Eight Network Members Awarded Technical Assistance Grants to Support Community-Led Research
With funding and support from the Kresge Foundation, River Network is excited to announce it has awarded Technical Assistance Grants to eight organizations around the country to support the design and implementation of grassroots, ground-up, community-led processes to better understand climate- and water-related issues, impacts and threats in their community, and support advocacy efforts to address them.
Each of the selected organizations have experience working on various aspects of climate resilience, disaster relief and urban flooding, and have built credible partnerships with community members, leaders and organizations that are founded in the principles of water equity. The selected organizations include:
- Community In-Power and Development Association (Port Arthur, TX)
- Ecolibrium3 (Duluth, MN)
- Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association (Durham, NC)
- Groundwork Jacksonville (Jacksonville, FL)
- Groundwork Somerville (Somerville, MA)
- Lower Grand River Organization of Watersheds (Grand Rapids, MI)
- Port Arthur Community Action Network (Port Arthur, TX)
- West Street Recovery and the Northeast Action Collective (Houston, TX)
Communities across the United States are increasingly experiencing the negative impacts of climate change, including property damage, public health impacts, and safety issues related to flooding and extreme heat. Many communities are also facing other water-related issues stemming from inadequate wastewater treatment or from lack of access to safe and affordable drinking water. Many community-based organizations are working with community members to address these impacts and advocate for solutions to make their communities safer and more resilient.
This initiative is part of River Network’s effort to support members of our network to promote increased community resilience in the face of a changing climate and to advocate for water equity in local decision-making. Organizations across our network understand that deep community engagement is vital in order to understand how climate threats directly impact residents. Likewise, they recognize that direct partnership with community members is crucial to formulating more effective and equitable solutions. These efforts are necessary to build the political power necessary to influence city officials’ and local utilities’ decisions and to secure more equitable public investments. Community-led research initiatives are an important strategy to advance these goals.
In response to requests from members of our network for guidance and examples to engage in effective community-led research initiatives – and how to use the data and resulting community cohesion to address local, water-related problems, River Network is undertaking two related initiatives:
- Produce a Community-Led Research Toolkit: We just published this toolkit on Community-Led Research to share best practices for gathering and utilizing community-generated data to effectively solve water-related problems impacting communities.
- Directly Support Local Community-Led Research Projects: The grants described above were awarded in order to expand the use of community-led research to address issues related to climate threats and water equity. Each organization will receive $6,500 in funding support and technical assistance to develop and deploy a community-led research project in their community.
Later in 2021, we will share how the grantees are putting their technical assistance grants to use and the outcomes they are achieving. Stay tuned!