Marc Morial, President and CEO of National Urban League
Donna Gambrell, President and CEO of Appalachian Community Capital
Bill Anoatubby, Governor of the Chickasaw Nation
Luz Urrutia, President and CEO of Accion Opportunity Fund
JB Pritzker, Governor of Illinois
Dick Durbin (D-IL), U.S. Senator
Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), U.S. Senator
Brad Henderson, CEO of P33
Michael Fassnacht, President & CEO, World Business Chicago
Chris Meister, Executive Director of the Illinois Finance Authority/Climate Bank

Rust Belts To Green Belts Initiative

The National Community Investment Fund (NCIF) has partnered with Innovate Illinois, P33, World Business Chicago, Accion Opportunity Fund, Appalachian Community Capital, The Chickasaw Nation and National Urban League in a proposal for funding from the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Communities Investment Accelerator (CCIA) competition as part of the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund. The Rust Belts to Green Belts (R2G) program focuses on addressing the historical tension between industrial corridors and their surrounding neighborhoods. R2G will support clean technology adoption, job creation, wealth building, and environmental improvements in low-income disadvantaged communities (LIDACs) that would otherwise be left behind.

Change Begins with a Dedicated and Knowledgeable Team

Our coalition will integrate underserved communities in the investment decision making and bring capital and technical assistance to pressing problems, and our data-driven approach will create an innovation hub that can be replicated around the country. The R2G team consists of the following members.

Coordination Partners: Innovate Illinois, P33, World Business Chicago

Sub-Awardees: Accion Opportunity Fund, Appalachian Community Capital, The Chickasaw Nation, National Urban League

Commercial Partners: A growing list including, ComEd, Common Energy, EVBox, Ford, Lion Electric, Navistar, Orange EV, Reactivate, Rivian, Schneider Electric, Siemens, UL Solutions

LIDAC Advisory Board: Elevate Chicago, Center for Neighborhood Technology, Blacks in Green, Elevate, Faith in Place, Forth, Green Latinos, Habitat for Humanity, Illinois Finance Authority

CCIA Program and the R2G Strategy

R2G’s unique strategy focuses on three key components:

  1. A deep and experienced national network of community lenders: Full national reach with direct local access and on-the-ground credibility in diverse communities that can be leveraged to promote interventions across zero-emission transportation, clean energy generation, and net-zero-emissions housing. NCIF and its partner sub-awardees will work with an eCorridor Financial Network (ECFN) to deploy the capital in all 10 EPA regions across the rural and urban U.S., tribal lands and in all three CCIA priority project categories.
  2. Data-driven and community-centric approach: Using EPA and NCIF proprietary data tools, R2G is developing metrics that measure the environmental, health, and economic burdens from diesel-intensive transportation, inefficient buildings, and lack of clean energy generation. R2G will actively engage the LIDAC communities led by the LIDAC Advisory Board composed of community and environmental justice groups, and local community lenders.
  3. Aligning community needs and commercial goals to generate demand: R2G is partnering with commercial partners that are interested in sales of equipment and technologies nationally and in LIDAC communities. These partners will be able to tap into their significant financial capital and technical assistance.

Collectively, the R2G coalition will seek to disburse funds across all 10 EPA regions and across all three EPA priority areas that include electric vehicles/trucks (EVs) and EV charging infrastructure, renewable energy generation, and zero-emission buildings to confront the local environmental, health, and economic issues created by diesel-intensive transportation, inefficient buildings, and lack of clean energy generation.

The Impact R2G Seeks to Create

The qualified projects we support through CCIA funding will help improve the health and economic prospects of the tens of millions of residents of those affected corridors—bringing economic and environmental justice to LIDACs.

By supporting clean technology adoption, job creation, wealth building, retrofitting of affordable housing, and environmental improvements in LIDACs, the R2G proposal helps address the historical inequities that exist between industrial corridors and their surrounding neighborhoods. We will seek to use the metrics provided by EPA including the CEJST and EJ Tools and apply NCIF proprietary tools to screen projects and monitor their impact.

Please see news about the R2G proposal below:

R2G Press Release

Governor J.B. Pritzker Commentary on R2G

Tell us what you need? Please take our survey on Capital Solutions. This data allows NCIF to engage the LIDAC sector and develop capital solutions through its key business lines.

R2G Executive Advisory Committee

Dakota Cole, CEO, The Chickasaw Nation
Bob Dean, Chief Strategy and Program Officer, Center for Neighborhood Technology
Anne Evens, CEO, Elevate
Michael Fassnacht, CEO, World Business Chicago
Donna Gambrell, CEO, Appalachian Community Capital
Brad Henderson, CEO, and Innovate Illinois
Marc Morial, CEO, National Urban League
Saurabh Narain, President and CEO, National Community Investment Fund
Luz Urrutia, CEO, Accion Opportunity Fund

NCIF Innovate Illinois World Business Chicago p33
Accion Opportunity Fund Appalachian Community Capital The Chickasaw Nation National Urban League
Elevate Center for Neighborhood Technology Blacks in Green Forth
Faith in Place Green Latinos Habitat for Humanity Illinois Finance Authority