Happy November, MWBDC! 

As November rolls around this year, we have a lot to be thankful for here in our Coalition. Our working groups have been taking strides to educate and bring in community members to the benefits of decarbonization (shout out to the Youth and Interfaith groups – more on their recent events below!). Our membership has been growing each month, with new folks tuning in to Orientations and meetings. And soon, our staff team will hire a new member – more on that below, too! 

Day in and out, I find myself reflecting on the gratitude I feel for getting to work in an organization whose mission – to equitably decarbonize the Midwestern building sector by 2050 – is one that I care about. It is a privilege to use our time and skills to advance causes that can change lives – and change our world.  

In this newsletter, make sure to check out exciting event announcements (we launched the full slate of sessions for November 16th‘s Justice40 Leadership Bootcamp!), Coalition updates (we’re hiring!), and more.  

In solidarity,  

– Marnese, Jacob, and Maggie 



LesLee Jackson is a Master’s student at Metro State University in Minnesota, studying Political and Advocacy Leadership. She sits on multiple environmental committees: Co-chair of the Minneapolis Northside Green Zone Task Force, CEAC Commissioner (Minneapolis Community Environmental Advisory Commission), and sits on the Clean Transportation Standard (CTS) Work Group, developing performance-based incentives to reduce carbon pollution from all transportation fuels including gasoline, diesel, biofuels, and electricity. LesLee has also sat on the City of Minneapolis’ Climate Action working group. These groups are active in lobbying against environmental injustices and policy changes. 

As a Black and Indigenous woman, her experience with injustice is exhaustive and exhausting. LesLee is passionate about representing her communities in a field that remains relatively inaccessible to people of color. As a native Minnesotan, this city, state, and people are very close to her heart. 

Kimberly Koczan-Flory is the Director of Wisdom’s Well in Fort Wayne, Indiana, a spiritual director fostering social transformation, sustainability and holistic well-being for individuals and communities. Kimberly has a Masters of Divinity degree from Bethany Theological Seminary and is an ordained clergy. She is a Kingian Nonviolence facilitator and senior fellow of the Environmental Leadership Program. Kimberly is part of the Poor People’s Campaign, was a Hoosier Interfaith Power and Light board member, & now Faith in Place Advisory Board. Kimberly has experience as an environmental educator, largely focused on food systems & watershed efforts. She was a founder of Pennypack Farm Education Center and President of Ambler borough’s Environmental Advisory Council during her years in the Philadelphia area. 



Schedule Announced for 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

Session details and speaker bios are now available on our website. We will be hosting… 

  • Keynote speaker Naomi Davis of Blacks in Green to talk about their recent Environmental Justice Thriving Communities Technical Assistance Center funding. 
  • Johari Cole-Kweli and Lee Ringo of Pembroke Hopkins Park Community Development Corporation to discuss their experience applying for (and winning!) federal grants 
  • Robin Lisowski and DeAngelus Garcia Bey to discuss the ten things you need to know when applying for Justice40 grants.  

Register now!  

We’re Hiring! Grants and Development Director 

The Grants and Development Director leads and oversees all aspects of the Coalition’s development strategy, guided by our development plan. This includes individual donor development and stewardship, corporate and foundation giving, and event planning and execution. This position will also manage the Coalition’s regranting program (learn more here!), working closely with the Grants and Stipends sub-committee to review funding applications, conduct quarterly check-ins with recipients, and report on project outcomes at the conclusion of the yearly grant cycle. 

Check out the full job description with this PDF or on our website. Please share widely! 

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. 

Staff Holiday Break 

MWBDC staff will be taking some time away from our screens for the Holidays! We will be on a break from November 22 – 24 and December 22 – January 2. Happy holidays ❄️ 

Event Recordings 

We had a stacked schedule of events in October! If you weren’t able to tune in live, don’t sweat it – check out the recordings on YouTube with the links below!  

Faith in our Communities: Decarbonizing for a Healthier Future 

How can Houses of Worship receive benefits and direct pay from the #InflationReductionAct? This lunch and learn session featuring Reverend Raymond C. Dix Jr., Senior Pastor, Pilgrim Baptist Church and Sheila Curry-Campbell, Program Director/Resource Manager, Pilgrim’s Progress CDC will dive into those questions and more! Moderated by Jennifer Young, Michigan Interfaith Power & Light. 

Youth and Green Building Careers 

Tune in to hear from professionals who are working in all different aspects of green building careers. We will hear how they got into this field, the emerging career paths they see, and hear tips and tricks on how to interview, network, and develop your own path to work! Featuring Gary Ringer, Amy Cortese, Gloria Lowe, Imani Mosher, and our moderator David Weaver. 


Youth and Indoor Air Quality 

How does the built environment impact our lives? Join the next generation of climate leaders for this live podcast recording. We will learn how poor indoor air quality in schools and homes affects our health and the advocacy efforts we can take to make these spaces healthier for all. Featuring Jamie Valdez, Jordan Irving, and Aryaana Khan subbing in for Tonyisha Harris, as well as our moderators, London Jackson and Alannah Sakai Kelsaw. 

Youth and Climate Justice 

Join us for this panel discussion with the next generation of climate leaders on why they see Climate Justice as the future, how we can build an intergenerational movement and more! Featuring Charles Hua, Jordan Irving, Tonyisha Harris, and our Moderator, Jalisa Mauldin. 

