Meet the New Partners for Places Grantees! Nine communities, more than $1.3 million in sustainability funding


Combatting food insecurity by helping people plant home gardens in low-income neighborhoods. Working to help landscape workers embrace practices that protect their health and improve local ecosystems. Creating spaces that encourage community engagement and a sense of connection to the places where we live, work and play.

These community-based approaches that address climate impacts, strengthen local economies and improve the well-being of all residents are the latest round of projects that will receive funding thanks to the Partners for Places matching grant program.

Nine cities in the U.S. will receive more than $1.3 million to support these sustainability efforts — which focus largely on empowering and engaging low-income neighborhoods, embedding racial equity into local decision-making and building partnerships between government sustainability offices, place-based foundations and community-led frontline groups.

Partners for Places will help Chicago turn schoolyards into green, engaging places for kids to learn and play. Here, students plant native perennials at an elementary school in the Little Village community. Credit: Space to Grow.

Engaging Communities, Building Partnerships

In Louisville, Ky., the grants will fund the construction of a sustainable, community-driven green space on what is currently a vacant parking lot adjacent to a community garden in the heart of the Parkland neighborhood — a historically Black community that has suffered economic disinvestment over the decades and which currently has no public parks ­ — transforming the asphalt expanse into a welcoming and well-shaded cultural plaza with a playground and space for outdoor performances, retail vendors and open-air seating.

In Charlottesville, Va., the funds will go toward planning for deep energy efficiency through Passive House certification for over 100 new residential homes in the low-income housing community of Friendship Court.  Deep energy efficiency will be coupled with rooftop solar panels, providing both direct and indirect long-term benefits to community members.

In Princeton, N.J., landscaping and horticultural service workers are at risk of injury from a wide variety of potential hazards in this industry, including exposure to chemicals, noise, machinery, lifting, construction, and weather-related hazards — practices that can also have a negative impact on the local ecosystem. Partners for Places will help fund a project that brings together Hispanic/Latinx rights organizations, environmental sustainability advocates, academic experts, and municipal departments and commissions to raise awareness, integrate day laborer concerns into policy decisions, and educate landscapers and residents to make progress on these issues.

In Miami-Dade County, Fla., where steep economic and racial disparities make access to healthy, affordable food difficult in many neighborhoods, Partners for Places will help community groups build on their efforts to combat food insecurity. This includes educating low-income residents on effective gardening practices through the enhancement of two local community garden spaces that will host free workshops where free fruit trees, vegetable plants and medicinal herbs will be made available to attendees. Additionally, the project will install home gardens for residents in low-income frontline communities in North Miami, Little Haiti, Liberty City, and Overtown, home to a large percentage of Black residents and immigrants from Latin America and the Caribbean.

Miami-Dade County is hoping to build on efforts to combat food insecurity, including free workshops at community gardens like Finca Morada in North Miami. Credit: Grow Roots Miami.

Fostering authentic and inclusive community engagement, especially in areas that have been racially and economically marginalized, is an essential goal of many Partners for Places projects. In Multnomah County, Ore., home to the City of Portland, the grants will be used to create a “third space” — meaning a place for togetherness separate from work or living spaces — for community-based organizations, community members, government and local funders to come together with the intent to co-create intersectional and innovative solutions that advance climate justice.

In Lancaster, Pa., the funding will ensure that the city’s comprehensive plan reflects community consensus about the direction for future growth and development for the next 20 years, including policies around zoning, housing, transportation, the environment, and other factors that impact quality of life.

And in New Orleans, La., Partners for Places will support efforts to advance racial equity in preparing the city for climate change by implementing recommended actions in the report Taking Steps Together on Equity & Climate Change: a Report by and for New Orleanians, released in 2019. (This report was produced through a previous New Orleans project funded by Partners for Places and the Greater New Orleans Foundation).

This round of Partners for Places funding also includes specific support for green stormwater infrastructure projects. The Funders Network and the Urban Sustainability Directors Network are excited to partner with Green Infrastructure Leadership Exchange, a practitioner network that offers a platform for communities to share experiences, circulate ideas, and solve problems together toward finding more sustainable water infrastructure solutions. Staff from this network support Partners for Places outreach efforts and participate in reviewing stormwater infrastructure project proposals.

Above and at top of post: Gary, Ind., received a green stormwater infrastructure grant to help create a shared service maintenance model for the region. Credit: City of Gary.

Green Stormwater Infrastructure Grants

Two cities have been selected for these Partners for Places green stormwater infrastructure grants:

Partners for Places will support an initiative in Chicago, Ill., known as Space to Grow, which builds green schoolyards at neighborhood schools located in the communities most vulnerable to urban flooding. The schoolyards provide healthy, engaging places for kids to play and exercise, and also feature areas for learning and exploration, such as outdoor classrooms, native trees and plants and vegetable gardens.

In Gary, Ind., the funds will help maintain green infrastructure through the creation of a shared services model in Northwest Indiana and Illinois’ Calumet region in order to reduce costs across multiple municipalities, including workforce training and partnering with municipalities that are majority Black and/or Latinx that are disproportionately affected by flooding in the region.

About Partners for Places

Partners for Places, led by The Funders Network (TFN) in partnership with the Urban Sustainability Directors Network (USDN), will provide $457,000 in funding to seven cities through the general grant program. This grant cycle also includes $125,000 awarded to the green stormwater infrastructure projects in Chicago and Gary, Ind.

