 16th, 2023 for a day-long workshop all about how we can build capacity, grow expertise, and work towards equitably implementing the Justice40 Initiative

The bootcamp will be held from 9 AM – 4 PM EST, live on Zoom. We will have multiple speakers and sessions, including our Keynote, Naomi Davis, Founder and CEO of Blacks in Green – who was recently awarded a $10 Million grant from the Biden Administration to help other Midwestern Environmental Justice groups apply for federal funding. 

Learn more and register now! 

Youth in Climate Podcast Series 

Our first installment of the Youth in Climate Podcast Series is this Thursday! We switched up how we’re sharing these sessions this time – instead of using Zoom, we will be streaming directly to our MWBDC Social Media channels. Check out this page on the website and use the buttons to set a reminder on Facebook, YouTube, or LinkedIn so you will be notified when we go live! 

Faith in our Communities: Decarbonizing for a healthier future 

Join the MWBDC’s Interfaith working group for their first event! This lunch and learn session will be on October 25th from 1 – 2 PM EST. 

How can Houses of Worship receive benefits and direct pay from the Inflation Reduction Act? Join this lunch and learn to learn and network with other people of faith. Featuring Reverend Raymond C. Dix Jr., Senior Pastor, Pilgrim Baptist Church and Sheila Curry-Campbell, Program Director/Resource Manager, Pilgrim’s Progress CDC. Moderated by Jennifer Young, Michigan Interfaith Power & Light. Register now!  

Values Statement 

The Education and Trainings Subcommittee has been hard at work writing MWBDC’s Values Statement – and now it has a home on our website! Check it out here

Faith in Place hosts 2023 Green Team Summit 

Join Faith in Place for an awesome watch party event in person or online on October 8. Catch Faith in Place’s 2023 Green Team Summit’s inspiring keynote address by Leah Thomas, founder of Intersectional Environmentalist. We’ll gather, connect, and envision a more inclusive environmental movement together. RSVP for your watch party site when you register for the summit here: https://bit.ly/GTS-2023-RSVP. Can’t wait to see you there! 🌎🎉 

Environmental Justice Coordinating Council Fellowship Program 

Public Policy Project is currently recruiting Minneapolis and St. Paul residents to participate in their EJCC Fellowship. Their focus is Minneapolis residents. However, others can apply also.  EJCC was founded by Public Policy Project in 2017 with two critiques: 1) that the “environment” has been overly framed by whites and tends to exclude BIPOC issues; and 2) getting past the failure of mainstream environmentalism that considers harm to soil, water, air, and biodiversity, but excludes harm among human beings as “environmental.” 

EJCC is a year-long Fellowship of African American and other people of color change agents 

working to address environmental issues in their community. Read more about the fellowship program and get your application in by October 6th if you’re interested! Reach out to James Trice at [email protected] if you would like to discuss the program further.  

The Outdoor Pollution is Coming from Inside the House: New Report & Webinar 

Sierra Club, WE ACT for Environmental Justice, and Physicians for Social Responsibility are hosting a webinar on Thursday about their new report: The Outdoor Pollution is Coming from Inside the House: National Building Pollution Report. The webinar will be recorded and shared with folks who register, so if you have a conflict make sure to register anyway. 

When: Thursday, October 5, 10 AM PT / 1 PM ET 

Topic: Building Pollution Report Webinar 

Register in advance here 

Job Openings 

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



Community Energy Innovation Prize 

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Office of Economic Impact and Diversity (ED), and Advanced Materials and Manufacturing Technologies Office (AMMTO) are launching the Community Energy Innovation Prize. This prize is a successor to DOE’s Inclusive Energy Innovation Prize and Community Clean Energy Coalition Prize. 

Through this prize, DOE seeks to identify and support: 

  • Organizations that are community-centric and have experience in successfully engaging with disadvantaged communities to address energy challenges and implement clean energy technologies. 
  • Organizations that promote environmental, climate, and energy justice and demonstrate strong community ties. 
  • Organizations that can use their experience to serve as bridges between DOE and disadvantaged communities and stewards of the Justice40 Initiative. 
  • Clean energy grassroots innovation and in-community coalitions related to technology advancement and solutions in climate and clean energy with a focused impact on disadvantaged communities. 

Check out the full details of the program and view upcoming webinars and events.  

