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 Our Strategy
R2G’s unique strategy focuses on three key components:
- A deep and experienced national network of community lenders: Full national reach with direct local access and on-the-ground credibility in diverse communities can be leveraged to promote interventions across zero-emission transportation, clean energy generation, and net-zero-emissions housing. NCIF will work with an eCorridor Financial Network (ECFN) to deploy the capital, in all 10 EPA regions across the rural and urban U.S. and tribal lands and in all three CCIA priority project categories.
- 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.
- 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 We Seek 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:
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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, P33chicago.com and Innovate Illinois
Marc Morial, CEO, National Urban League
Saurabh Narain, President and CEO, National Community Investment Fund
Luz Urrutia, CEO, Accion Opportunity Fund