With contributions from local matching funders, a total of $1,334,000 will be committed to fund sustainability projects in these selected cities.

To date, Partners for Places has awarded more than $8 million across North America in this successful matching grant program, leading to more than $17 million in investments.

Since 2012, the matching grant program has helped foster dozens of new partnerships between local government sustainability leaders and place-based funders across the U.S. and Canada — relationships that often continue long after the original Partners for Places project has been completed.

Lancaster, Pa., received Partners for Places funding to help ensure its comprehensive planning process has meaningful community engagement. Credit: City of Lancaster.

Leading with Racial Equity

In recent years, the grant program has adopted a strategy that leads with racial equity and a sharper focus on how best to advance equitable and sustainable communities.

Starting with this round of general grants announced today, the primary partners have been expanded to also include local frontline community-led groups. These groups consist of any nonprofit organization or group of nonprofit organizations that are made up of or serve people who are impacted by systems of oppression and injustice, economic disadvantage, and environmental harm.

This collaborative partnership model is intended to more deeply embed the values and practice of racial equity into local community decision-making processes.

The matching grant program brings national funder investors together with place-based funders to support local sustainability and climate action projects. The program is supported by five investor foundations: The JPB Foundation, The Kendeda Fund, The Kresge Foundation, The New York Community Trust, and the Pisces Foundation.

Partners for Places will open a new round of funding for the general grant program in early 2021.

Louisville, Ky., hopes to create a vibrant civic space in the Parkland neighborhood. Here, local children participate in a 2019 Better Block event. Credit: City of Louisville

The latest Partners for Places general grant recipients and their matching funders are:

  • Charlotesville, Va. ($150,000): To provide long-term benefits to the residents of Friendship Court, a low-income housing community, by deploying full rooftop solar panels on new residential buildings that implement energy efficient “passive house” design principles. Frontline community-led group: Piedmont Housing Alliance. Matching funder: Anonymous at the request of the funder ($300,000).


  • Lancaster, Penn. ($75,000): To help create a comprehensive plan that is inclusive and equitable by ensuring its core values, priorities, and policies are informed by robust community engagement. Frontline community-led group: Lancaster Equity Community Development Corporation. Matching funder: High Foundation ($75,000).


  • Louisville, Ky. ($42,000): To bring partners and community members together to realize a long-held vision of a green, active and engaging civic space that will support efforts to restore the Parkland neighborhood’s once-thriving center. Frontline community-led groups: Louisville Community Design Center DBA Center for Neighborhoods, and Parkland Business and Development Association. Matching funder: Community Foundation of Louisville ($42,000).


  • Miami-Dade County, Fla. ($25,000): To combat food insecurity and promote environmental equity by educating residents on effective gardening practices through workshops and installation of home gardens in four low-income communities. Frontline community-led groups: Green Haven Project, Grow Roots Miami, Plant Philosophy, Neat Streets Miami, and Urban Oasis Project. Matching funder: The Miami Foundation ($25,000).


  • Multnomah County, Ore. ($75,000): To establish a “third space” — a social space distinct from home or workplace — for frontline communities and local government to come together to co-create intersectional solutions that advance climate justice. Frontline community-led group: Coalition of Communities of Color. Matching funder: Meyer Memorial Trust ($75,000).


  • New Orleans, La. ($60,000): To implement recommendations from Taking Steps Together on Equity and Climate Change: A Report by and for New Orleans selected by frontline leaders and advocates, and integrate those report recommendations into the city’s updated Climate Action Plan. Frontline community-led group: Deep South Center for Environmental Justice. Matching funder: Greater New Orleans Foundation ($60,000).


  • Princeton, N.J, ($30,000): To improve the health and safety of landscape workers and address suburban landscaping practices that negatively impact the local ecosystem by bringing together Hispanic/Latinx rights organizations, environmental sustainability advocates, academic experts and municipal departments and commissions to raise awareness, integrate day laborers’ concerns into policy decisions, and educate landscapers and residents to make progress on these issues. Frontline community-led group: Latin American Legal Defense and Education Fund, Sustainable Princeton, and Unidad Latina en Acción NJ. Matching funders: Fox Foundation, and Leen Foundation ($25,000).


The latest Partners for Places recipients for green stormwater infrastructure projects and their matching funders are:

  • Chicago, Ill. ($100,000): To use green stormwater infrastructure to improve Chicago’s climate resilience by transforming Chicago schoolyards into vibrant green spaces for play and learning. Matching funder: Hamill Family Foundation ($100,000).


  • Gary, Ind. ($25,000): To develop a practicable solution to successfully maintain green stormwater infrastructure by using shared services that capitalize on public-private partnerships, cross-sector and bi-state collaboration, workforce development and new job opportunities, which can be replicated throughout the region. Matching funder: The Legacy Foundation ($25,000).


Chicago is one of two communities to receive funding for green stormwater infrastructure projects. Here, volunteers help plant native gardens at a school in the Woodlawn community. Credit: Space to Grow.

Additional Resources

Partners for Places Grants Map & Idea Bank

The Funders Network recently launched a new interactive Partners for Places Grants Map as well as a robust reboot of the Partners for Places Idea Bank featuring a searchable database of completed projects.

Visit the Partners for Places homepage on the TFN website to view interactive Grants Maps for both U.S. and Canadian projects that have been supported by the matching grants program.

