Despite significant progress in overall sustainability measures, not every neighborhood in Philadelphia enjoys the benefits of sustainability. Through funding from the Partners for Places matching grants program, the Office of Sustainability will work with communities to share the environmental, health, and economic benefits of sustainability.

Sustainability efforts in a community can include well-maintained parks and sidewalks, access to healthy food, or resiliency to the extreme heat and precipitation that climate change is bringing. Philadelphia’s communities of color are often disproportionately exposed to environmental stressors.

In an effort to confront environmental inequity, the Office of Sustainability is developing the Greenworks Equity Index. Through the Equity Index, OOS will work with communities where exposure to environmental stressors, like heat, are high. The goal of the program is to understand how communities are already coping with these stressors and increase the community’s capacity to adapt and decrease their exposure.

Partners for Places, led by the Funders’ Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities in partnership with the Urban Sustainability Directors Network, will provide $25,000 in funding to OOS through its general grant program, which will be matched by the Knight Foundation.

With this grant, OOS plans to convene and manage an inter-agency Equity Team; coordinate racial equity training for City staff working on programs that can reduce disparities in neighborhood stressors; complete analyses of community stressors, including heat exposure, by race; research historic causes of environmental racism in Philadelphia; coordinate relationship building and management in disproportionately impacted communities; support community members as they design interventions; and develop a toolkit to replicate success on additional environmental stressors and in more neighborhoods.

About Partners for Places Partners for Places
A joint project of the Funders’ Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities and the Urban Sustainability Directors Network, Partners for Places is a successful matching grant program that improves U.S. and Canadian communities by building partnerships between local government sustainability leaders and place-based foundations. National funders invest in local projects developed through these partnerships to promote a healthy environment, a strong economy, and well-being for all residents. Through these investments, Partners for Places fosters long-term relationships that make our communities more prosperous, livable and vibrant.

About the Funders’ Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities

The Funders’ Network is a mission-driven network of grantmakers across North America, working to inspire, strengthen and expand funding and philanthropic leadership that yield environmentally sustainable, socially equitable, and economically prosperous regions and communities.

About The Urban Sustainability Directors Network

The Urban Sustainability Directors Network (USDN) is a peer-to-peer network of local government professionals from cities across the United States and Canada dedicated to creating a healthier environment, economic prosperity, and increased social equity. Our dynamic network enables sustainability directors and staff to share best practices and accelerate the application of good ideas across North America.