Duluth One of Eight U.S. Communities Awarded Partners for Places Grant

Howard's Que owner Howard Ross selecting vegetables for a community meal at the Eco3 Farm

Duluth has been awarded one of eight national Partners for Places matching grants to fund climate action projects. The $75,000 funds a one-year partnership between Ecolibrium3, Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation (DSACF), and the City of Duluth Love Your Block program that will advance three community goals: 1) reduce health disparities by addressing both food access and social connectedness in a climate-informed manner; 2) demonstrate joint climate action by weaving together the City Climate Action Plan and the Duluth Citizens’ Climate Action plan in the area of food; and 3) enable Lincoln Park to build collective power through connection and scaffolded engagement with equity-based governance.

Partners for Places, a joint effort by The Funders Network (TFN) and the Urban Sustainability Directors Network (USDN), aims to enhance local capacity to build equitable and sustainable communities in the United States and Canada. Partners for Places is a successful matching grant program that advances equitable and sustainable communities through collaborative partnerships. The fund does this by requiring local government leaders, place-based funders, and frontline community partnerships, and by pairing national and local philanthropic funding sources. These one-to-one matching awards support equitable, sustainable climate action and green stormwater infrastructure projects. National funders invest in local projects to promote a healthy environment, a strong economy, and the well-being of all residents. Through these projects, Partners for Places fosters long-term relationships that make communities more sustainable, prosperous and just.

“We are excited about working with The Funders Network and the Partners for Places program because it focuses on not only delivering important programs, but also invests in building greater connections between community organizations,” said Jodi Slick, CEO of Ecolibrium3.

Michelle Morris, Community Impact Director at DSACF, the place-based funder who provided the $75,000 match, emphasized the way the partnership can advance equity and justice: “This project will be based on the application funded by DSACF to provide social connection placemaking around gardening and food production, with an emphasis on intergenerational involvement and adults with disabilities. There is extraordinary momentum around building social connections and increasing local food production at sites embedded within our local neighborhoods, work that is energizing many partners and leveraging assets to change places and systems that can lead to greater equity and justice.”

“Time and time again, food access comes up as a barrier for health and equity in Duluth. The educational, workforce training, and social cohesiveness elements of this place-based, food-access proposal are an important part of community building,” said Mindy Granley, City of Duluth Sustainability Officer.

Partners for Places’ general grant program is supported by The JPB Foundation, The Kendeda Fund, The Kresge Foundation, New York Community Trust, The Allen H. and Selma W. Berkman Charitable Trust, and the Pisces Foundation.

The grant program provides partnership investments between $25,000 and $75,000 for one-year projects, or $50,000 and $150,000 for two-year projects, with a 1:1 match required by one or more local place-based funders. To date, Partners for Places has awarded nearly $8.5 million across North America in this successful matching grant program, leading to more than $18 million in investments.