Each completed project on the map includes a link that will take you to that project's entry on the Partners for Places Idea Bank. (You can also access the Idea Bank directly via the pulldown menu at the top of the page, or via resource links embedded on the Partners for Places homepage.)

More than 100 completed Partners for Places projects are featured in the Idea Bank, including a description of the project, matching funders, lessons learned and additional resources.

Partners for Places Mini Grants

Partners for Places Mini Grants are designed to spark new relationships or deepen existing connections that will hopefully help these communities develop a successful Partners for Places project proposal in the future. Learn about the latest Mini Grants recipients here.

In the News

Partners for Places has been featured in Inside Philanthropy. Read the most recent story here.

Contact Us

For questions about the Partners for Places grants program, please reach out to Ashley Quintana.

Smart Growth California's Fall Learning Wrap-up

By  and Smart Growth California

We're excited to share this cross post, which originally appeared on the Smart Growth California blog. To learn more about Smart Growth California, an initiative of The Funders Network, visit their website here.

Transit Justice is Racial and Climate Justice

On October 1st, 2020, the Los Angeles Funders’ Collaborative, a workgroup of Smart Growth California hosted a virtual conversation with transit justice leaders in Los Angeles. Below are some key highlights:

David Bragdon, Executive Director of Transit Center, who moderated the panel, noted that advancing racial and climate justice require us to also push for just transit systems that serve everyday riders. The intersection is inevitable.

Chanell Fletcher, Executive Director of ClimatePlan grounded the discussion by outlining California’s legacy problem of underfunding public transportation, while prioritizing roads and highways that have segregated and displaced communities. Highway and road infrastructure was designed with racial segregation in mind, and has left it’s mark today with black and brown communities breathing toxic air and bearing disproportionate health impacts. How can we respond? Inspired by Black Lives Matter and defunding the police, we can move towards defunding road projects and reallocating resources into public transportation. Better public transportation for riders including black and Latinx women, can better connect them to good jobs, and a path towards economic mobility. Increased transit ridership can also reduce CA’s carbon footprint, and help achieve the state’s aggressive climate goals.

Laura Raymond, Director of ACT-LA, attested that transit-dependent Angelenos, particularly bus riders, have been burdened by decades of disinvestment, and are cut off from economic opportunity. While Metro LA is stewarding $160 billion towards transit, most of that funding is towards rail projects despite 70% of transit riders taking the bus. LA has also seen an increase in policing by transit, “a practice rife with racist discrimination,” exclaimed Raymond.

Alexandra Suh, Executive Director of Koreatown Immigrant Workers Alliance and Carla De Paz, Project Director of Community Power Collective brought focus to the intersectionality that transit plays. Transit riders are also restaurant workers, low-income renters, and undocumented immigrants, but a transit policy win touches on every justice issue beyond the bus. Community power in Boyle Heights has held Metro accountable for the development of public land, which impacts street vendors, bus riders and how the community interacts with the environment. CPC secured affordable housing on eight Metro-owned lots, and is leading anti-gentrification initiatives.

LA is mobilizing, the #PeoplesTransit campaign, spearheaded by ACT-LA, KIWA, CPC and over a hundred other organizations are advancing racial, climate and transit justice now. Last June, a motion passed with Metro’s Board instructing a task force of community-based organizations to move money out of policing and towards community alternatives to safety. The campaign is drafting those alternatives now and simultaneously fighting bus service cuts. A Transit Oriented Communities Implementation Plan is going to Metro’s Board this month, centered on housing and anti-displacement policy along every rail and bus line.

Intersectional partnerships are critical to move towards a just transition, and improved outcomes for all people.

Leaning on Relationships & Trust to Advance Equity and Impact

In the last several years, some in philanthropy have risen to the challenge of asking deeper questions around equity in their giving practices. Whether using a participatory grantmaking framework, trust-based philanthropy principles, or a deeper equity-analysis, many funders have embarked on a journey to have more equitable relationships with grantees and unravel some of the innate power dynamics at play.

On October 20th, funders gathered together to hear how two foundations – the Legler Benbough Foundation in San Diego and the Compton Foundation based out of the Bay Area – are implementing these practices, and what they are learning along the way.  Each foundation puts relationships front and center, and works to lighten the burden on grantees through individualized check-ins as opposed to labor-intensive grant reports.

Legler Benbough, a spenddown place-based foundation, has built close relationships with partners and provides mentorship and guidance when needed, as well as flexibility with grant logistics based on the needs of each organization. Compton Foundation is a national funder and therefore cannot visit partners in person, but has check-in calls and works to trust that their partners’ movement-building and narrative work, while at times difficult to measure, is moving the needle on change.

Both foundations approach their relationship with grantees from a position of listening and trusting that folks on the ground know the issues and solutions that are best for their community, and that their role as funders is to equip them with various resources and then step back to let them lead. This session was hosted in partnership with the Environmental Grantmakers Association and facilitated by the Trust-Based Philanthropy Project. If you are interested in going deeper in the six trust-based philanthropy principles on a future call, contact .

The Funders Network Learning Webinars

TFN, the national funder network that Smart Growth is a part of, also continues hosting their own monthly learning webinars. Two of these recent sessions lifted up issues relevant to funders in California. The first, How We Move: New Polling Data on Transportation, lifted up research relevant to the mobility fund, which just granted it’s first $700,000 to groups around the country, including California. Another convening, Haciendo el Cambio: How Latinx Communities are Harnessing Power and Building Alliances for Climate Justice, lifted up work taking place in California.

