Cranford, Fanwood receive Sustainable Jersey grants

CRANFORD / FANWOOD, NJ — Sustainable Jersey announced May 14 the 31 New Jersey municipalities selected to receive Sustainable Jersey grants funded by the PSEG Foundation. Five $20,000 grants, six $10,000 grants and 20 $2,000 grants were distributed to municipalities in 14 New Jersey counties. Cranford and Fanwood both won $2,000 grants.

The grant awards will fund a range of projects, including green infrastructure, food waste composting education, single-use plastic reduction campaigns, community gardens, a farmers market, environmental resource inventories, a diversity discussion series, green team capacity building and more.

“In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, these grants will strengthen our communities and build the groundwork for finding solutions to the sustainability concerns that are reaching a crisis point,” Sustainable Jersey Executive Director Randall Solomon said. He extended his congratulations to all of the towns that received grants. “By making preparations today to ensure our future well-being, we strengthen our communities and help alleviate future disasters.”

The PSEG Foundation has contributed $2.2 million in funding to the Sustainable Jersey grants program for municipalities and schools.

“The PSEG Foundation is committed to helping build sustainable and thriving communities by empowering and investing in the people, environment and infrastructure of the communities we serve, embodying our mission to help build better places to live and work,” said Rick Thigpen, senior vice president of corporate citizenship at PSEG and chairman of the PSEG Foundation. “Supporting Sustainable Jersey and local municipalities as they build sustainability programs puts resources where they’re needed to positively impact the environment and local communities, having a lasting impact on neighborhoods throughout New Jersey.”

Proposals were evaluated by an independent blue-ribbon committee. The Sustainable Jersey grants are intended to help municipalities make progress toward a sustainable future in general, and toward Sustainable Jersey certification in specific.

Cranford won $2,000 for a project to “live green” without single-use plastics. In 2019, the township passed a single-use plastics ban; however, public awareness of the ban is not yet widespread. The green team will develop a publicity campaign to increase visibility of the ban, promote its benefits and educate residents on recycling.

Fanwood received $2,000 for a green team visibility project. The borough will improve and expand the green team’s presence at local and regional community events and conduct membership outreach. These efforts will increase the team’s visibility as a resource for environmental preservation and sustainability efforts.

“The support of Sustainable Jersey is invaluable to our newly invigorated local green team,” Fanwood Mayor Colleen Mahr said. “This grant is very welcome and allows us to bring the ‘reduce, recycle, reuse’ message to our residents in a variety of tangible ways that would not otherwise be possible. However, just as important are the resources and support Sustainable Jersey provides through their great website and Sustainable Jersey community. We are very grateful.”