Community Change Grants Program 

EPA’s new Environmental and Climate Justice Community Change Grants program (Community Change Grants) will invest approximately $2 billion dollars in Inflation Reduction Act funds in environmental and climate justice activities to benefit disadvantaged communities through projects that reduce pollution, increase community climate resilience, and build community capacity to respond to environmental and climate justice challenges. These place-based investments will be focused on community-driven initiatives to be responsive to community and stakeholder input. They are designed to deliver on the transformative potential of the IRA for communities most adversely and disproportionately impacted by climate change, legacy pollution, and historical disinvestments. 

Quick Facts:  

Total funding amount: $2 billion 

Award sizes: Mostly $10-20 million, with some $1-3 million grants for community engagement 


  • Notice of funding opportunity expected this fall 
  • Applications will be open on a rolling basis for one year 
  • Three year project term 

Eligible organizations: 

  • Partnerships of two or more CBOs 
  • A CBO plus a local government, Federally-recognized Tribe, or higher education institution 

Eligible projects: All projects must benefit “disadvantaged communities.” 

  • Climate resiliency, adaptation, and risk mitigation 
  • Community-led pollution monitoring, prevention, and remediation 
  • Low- and zero-emission and resilient technologies 
  • Workforce development 
  • Indoor air quality improvements 
  • Public engagement in state and Federal processes 

 More info: FAQ and program webpage 

Energy Equity Grants 

Climate Nexus, a strategic communications group dedicated to highlighting the impacts of climate change and clean energy solutions in the United States, is seeking to connect frontline, Black, Indigenous, and people of color-led (BIPOC) groups with resources to continue or expand their efforts against gas expansion and promote electrification of buildings in the energy transition through our Energy Equity Grants. 

The Energy Equity grants prioritizes groups with an annual budget of $1 million or less to boost their efforts in racially, ethnically, gender, and culturally diverse communities across the United States and at the intersections of public health and energy justice. Grants range from $20,000-$40,000. Organizations looking to augment their climate-forward work will need to complete a brief applicationThe grant application process will close at midnight ET on Wednesday, October 11, 2023.  



Community Voices in Energy – new website! 

The Environmental Defense Fund and Blacks in Green just launched the Community Voices in Energy website! 

The site will help spur a just energy transition by ensuring that community members are able to testify and share their direct experience on the record in public utility commission hearings where enormous energy investments are decided — so that utility regulators can make rulings that lead to a more equitable, healthy and affordable energy future. Tools and resources frame the issues, and community members can sign up on the site for training to become Certified Energy Justice Intervenors with EDF.  

Thanks to Christie Hicks for sharing this info! 

State-Level Building Electrification Factsheets from RMI 

RMI has created a series of state-specific factsheets designed to inform policymakers, advocates, and other stakeholders. These comprehensive guides offer state-specific insights, address common queries, and employ visuals to demystify complex concepts. Currently available for 16 priority states (including MWBDC’s Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin) with robust electrification initiatives, our guides serve as a compass for informed decision-making.  

Check them all out here! 

State Policy Approaches to Address Gas Stove Pollution from RMI 

Emma Hines of RMI shared this slide deck that overviews different state policy approaches regarding gas stove pollution. Notes from Emma:  

  • Use these slides: We want these slides to help educate advocacy partners & even policymakers in your states on options for proactive and incremental action on gas stoves. I’m happy to brainstorm ways and venues to share these slides in your state coalitions – or even be the guest speaker if needed. 
  • Help me keep the slides updated: As you become aware of more potentially viable state policy approaches, or examples of how they’re being applied, please send them my way so I can keep this catalogue updated. 

Always feel free to ping me to check if there’s a more-recently-updated version of these slides. 

If you have any updates for her, you can get in touch via email at [email protected]



These 25 utilities are united by one big goal: 80% less CO2 by 2030 Canary Media, September 28, 2023  

US government braces for possible shutdown that may slow Biden climate plans S&P Global, September 27, 2023  

White House defines ‘zero-emission’ buildings, hoping more get built Washington Post, September 28, 2023  

Environmental justice activists issue a call to ‘wage love,’ work toward building an environmentally just Detroit Energy News Network, September 27, 2023  

EPA Rolls Out Training Grants For Environmental Justice Communities Inside Climate News, September 27, 2023  

Hundreds gather at Michigan Capitol to promote a clean energy future MLive, September 26, 2023 

High school students launch ‘Green New Deal for Schools Campaign’ The Hill, September 25, 2023  

‘A contradiction’: U.S. subsidizes ‘sustainable’ buildings, but leaves them vulnerable to floods Politico, September 25, 2023  