For a link to these webinar recordings, email Ron Milam. To learn about upcoming convenings hosted by Smart Growth California and The Funders’ Network, check out our events page. Also mark your calendar for TFN’s 2021 Virtual Conference March 15-17, 2021. Smart Growth California has several sister working groups at TFN that California funders may be interested in, including:

About the Authors

Tim Mok, Program Associate, Smart Growth California

Kerry Hastings, Program Manager, Smart Growth California

Ron Milam, Director, Smart Growth California

Learn more about the Smart Growth California team here.

Elections Aren't the Finish Line | A Message from TFN's Pat Smith

BY Patricia L. Smith, TFN President & CEO

This message originally appeared in the TFN Newsletter, sent to network members and others on Oct. 30.

Tuesday, as we all know, is Election Day.

And while I will definitely be glad to see the end of nonstop campaign ads, piles of mailers and endless robocalls, I also know this:

Election Day is not the finish line. Not by a longshot.

Even the most optimistic timelines indicate we may not know the results of many races, including the presidential contest, until days if not weeks later.

If the vote is close in key states, the election could take weeks or months to be decided, with pitched battles heading to the courts and possibly Congress.

Factor in the specter of voter intimidation and suppression, and the fears of politically motivated violence, and you've got a recipe for many sleepless nights worrying that the fabric of civic life has become dangerously frayed if not shredded beyond repair.

I was proud to join more than 100 leaders in philanthropy calling for politicians and others in power to uphold the true values of a representative Democracy — including defending against efforts to suppress votes along racial lines or to thwart or overturn the will of the people.

It is certainly heartening to see so many people braving long lines and hours-long waits to cast ballots.

But I also see those long lines as not necessarily a feature of Democracy to be celebrated, but a flaw in the system that creates obstacles for people to exercise basic rights outlined in our Constitution.

And even high voter turnout for this election is a stark contrast to the typically low numbers that come out to vote in off-year local or even state elections.

In a perfect world, we would devote the same get-out-the-vote energy to those elections as well.

From the water we drink and the air we breathe to the curriculum taught in our schools and the oversight of police who patrol our neighborhoods — so much of what we care about can be championed or squashed at the local level, depending on whom we vote into those often overlooked down-ballot offices.

TFN recently hosted a webinar on philanthropy, advocacy and elections, featuring Abby Levine, director of the Bolder Advocacy Program at Alliance for Justice, which outlined some of the do's and dont's for foundations hoping to take more proactive policy stances.

The information Abby shared included useful tools for anyone who wants to see philanthropy more engaged and active in these times of high-stakes urgency. Chief among them: a 501(c)(3) organization may lawfully engage in some lobbying!

This year has cast a harsh light on what many have known for far too long: that we must continue to challenge and confront the systemic racism and xenophobia that create harmful policies and practices.

With much of the country seeing a spike in coronavirus cases and devastating economic downturns — twin crises that cause disproportionate harm to Black, Indigenous and Latinx people, among other hard-hit demographics — there is so much more hard work to be done. The philanthropic sector must use its voice and resources to help grantees advocate for federal, state and local legislative policies that foster equitable, sustainable, healthy prosperous communities.

In closing, I encourage you to take a moment to read this passionate blog post by Dion Cartwright, TFN's director of equitable initiatives and leadership development.

"We must ask ourselves, 'How am I contributing to these unjust systems and what power am I willing to give up or challenge in order to see true justice and liberation for all come to fruition?'" writes Dion, who leads our PLACES Fellowship and Alumni Network. "Our future is not dependent upon the results of this election. It is dependent on our resiliency as we face the gatekeepers of change."

I'm proud to work alongside Dion and the rest of the TFN community of funders, partners and staff who inspire me to favor action over cynicism and hope over fear.

Not just on Election Day, but every day.

About the Author

Pat Smith is the president and CEO of The Funders Network, a membership organization comprised of more than 170 local, regional and national foundations across the U.S. and Canada committed to creating more sustainable, prosperous and equitable communities.

Measuring the State of Disaster Philanthropy 2020: CDP webinar

BY TFN Staff

TFN is among the co-sponsors of this webinar, organized by the  Center for Disaster Philanthropy (CDP), which serves as a technical advisor to TFN’s PREPP learning cohort. Read more about the Nov. 17 event, Measuring the State of Disaster Philanthropy 2020, in the below description from CDP: 

Every year, disasters and humanitarian crises affect millions of people globally. Billions of philanthropic dollars are distributed to the thousands of organizations across the charitable sector in response to these emergencies.

But where does the funding come from and how are the dollars used? How much funding addresses long-term recovery, preparedness and disaster risk reduction, in addition to immediate relief?

To help answer these questions, the Center for Disaster Philanthropy (CDP) and Candid produce the annual Measuring the State of Disaster Philanthropy report. On Nov. 17, 2020, CDP and Candid will host a webinar to highlight findings from the 2020 report. Speakers will share insights into the 2018 philanthropic response by focusing on two of the major U.S. disasters that year: Hurricane Florence and California’s historic Camp Fire.