Congratulations! Briana Dubose appointed Eco Works Executive Director 

Congrats to longtime MWBDC member, Briana Dubose, as she steps into her new role as the Executive Director of Eco Works, a dynamic Detroit-based environmental non-profit organization with a passionate focus on environmental justice. We’re excited to continue working with you in this new capacity, Briana! 

Learn more about Eco WorksAt Eco Works, we firmly believe that environmental justice is not just a goal but a fundamental right for all. By integrating inclusive and community-driven approaches, we aim to empower individuals and neighborhoods in Detroit to actively participate in the conservation of our natural resources, while also ensuring equitable access to a healthy and sustainable environment. 
Job Openings 

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



Clean Heat Minnesota 

Clean Heat Minnesota is a statewide, multiracial coalition representing Minnesotans who want clean, affordable energy to power heating, cooking, and appliances. The shared goals of the coalition center ambition and equity, as they strive to secure Minnesota’s cleaner, more affordable, and equitable energy future. Four core goals include: 

  • Get Minnesota’s gas system to net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, in line with the state’s climate goals. 
  • Use clean, Midwest-made energy that leverages Minnesota’s innovation to curb pollution and tackle climate change. 
  • Produce safe energy that eliminates indoor air pollution. 
  • Make available reliable energy with consistent prices we can all afford. 

Learn more on their website

Inflation Reduction Act Home Energy Rebates: Program Guidance For State Energy Offices 

This resource is geared for State Energy Offices (SEOs) as they design and implement new Home Efficiency Rebates and Home Electrification and Appliance Rebates programs. In addition, the report includes recommendations for state policymakers and regulators to consider as these IRA programs are implemented to maximize their impact on the building sector and benefit more households. 

Check out their report, case studies, and more here



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  



Companies capture a lot of CO2. Most of it is going into new oil. Washington Post, October 25, 2023 

The money fight that could ‘break’ the climate summit Politico, October 30, 2023  

Linn County officials celebrate new resiliency hub project with ribbon cutting in Cedar Rapids CBS Iowa, October 29, 2023  

New community center provides Detroit neighborhood with a climate refuge Energy News Network, October 30, 2023  

How the IRA is playing in 7 swing states Climate Wire, October 30, 2023  

Minnesota regulators OK rare fund to decommission new Enbridge pipeline Star Tribune, October 26, 2023  

Is gas ‘clean’? States rebrand energy to meet electricity targets. Energy Wire, October 27, 2023  

Low-Income Co-Ops Do Without Gas for Years in Face of Steep Cost of Fixes The City, October 27, 2023

DOE touts $18.5B in business energy savings through Better Buildings Initiative Utility Dive, October 27, 2023  

Advocates fear billions in Inflation Reduction Act money won’t reach targeted communities Louisiana Illuminator, October 25, 2023  

Five Decades and a Mountain of Evidence: Study Explores How Toxic Chemicals are ‘Stealing Children’s Future Potential’ Inside Climate News, October 23, 2023  

What happens when solar panels wear out? Grist, October 24, 2023  

Global shift to clean energy means fossil fuel demand will peak soon, IEA says NPR, October 24, 2023 

Report: US needs much more than the IRA to get to net zero by 2050 ARS Technica, October 19, 2023 

US EPA raises environmental justice concerns about permit for ‘chips to energy’ plant in Youngstown WFMJ (Youngstown), October 18, 2023  

The US has new clean energy and efficiency programs for low-income housing The Verge, October 19, 2023   

Utilities still moving way too slow on clean energy Canary Media, October 16, 2023  

IDEM asks for feedback on how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in series of public meetings Indiana Public Radio, October 11, 2023  

Commentary: Clean energy is the most efficient, affordable option for all Michiganders Energy News Network, October 13, 2023 Written by MWBDC Board Member Robin Lisowski, MWBDC Health Working Group co-lead Ana Sophia Mifsud, and recent panelists in MWBDC’s Youth in Climate Series, Charles Hua! 

Biden administration launches ‘Earthshot’ effort to slash energy bills Grist, October 12, 2023  

White House names first U.S. hydrogen hubs Energy Wire, October 13, 2023  

DTE spending casts shadow over Democrats’ clean energy legislation Planet Detroit, October 12, 2023  

Column: Decarbonizing Michigan’s economy will also improve water quality Michigan Advance, October 11, 2023  

In Wisconsin, federal IRA grants could break bottleneck on climate funding Energy News Network, October 11, 2023  

Teslas are now cheaper than the average new gas-powered car Canary Media, October 11, 2023  

How local governments are driving solar energy growth PV Magazine, October 10, 2023  

Cleveland green bank aims to bring clean energy to underserved communities Energy News Network, October 9, 2023  

Bill would create office to help workers displaced by EV, clean energy transition Crain’s Detroit Business, October 5, 2023  
It’s Your Business: Electrification efforts can cut bills for Bloomington residents The Herald Times, October 6, 2023 

U.S. could reach net-zero target through these key steps: Report AXIOS, October 4, 2023  

Student activists are pushing back against big polluters — and winning NPR, October 4, 2023  

The End of Coal Culture Grist, October 4, 2023  

More Republican voters are tying extreme weather to the climate crisis. Why don’t their candidates care? Independent, October 3, 2023  

I won’t take contributions from DTE, Consumers. Michigan politicians shouldn’t, either. | Opinion Detroit Free Press, October 2, 2023  

Americans don’t hate living near solar and wind farms as much as you might think Washington Post, October 3, 2023 

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