ODNR chief shrugs off claims of disputed pro-fracking comments as state weighs drilling parks Cleaveland.com, September 25, 2023  

Why Biden’s allies are scrambling to elevate his landmark climate law Washington Post, September 26, 2023  

Ohio ranks high in clean energy jobs The Vindicator, September 28, 2023  

Public health costs of oil, natural gas drilling The Vindicator, September 28, 2023  

DOE Wind Energy Technologies Office Selects 15 Projects Totaling $27 Million to Address Key Deployment Challenges for Offshore, Land-Based, and Distributed Wind Energy.gov, September 21, 2023

Tribes Seek Energy Control Using Tiny Power Grids Backed by US Bloomberg Law September 20, 2023  

Biden launches American Climate Corps E&E News, September 20, 2023  

MPCA seeks feedback on new law to curb pollution in vulnerable neighborhoods Star Tribune, September 23, 2023  

Empowering Communities, Fighting Climate Change ATMOS, September 24, 2023  

Jefferson County Port Authority receives grant for coal recovery initiative Herald Star, September 27, 2023  

One building and three farms in Branch County receive over $276,000 in USDA solar energy grants WTVB, September 20, 2023  

Pritzker’s signature climate law has seen slow progress on clean energy, green jobs promises Chicago Sun Times, September 21, 2023  

Wait until 2040 to close trash incinerator? Hennepin County leaders, activists want shorter timeline Star Tribune, September 21, 2023 

A group of US governors promises to install 20 million heat pumps by 2030 Grist, September 21, 2023  

Midwest taps dueling strategies to supercharge renewables EnergyWire, September 18, 2023  

Battle Over Electric Vehicles Is Central to Auto Strike The New York Times, September, 16, 2023  

Ohio EV battery plant workers fight for better rights, pay ABC News, September 15, 2023  

Ohio to decide Monday whether to open state parks to oil and gas drilling Cleaveland.com, September 18, 2023  

FirstEnergy’s grid-hardening rate request should not be approved without tough accountability, transparency requirements: editorial Cleaveland.com, September 17, 2023  

Community coalition requests city create grassroots equity commission The Journal Gazette, September 14, 2023 Featuring some of our MWBDC Members in Ft. Wayne, Indiana! 

The future of the Midwest includes hazardous heat, and most of our homes are not ready Iowa Public Radio, September 13, 2023  

EPA: Climate law will cut carbon emissions up to 43 percent The Hill, September 12, 2023  

Commentary: A just transition to clean transportation mustn’t leave autoworkers behind, Energy News Network, September 13, 2023  

Opinion | It’s time to strengthen renewable energy and efficiency requirements Bridge Michigan, September 13, 2023  

New IU Climate Action Plan pledges carbon neutrality by 2040, Indiana Public Media, September 13, 2023  

Lawsuits take aim at BP for ‘unconscionable’ prices during 2021 cold snap in Kansas, Kansas Reflector, September 13, 2023  

Underground electric project running from North Iowa to Illinois gets state approval, KIMT, September 13, 2023  

Top Dem, environmentalists call for probe of comments urging fracking in Ohio state parks Cleveland.com, September 11, 2023  

US sets record for billion-dollar weather disasters in a year — and there’s still 4 months to go AP News, September 11, 2023  

Why Native American tribes struggle to tap billions in clean energy incentives Reuters, September 8, 2023  

Kansas City climate leaders say there is ‘terrific energy’ to reach net-zero emissions by 2050 NPR, September 7, 2023  

Detroit Pizza Bar ‘built for the future’ Planet Detroit, September 7, 2023  

Ohio disconnection data still lacks detail on racial disparities Energy News Network, September 8, 2023  

Study on health benefits of Neville Island coke plant closure raises questions about Clairton September 5, 2023  

Private equity profits from climate disaster clean-up – while investing in fossil fuels The Guardian, September 7, 2023  

Biden administration cancels remaining oil and gas leases in Alaska’s Arctic Refuge AP News, September 7. 2023  

Sierra Club head Ben Jealous advocates in Michigan for clean energy tech production Michigan Advance, September 7, 2023  

Cleveland Regional Planning Agency Building Community Input Into Climate Change Plan Inside Climate News, September 6, 2023  

This summer broke the world record for the highest temperature officially recorded AP News, September 6, 2023  

States withhold cooling aid for the poor as heat gets deadlier ClimateWire, September 6, 2023  

Other states are raking in hundreds of millions of dollars for rural energy projects. Michigan is not. NPR, September 4, 2023  

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