Photo Credit Measuring the State of Philanthropy report by CDP and Candid

Measuring the State of Disaster Philanthropy 2020
Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2020
2 p.m. ET/1 p.m. CT
Register Today!

The 2020 report focuses on 2018 disasters, a year when disasters such as Hurricane Michael and the Sulawesi earthquake, and humanitarian crises, like the civil unrest in Syria and Yemen, affected millions of people globally. As the world continues to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic, while addressing record-breaking wildfires in California and another devastating hurricane season, what lessons can we take from the philanthropic response to disasters in 2018? The webinar will explore how to use data to make strategic, informed disaster giving decisions.

CDP President and CEO Patricia McIlreavy will moderate the discussion.


This webinar is co-sponsored by Council of Foundations, The Funders NetworkUnited Philanthropy Forum, North Carolina Network of GrantmakersSoutheastern Council of Foundations and Florida Philanthropic Network.

The annual analysis of funding for disasters and humanitarian crises is made possible with generous funding by The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust.

The webinar will be recorded and the recording will be emailed to everyone who registered.

Philanthropy for Active Civic Engagement (PACE): 5 Things to Think About 5 Days Before the Election

BY TFN Staff

This post excerpted below was originally published by Philanthropy for Active Civic Engagement (PACE) on Medium.

Philanthropy for Active Civic Engagement (PACE) has spent the last few weeks exploring various election scenarios that could play out following the Nov. 3 election. They've compiled that shared knowledge and insight into a blog post with questions for leaders across the philanthropic sector to consider in the few remaining days before this historic event, as well as thoughts on scenarios that may unfold in the uncertain aftermath.

"While many are understandably focused on the integrity of the election and its fair administration, we have also heard particular concern within our community about its aftermath: When will there be results? Will Americans accept the results? Will there be violence? There’s a lot we should be prepared for in these last five days, and the weeks after November 3rd as well.

This is one way in which the PACE community shines. PACE is a philanthropic laboratory for funders seeking to maximize their impact on democracy and civic life in America, but it is also a community in which we learn, experiment, collaborate, and model vibrant civic space. As a community, we’ve gathered over the last few weeks to explore various election scenarios that could play out, and share what we are thinking about now to do our part in strengthening democracy through whatever reality unfolds. We offer five questions for philanthropy to think about five days before Election Day."

Curious what made the list? Read the full post: 5 Things to Think About 5 Days Before the Election

Partners for Places Mini Grants Announced

BY The Funders Network Staff

The Funders Network, in partnership with the Urban Sustainability Directors Network, is excited to announce the recipients of six Partners for Places Mini Grants, intended to help local governments, local foundations, and frontline community-led groups build relationships, align project ideas, and center racial equity in water, sustainability, and climate action work.

The Partners for Places Mini Grants are designed to spark new relationships or deepen existing connections that will hopefully help these communities develop a successful Partners for Places project proposal in the future.

Partners for Places is a matching grant program that improves U.S. and Canadian communities by building partnerships between local government leaders, community groups, and place-based foundations. National funders invest in local projects developed through these partnerships to advance efforts to create communities that are sustainable, prosperous and just.

Read on to meet the latest Partners for Places Mini Grant recipients, as well as to learn more about the recently launched Partners for Places interactive Grants Map and Idea Bank.

These six communities have received Partners for Places Mini Grants:

Albuquerque, N.M.:

Amount: ($9,500)
Project title: Capital Stacking for Maximum Community Sustainability
Project description: The grant will support collaborative and effective community engagement team to leverage policy and resources to target energy-burdened households with whole-house energy efficient retrofits.
Frontline community-led group: Prosperity Works
Funder partner: McCune Foundation

Boulder County and Cities of Boulder and Longmont, Col.:

Amount: ($8,000)
Project title: Community-Driven Climate Justice and Resilience
Project description: The grant will be used to support the efforts of the partner organizations to identify and build a relationship with frontline community-led group(s) to work together to co-create a Partners for Places matching grant proposal for an equitable, community-driven climate justice and resilience planning and capacity building process.
Frontline community-led groups: Boulder Food Rescue, El Centro Amistad, FLOWS and Longmont Food Rescue
Funder partner: Philanthropiece Foundation

Dubuque, Iowa:

Amount: ($8,500)
Project title: Building Energy for Change
Project description: This grant will expand partnership development with a new community group, providing incentives to participants and strengthening project management and facilitation, and support gatherings to understand frontline community perspectives related to barriers at the intersection of climate action.
Frontline community-led group: Switching Places Foundation
Funder partner: Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque

Grand Rapids, Mich.:

Amount: ($10,000)
Project title: Green Stormwater Infrastructure in Grand Rapids Neighborhoods of Focus
Project description: This grant will aid in the planning to further impactful green infrastructure opportunities in business districts within Grand Rapids Neighborhoods of Focus.
Frontline community-led group: Grand Rapids Area Black Businesses (GRABB)
Funder partner: Wege Foundation

Richmond, Va.:

Amount: ($10,000)
Project title: Southside Greening Grassroots Master Plan Development
Project description: This grant allows the city, funder partner and community groups to design an equitable greening master planning process that centers people directly impacted by environmental disparities and builds on existing organizing and greening efforts in South Richmond.
Frontline community-led group: Southside ReLeaf; Virginia Community Voice
Funder partner: Richmond Memorial Health Foundation

Santa Fe, N.M.:

Amount: ($10,000)
Project title: Co-developing a Project at the Mitigation-Resilience-Equity Nexus
Project description: To compensate marginalized community representatives and youth climate action organizers for their time spent collectively developing a grant application that addresses institutional and systemic racism, provides equitable outcomes, and advances collective goals to create a sustainable, thriving community.
Frontline community-led group: Earth Care
Funder partner: Eric Oppenheimer Family Foundation

About Partners for Places

Partners for Places general grant program is supported by The JPB FoundationKendeda FundThe Kresge FoundationNew York Community Trust and the Pisces Foundation.

