62 Sustainable Jersey grants awarded to New Jersey municipalities

TRENTON – Sustainable Jersey recently announced that $380,000 has been awarded through the Sustainable Jersey Small Grants program. Sixty-two grants will be accepted by New Jersey towns for sustainability projects at the Annual Sustainable Jersey Awards Luncheon on Nov. 19, at the New Jersey State League of Municipalities conference in Atlantic City. The program is partially funded by Walmart and with its current contribution, Walmart will have exceeded $1 million in funding for the grant program since 2009.

The 23 towns that will receive a $20,000 or $10,000 grant have proposed projects that provide sustainable solutions to everyday challenges. Electric vehicle charging stations, turning food scraps and biological waste into green power, grazing goats, a geothermal heating and cooling system for a historic town hall, community gardens and more have been added to the list of initiatives that the Sustainable Jersey Small Grants program is funding. In addition, 39 towns will receive a $2,000 capacity-building grant to support the work of their Green Team and sustainability initiatives.

The Sustainable Jersey grants are intended to help local governments make progress toward a sustainable future in general, and specifically toward Sustainable Jersey certification.

“The grant winning towns are leading the charge for sustainability in New Jersey. I commend the mayors and hardworking Green Teams for taking steps to improve the quality of life in New Jersey,” said Art Ondish, President of the New Jersey League of Municipalities Educational Foundation and Mayor of Mount Arlington.

Currently, 70 percent of New Jersey’s towns and cities — 398 towns across all 21 counties — have registered to become Sustainable Jersey certified. “The impact that these projects will make in New Jersey is incredible,” said Pam Mount, Chair of the Sustainable Jersey Board of Trustees. “Funding green initiatives at the community level will have a ripple effect that will benefit us all.”

In applying for a grant, each municipality submitted a proposal describing its local sustainability initiative and how it would relate to the Sustainable Jersey actions. A total of 80 proposals from 18 New Jersey counties were reviewed and scored by a neutral Blue Ribbon selection committee composed of uncompensated experts and public figures.

Among the 2013 Recipients of $20,000 Sustainable Jersey Project Grants were two from Essex and Union counties. South Orange for its Village Hall Geothermal Heating and Cooling System and Westfield for its Conservation Center and Expansion of Recycling Operations.

Among the 2013 Recipients of $10,000 Sustainable Jersey Project Grants were three from Essex and Union counties. Nutley for its Water Conservation Challenge, Summit for its Summit Free Market Permanent Structure and Fanwood for its Sustainability Community Education and Outreach Initiative — a$5,521 grant.

There were 39 $2,000 Capacity-Building Grant Winners. Among these winners were three from Essex County — Maplewood, Orange and South Orange. In Union County, there were two winners with Cranford and Fanwood receiving grants.

Sustainable Jersey is a certification program for municipalities and schools in New Jersey. Launched in 2009, Sustainable Jersey is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that supports community efforts to reduce waste, cut greenhouse gas emissions, and improve environmental equity. It provides tools, training and financial incentives to support and reward communities as they pursue sustainability programs.

Sustainable Jersey is one hundred percent voluntary and each town can choose whether it wants to get certified and the actions it wants to do in order to achieve enough points to get certified.

In 2014 the Sustainable Jersey for Schools program will be launched in partnership with New Jersey School Boards Association and other statewide educational organizations.

Sustainable Jersey’s partners include the New Jersey State League of Municipalities, The Sustainability Institute at The College of New Jersey, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities. Program sponsors include the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, the Surdna Foundation, Walmart, PSEG, South Jersey Gas, New Jersey Natural Gas, Church and Dwight, Covanta Energy, Energy Solve, Terhune Orchards, United Water, Bayshore Recycling, EcoMatters, Waste Management of New Jersey, Phoenix Advisors, Concord Engineering and the New Jersey Food Council.