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$50,000 Greenpower Grants awarded to The Eugene Mission and Friends of Trees Eugene Metro 07/15/2021

The Eugene Water & Electric Board will award $50,000 grants to The Eugene Mission and Friends of Trees Eugene Metro later this month after Greenpower program subscribers voted for their top two projects out of 11 proposals.  

  EWEB opened grant applications to eligible organizations in May and received one of the highest numbers of proposals since the grant started in 2007.

Funds for the grants come from voluntary Greenpower customer contributions designated for reinvestment in local renewable projects and programs. Any EWEB customer can participate in the EWEB Greenpower premium subscription program.

The grant is open to tax-exempt 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations, schools, and academic institutions, or government and other public agencies. Applications for the grant could include the installation of renewable energy systems, battery storage systems, research or studies centering on renewable energy, educational curriculum or workshop development, or carbon emission offsets.

The Eugene Mission plans to use the grant to install a solar energy system for a new Learning Center on its campus to assist unhoused families and community members. The organization is in the process of renovating one of its twelve buildings on its 7.5-acre campus to create the Learning Center. The Learning Center will include a culinary training kitchen, meeting and classroom spaces, a computer lab, and a therapeutic day-use area for the growing population of homeless families.    "The Eugene Mission is honored to be chosen for an EWEB GreenPower Grant to power the new Eugene Mission Learning Center on our campus," said Beth Sheehan, director of Philanthropy, "The center will serve as the central hub for all Eugene Mission classes and activities and will benefit all guests of the Eugene Mission and the broader community."  

This is the second award for Friends of Trees, which won a grant in 2018 to fund a large-scale volunteer tree planting event in west Eugene. The 2021 grant will be used for another tree planting effort with a focus on urban areas and communities historically excluded from the benefits of green space. The project will also include engaging volunteers in tree stewardship to promote more sustainable neighborhoods and urban habitat areas.   Erik Burke, Eugene-Springfield Director at Friends of Trees, said they are very excited to receive the grant.   "The pandemic, fires, racial justice issues, and extreme heat of the last few years, have focused our urban tree planting work more intentionally on equity, sustainability, and resilience. The Greenpower grant will support this work engaging community volunteers to plant trees in key areas," Burke added.

Other notable proposals included proposals for solar energy systems from McKenzie School District and the Eugene/Springfield NAACP. Some other applications included renewable energy research and educational installations.

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*Photo caption: Volunteers planting trees at a 2018 event hosted by Friends of Trees, funded in part by a 2018 Greenpwoer Grant. Photo courtesy of Erik Burke/Friends of Trees