To date, Partners for Places has awarded more than $7.5 million across North America in this successful matching grant program, leading to over $16 million in investments.

To read about the latest round of Partners for Places matching grant recipients, visit here.

To learn about the previous round of Partners for Places Mini Grants, visit here.

Partners for Places was has been featured in Inside Philanthropy. Read the most recent story here.

Go deeper: Learn more about the new Partners for Places interactive Grants Map & Idea Bank here.

For questions about the Partners for Places Mini Grants or matching grants program, please reach out to Ashley Quintana.

TFN Joins Broad Coalition Calling on Senate to Extend Census Data Reporting Deadlines

BY The Funders Network Staff

The Funders Network is among the 370 national, state, and local groups supporting bipartisan legislation to extend the time to get a complete and accurate 2020 U.S. Census count.

The effort was spearheaded by The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and The Census Project.

"Underscoring the importance and urgency of extending statutory reporting deadlines for apportionment and redistricting data, a diverse and consequential array of local, state, and national organizations urged U.S Senators today to 'to give the U.S. Census Bureau sufficient time to thoroughly implement complex data processing activities and complete the most accurate 2020 Census possible,'” according to a media release announcing the sign-on letter.

The letter urges senators to cosponsor or support the bipartisan 2020 Census Deadline Extensions Act (S. 4571), which would extend the statutory deadlines for delivering apportionment and redistricting data to April and July 2021, respectively, as the administration requested in April 2020.

From the announcement, released Oct. 23:

“'Failure to push back the statutory reporting deadlines is forcing the Census Bureau to cut short critical 2020 Census data processing and quality check operations from the usual five months down to only two and a half months,' the groups stated, stressing the incredibly compressed time frame simply to meet pre-Covid-19 statutory deadlines.

'The Census Bureau’s count of the nation was incomplete, their work is not done, and the 2020 Census is not over,' said Beth Lynk, director of the Census Counts Campaign. 'Perhaps the most critical phase to get a quality count is now underway, but it’s been dramatically cut short as a consequence of counting delays due to Covid-19 disruptions.'"

Photo Credit: Jorge Alcala | Unsplash

"Mary Jo Hoeksema of the Census Project stated that, 'Data processing activities designed to take 153 days before the pandemic derailed the original plan, now have to be done in 92 days under the accelerated plan. The President asked for an extension in April, and Congress should give the nation the time needed to get the count right.'

The appeal to senators from a broad and diverse collection of stakeholders is rooted in the 10-year consequences for states, localities and even neighborhoods of getting the 2020 count wrong.  The letter emphasized that, '…[a] rushed census during a pandemic inevitably will lead to misallocation of political representation, government funding, and private sector investment in every state and community. If data processing operations are not thorough, communities most in need of resources to improve quality of life and standards of living will not receive their fair share for the next decade. Accurate data from the 2020 Census are critical to informed decision-making and resource allocation by the public and private sectors, including preparation for and recovery from natural disasters and public health crises.'"

Read the full letter here.

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 220 national organizations to promote and protect the rights of all persons in the United States. The Leadership Conference works toward an America as good as its ideals. For more information on The Leadership Conference and its member organizations, visit

The Census Project ( is a broad-based coalition of national, state, and local organizations and companies that support an inclusive and accurate 2020 Census and American Community Survey (ACS) (the modern version of the census “long form”). Its 800+ member organizations and companies, representing the private, public, non-profit, and academic sectors, rely on objective data that the Census Bureau produces to inform evidence-based investment, policy and planning decisions.

New! Partners for Places Interactive Grants Map & Idea Bank

BY The Funders Network Staff

The Funders Network recently launched a new interactive Partners for Places Grants Map as well as a robust reboot of the Partners for Places Idea Bank featuring a searchable database of completed projects.

Grants Map

Visit the Partners for Places homepage on the TFN website to view interactive Grants Maps for both U.S. and Canadian projects that have been supported by the matching grants program. If you hover over each pinpoint on the map, you’ll see every Partners for Places project located in that community or region. Projects on the map are color-coded to indicate which category of Partners for Places grant support they received: gray for general grants, green for green stormwater infrastructure grants, and orange for projects supported by our Equity Pilot Initiative.

Idea Bank

Each completed project on the map includes a link that will take you to that project’s entry on the Partners for Places Idea Bank. (You can also access the Idea Bank directly via the pulldown menu at the top of the page, or via resource links embedded on the Partners for Places homepage.)

More than 100 completed Partners for Places projects are featured in the Idea Bank, including a description of the project, matching funders, lessons learned and additional resources. (See image below.) Adding to the functionality: The Idea Bank allows you to filter searches by focus area. Just click on the tags such as “Climate and Energy” or “Equity and Empowerment” to pull up all the projects tagged with those key areas.

