June 8, 2022, Yonkers, NY – Bank of America, Bezos Earth Fund, and New York State Environmental Facilities Corporation all made a major commitment to alleviating climate risks in the Hudson Valley region by sponsoring a neighborhood-centered, solution-based climate resiliency initiative in the environmental justice community of Southwest Yonkers. This marks a historic series of public-private partnerships for Groundwork Hudson Valley.
Bank of America has a major presence in downtown Yonkers and has provided $500,000 over a two-year period to expand and galvanize the Climate Safe Neighborhoods Partnership coordinated by the nonprofit Groundwork Hudson Valley. Through the Groundwork Climate Preparedness and Land Restoration program, made possible with funding from the Bezos Earth Fund, Groundwork Hudson Valley has been awarded $400,000 to utilize nature-based solutions and resilient landscaping to reduce exposure to extreme heat and flooding in The Municipal Housing Authority for the City of Yonkers (MHACY) and Westhab properties across Yonkers. Joining the movement to tackle climate change at the community level is New York States’ Environmental Facilities Corporation (EFC), which awarded MHACY $900,000 to undertake an innovative green infrastructure plan to abate heat islands and flooding at MHACY properties.
The partnership empowers local people, businesses, and government to identify, understand, and mitigate the most serious climate risks, while being better prepared for extreme weather emergencies. It is also engaging local youth to nurture the climate resiliency leaders of the future. The influx of resources from Bank of America, Bezos Earth Fund, and EFC will enable the partnership to:
- Significantly increase the number of local youth employed in green jobs that deploy nature-based solutions like planting and maintaining trees to reduce heat and flood risks;
- Support the community-led climate resiliency task force for Southwest Yonkers to inform community-based interventions to mitigate priority heat islands and flood zones identified through a two-year data collection and mapping process;
- Broadly expand climate education and literacy efforts to thousands of additional people in Southwest Yonkers through public outreach, education, and media;
- Work across the city’s municipal housing system to improve the lives of thousands of vulnerable, low to moderate income residents through green infrastructure interventions at high-need housing sites, better prepare residents for extreme weather events, and train resident volunteers to safeguard ongoing climate resiliency improvements.
Brigitte Griswold, the Executive Director of Groundwork Hudson Valley, is thrilled to have Bank of America, the Bezos Earth Fund, and the NYS Environmental Facilities Corporation provide the climate initiative a much-needed boost as risks related to climate change have become ever more apparent. “Having such major private and public sector collaboration to support our community is a huge opportunity for everyone involved. The need is especially great in Southwest Yonkers, which is highly vulnerable to climate change impacts with its Hudson River waterfront, its history of redlining, and its low-lying urban landscape that intensifies the impact of heat waves, storms, and floods.”
Wilson Kimball, President and CEO of MHACY is very grateful to New York State, Bank of America and the Bezos Earth Fund for their vision and commitment to environmental justice. She expressed that “it is leadership like theirs and at Groundwork Hudson Valley that will help our communities achieve climate resiliency and ensure a more sustainable future.”
“Bank of America’s longstanding commitment to improving the environment is a key part of how we approach our work, ensuring that sustainable practices are incorporated into our operations and throughout the communities we serve,” said Jeffrey Barker, President, Bank of America New York State. “The Climate Safe Neighborhoods Partnership is a crucial step towards ensuring that New York’s most vulnerable populations receive the support they need when it comes to responding to the climate crisis – we look forward to seeing the effects of this collaboration and creating a more sustainable, equitable future.”
New York Senate Majority Leader, Andrea Stewart-Cousins added, “I believe we must do everything we can to ensure that communities disproportionately affected by the climate crisis become more sustainable and resilient to climate change. Extreme weather events that have been referred to as “once in a lifetime” are now becoming more common. I am proud of the climate resilience work that Groundwork Hudson Valley is doing in Southwest Yonkers. That is why I was glad to help secure funding for the organization to support these critical investments. This community partnership will ensure our communities are better prepared for extreme weather emergencies.”
Other current supporters of the Climate Safe Neighborhoods Partnership include NYC DEC, The Kresge Foundation, JPB Foundation, Swiss Re Foundation, The Baldwin Foundation, and Verizon.
To learn more about the Climate Safe Neighborhood Partnership for Southwest Yonkers please contact Candida Rodriguez at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Groundwork Hudson Valley: Groundwork Hudson Valley is an environmental justice non-profit that works with communities to improve climate resilience and adaptation, promote sustainability education, and nurture the next generation of environmental leaders.
About MHACY: The Municipal Housing Authority for the City of Yonkers (MHACY) is the largest provider of affordable housing in the City of Yonkers and the second largest public housing authority in New York State. MHACY has an unparalleled commitment to redeveloping, managing and administering its housing stock to provide low-income families, the elderly and disabled individuals with access to good, sustainable housing that improves the quality of the residents’ lives, fosters their economic success, and allows them to serve as integral members of communities in which they live. For more information visit www.mhacy.org
About Westhab: Wethab is transforming communities by developing quality affordable housing and delivering the services that people and neighborhoods need to thrive. For more information visit www.westhab.org
About Bank of America: At Bank of America, we’re guided by a common purpose to help make financial lives better, through the power of every connection. We’re delivering on this through responsible growth with a focus on our environmental, social and governance (ESG) leadership. ESG is embedded across our eight lines of business and reflects how we help fuel the global economy, build trust and credibility, and represent a company that people want to work for, invest in and do business with. It’s demonstrated in the inclusive and supportive workplace we create for our employees, the responsible products and services we offer our clients, and the impact we make around the world in helping local economies thrive. An important part of this work is forming strong partnerships with nonprofits and advocacy groups, such as community, consumer and environmental organizations, to bring together our collective networks and expertise to achieve greater impact. Learn more at about.bankofamerica.com, and connect with us on Twitter (@BofA_News).
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About Bezos Earth Fund: The Bezos Earth Fund is Jeff Bezos’ $10 billion personal commitment to fund scientists, activists, NGOs and others to help drive climate and nature solutions. By allocating funds creatively, wisely and boldly, the Bezos Earth Fund has the potential for transformative influence in this decisive decade. Funds will be fully allocated by 2030 — the date by which the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals must be achieved.
About New York State Environmental Facilities Corporation: The Environmental Facilities Corporation helps local governments and eligible organizations undertake their water infrastructure projects. The Environmental Facilities Corporation provides grants and financing to help ensure projects are affordable while safeguarding essential water resources. The EFC provides “one-stop shop” financial services that save money, time and staff resources.