Those of you who have been engaged with Partners for Places for some time may recall an earlier iteration of the Idea Bank created several years ago. This rebooted version incorporates interactive and searchable functionalities that allow for a deeper and more comprehensive way to explore grantee projects and appreciate the impact these grants have had over the past decade.

We hope you’ll take a moment to visit TFN’s new website to learn more about these new features: the Grants Map on the Partners for Places homepage as well as the Partners for Places Idea Bank.

If you have any questions or feedback about the Grants Map and Idea Bank, please reach out to TFN Director of Communications Tere Figueras Negrete at

About Partners for Places

Partners for Places general grant program is supported by The JPB FoundationKendeda FundThe Kresge FoundationNew York Community Trust and the Pisces Foundation.

To date, Partners for Places has awarded more than $7.5 million across North America in this successful matching grant program, leading to over $16 million in investments.

To read about the latest round of Partners for Places matching grant recipients, visit here.

To learn about the latest round of Partners for Places Mini Grants, visit here.

Partners for Places was has been featured in Inside Philanthropy. Read the most recent story here.

For questions about the Partners for Places Mini Grants or matching grants program, please reach out to Ashley Quintana.

Mobility Fund Catalyzes More than $700,000 in Grants to Support Transit, Biking and Walking Advocates

BY Martha Roskowski, TFN Mobility and Access Collaborative

Eight mobility advocacy groups will receive a total of more than $700,000 supporting their work for sustainable and equitable transportation amid the mounting crises of systemic inequities and the coronavirus pandemic. The first round of the new Mobility Fund leveraged contributions of $351,000 from national funders with equal or greater matches from local foundations.

“We are pleased to support the Mobility Fund and public transit advocates advancing more equitable and environmentally beneficial transportation solutions,” said Brendon Slotterback, Midwest Climate and Energy program officer for the McKnight Foundation, an investor in the national fund. “These grants provide a lifeline to organizations working to protect and enhance individuals’ ability to get to work, medical appointments and other critical destinations and services.”

The current transit crisis disproportionately impacts people of color, people under economic distress and essential workers. Advocates working to protect, preserve and enhance transit, biking and walking at the local level face financial challenges due to the pandemic. The Mobility Fund bolsters these groups and builds local philanthropic support for transportation. The need is great, however. The fund received 26 proposals in the pilot round totaling $1,221,550 in requests.

“This is a rapid response philanthropic investment in a key intersection of transportation, equity and climate,” said Lina Fedirko, Senior Associate on the Transportation Team at the ClimateWorks Foundation, another investor in the national fund. “We’re excited to join partners in supporting the local advocacy infrastructure necessary to push for emissions free, equitable transportation.”

Other national funders for the pilot round include the SRAM Cycling Fund, and The Summit Foundation. “The Mobility Fund grants are matched by local foundations who understand the importance of mobility,” said Darryl Young, Director of the Sustainable Cities Program at The Summit Foundation. “More than 40 local foundations stepped up to offer local matching funds, including 11 funders new to the groups. We thank them for partnering with us.”

Grants provide both general organizational support and collaboration support to strengthen ties between community groups that advocate for mobility.

Grantees from the 2020 round of the Mobility Fund and their matching funders are:

Boston Cyclists Union ($50,000) Advancing Boston’s Sustainable Transportation Plan: To speed implementation of the city’s transportation blueprint, Go Boston 2030, through community organizing. This effort will support Boston’s “Healthy Streets” initiative to quickly implement tactical interventions that improve bus travel and connect bike routes and make short-term fixes permanent. It will also bring a focus on equity and transportation justice to Healthy Streets. Matching Funders: The Helen & William Mazer Foundation; Barr Foundation ($50,000)

East Metro Strong, Minnesota ($37,000) Support Mobility Through Transit + Carshare: To bolster transit ridership by increasing awareness of the ability to use transit and carshare together, and the benefits of doing so. East Metro Strong will collaborate with HOURCAR, the region’s non-profit carshare service, Metro Transit, and community-based organizations, to design and spread messages that produce these results. Matching Funder: The Carolyn Foundation ($37,000)

LINK Houston ($50,000) Seeking Houston’s Shift to Equitable Transportation: To increase transparency around racial disparities and empower communities through engagement and data-informed analysis designed to hold local government accountable for equitably planning and implementing transportation improvements for people in the Houston region. Matching Funders: Frank & Cindy Liu Family Foundation; Energy Foundation; Houston Endowment; Jeffrey Cohen Charitable Gift Fund ($50,000)

Our Streets Minneapolis and Move Minnesota ($37,000) Minnesota’s Climate-Sustainable and Equitable Transportation Pathway: To transform mobility across the state of Minnesota by building deeper relationships and engaging partners to create a long-term campaign and work plan to raise additional funding for a full-scale campaign in 2021. Matching Funder: Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation ($37,000)

Ride New Orleans ($40,000) Equitable Transit for COVID and Beyond: To secure an equitable new transit network using the framework of a soon-to-finish network redesign process, Ride New Orleans. This effort will create targeted strengthening of the transit supporter coalition, a focus on priority community groups and business leaders, and enhanced communications. Matching Funder: Greater New Orleans Foundation ($40,000)

San Francisco Bicycle Coalition ($47,500) Creating Safe Streets in the Tenderloin: To build on extensive community partnerships in the Tenderloin neighborhood that will pilot a community-based, non-policing approach to improving transportation safety in the neighborhood, and advocate for a transformative increase in Slow Streets and car-free space throughout the Tenderloin. Matching Funders: Anonymous; Tenderloin Community Benefit District ($47,500)

Transportation Alternatives ($50,000) Avoiding Carmageddon in New York City: To equitably expand: 1) a citywide network of multi-use car-free streets called Open Streets; 2) secure more miles of busways and bike lanes; 3) refine policy and grow micromobility use, including bike share and e-bikes/e-scooters; and 4) keep the City accountable to Vision Zero. Matching Funders: Lily Auchincloss Foundation; Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund ($50,000)

Transportation Choices Coalition, Washington State ($40,000) Coalition Building for a Transit-Oriented Recovery: To bring together transit, walk and bike advocates, transit agencies, transportation departments, sustainability and environmental justice organizations, land use and planning organizations, social services and social justice organizations, labor, community based organizations, and Native people in weekly video meetings to focus on COVID response, emerging issues and updates, and to strategize on a just, transit-oriented recovery. Matching Funders: Hiller Family Fund; Jean Johnson; Sustainable Communities Funders, via Seattle Foundation; The Bullitt Foundation; Thread Fund; The Satterberg Foundation ($40,000)


Metro Transit's light rail line in the Twin Cities. Photo credit: Amy Wurdock for The Funders Network

About the Mobility Fund

The Mobility Fund is a new matching grant program hosted by Global Philanthropy Partnership. The long-term goal of this fund is to increase access to and use of active transportation modes and public transit.

The immediate goal of the fund is to meet the urgent need for safe alternatives to public transportation as Americans commute in a pandemic. It seeks to support advocacy efforts for: (1) optimizing transit capacity and safety; (2) recovery funding for transit; and (3) walking and cycling for trips that have shifted off of transit during the recovery period.

About the Mobility and Access Collaborative

The Mobility Fund was conceived and is guided by the Mobility and Access Collaborative, an initiative of The Funders Network. The collaborative is working to reduce transportation related greenhouse gas emissions while eliminating the underlying historic and current inequities in the mobility system. It is led by a core group of staff from foundations who are shaping and guiding work on transportation, including the Barr Foundation, the Bullitt Foundation, The George Gund Foundation, Houston Endowment, TransitCenter, and The Summit Foundation.

About the Author

Martha Roskowski is the program lead for the Mobility and Access Collaborative, an initiative of The Funders Network. She is the founder of Further Strategies, a consulting firm based on Boulder, Col. For more information about the Mobility Fund or the Mobility and Access Collaborative, contact Martha Roskowski
at or 303-895-0951.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Disability logos in red, orange, yellow, green, blue, lavender, brown and pink

Accessible & Inclusive: The Funders Network's new web features for special needs and learning accommodations

BY The Funders Network Staff

The Funders Network is committed to creating an inclusive and accessible environment for our members and others — including in the digital space.

In this age of social distancing and remote work set-ups, we are all spending more time than ever engaging in the online world. That's why it's even more important than ever to ensure online platforms are able to provide information and resources in ways that allow equitable access for users of varying abilities and learning needs.

In keeping with that commitment, we've taken steps to make The Funders Network website accessible and compliant with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.1), Americans with Disability Act website requirements and guidelines and s508 compliance.

As noted by, “poorly designed websites can create unnecessary barriers for people with disabilities, just as poorly designed buildings prevent some people with disabilities from entering. Access problems often occur because website designers mistakenly assume that everyone sees and accesses a webpage in the same way.”

Our website includes features that enable users to adjust the design and user interface of the website to provide accessibility and accommodations for a variety of needs.

Depending on the setting you select, the application offers:    

  • Screen-reader optimization for blind users.
  • Keyboard navigation optimization for the motor impaired.
  • A stop to all flashing animations that may contribute to seizures.
  • Highlight bar that limits onscreen distractions for those with ADD/ADHD (and other learning styles were limited visual clutter is helpful.) 
  • User interface and design adjustments for the visually impaired, including the ability to change font size and color settings.

How to Use

To see our accessibility application in action, click on the orange accessibility icon on the bottom right corner of The Funders Network website. (You'll see this icon at the bottom right of your screen, regardless of where you are on our site.)

When you click on the orange accessibility icon, you'll see a menu that allows you to customize your experience on the site based on your needs and preferences.

Picture of a group of funders alongside a screen shot of the pulldown menu listing accessibility functions

If you continue to scroll down on our accessibility menu, you'll see additional options that allow you to customize the user experience on our site, including the ability to change font size, color saturation and the size of the mouse cursor — to name just a few options.

Picture of a group of funders alongside a screen shot of the pulldown menu listing accessibility functions

Please keep in mind that increasing font size may require you to adjust the setting on your computer monitor or use the horizontal scroll bar on your screen in order to read the full text.

About the TFN Website

This new feature comes as TFN continues to improve how we connect and engage with our members and others across the sector. This summer, we launched the new TFN website with host of resources that will help you better navigate TFN’s rich offerings of programs and resources, including a new section devoted to our approach to racial equity, a digital library featuring our most recent publications, and an interactive membership map to better identify potential connections in your region. TFN has worked with SimpleFly Creative, a Miami-based, Latinx-led graphic design firm, to create our website. If you have any questions or feedback about the TFN website, including the new accessibility features, please contact TFN’s Director of Communications Tere Figueras Negrete at