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Wentworth Among Climate Fund Grant Recipients

woman walking among trees and brick buildings

Second Nature—a Boston-based NGO who accelerates climate action in, and through, higher education - announced that Wentworth was among colleges and universities awarded grant funding through the Second Nature Climate Solutions Acceleration Fund (the Acceleration Fund).

Wentworth will use the funding to host a cross-sector forum on microgrids for the campus community and neighborhood stakeholders. Students will have the opportunity to learn how a microgrid works, how it supports clean energy and resiliency, and how teams must engage with stakeholders to develop cross-sector partnerships. A summary of the program will be shared with the City of Boston to foster cross-sector relationships as prioritized in the City’s Climate Action Plan.

“Wentworth has been dedicated to fostering and sustaining green principles and programs for a very long time,” said President Mark A. Thompson. “Promoting sustainability is in the university’s DNA—a top priority of students and leadership alike. We appreciate Second Nature’s advocacy and are proud to be included in the agency’s Acceleration Fund program.”

The opportunity to apply for funding was first announced at the 2020 Higher Education Climate Leadership Summit . The Acceleration Fund is dedicated to supporting innovative cross-sector climate action activities driven by colleges and universities.

Second Nature created the Acceleration Fund with generous support from Bloomberg Philanthropies, as part of a larger project to accelerate higher education’s leadership in cross-sector, place-based climate action.

“Local leaders are at the forefront of climate action because they see the vast benefits to their communities, from cutting energy bills to protecting public health,” said Antha Williams, head of environmental programs at Bloomberg Philanthropies. “It’s fantastic to see these forward-thinking colleges and universities advance their bold climate solutions, ensuring continued progress in our fight against the climate crisis.”

The institutions who were awarded funding are:

  • Agnes Scott College (Decatur, GA)
  • Bard College (Annandale-on-Hudson, NY)
  • California State University, Chico (Chico, CA)
  • Central Community College (Hastings, Columbus, Grand Island, NE)
  • Colgate University (Hamilton, NY)
  • Institute of American Indian Arts (Santa Fe, NM)
  • The University of Arizona (Tucson, AZ)
  • University at Albany - State University of New York (Albany, NY)
  • University of Pittsburgh (Pittsburgh, PA)
  • Wentworth Institute of Technology (Boston, MA)

In addition to the grant awardees, there were numerous colleges and universities who received honorable mentions:

  • Portland State University (Portland, OR)
  • Rutgers University (Camden, New Brunswick, NJ)
  • Tecnológico de Monterrey (Monterrey, Mexico)
  • University of Colorado at Boulder (Boulder, CO)
  • University of Massachusetts at Amherst (Amherst, MA)
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison (Madison, WI)

Colleges and universities who are Climate Leadership Network signatories and/or members of the University Climate Change Coalition (UC3) were eligible to apply for funding. Projects eligible for the funding included those that would use the funding for implementation, or to support climate action planning activities. A project also had to be able to advance cross-sector (campus and external stakeholders) climate action in some way.

Priority was given to schools that would foster long-term campus-community partnerships; have the potential to scale their work beyond the grant term (end of June 2021); climate action that would be inclusive for all segments of the population; and those that promoted equitable and just outcomes.

By the application deadline, Second Nature had received over 50 proposals. Not only were the proposed projects diverse, but so were the characteristics of the colleges and universities who applied, including but not limited to: public schools, private schools, community colleges, minority serving institutions, and schools of various sizes and locations - including from outside of the United States.

“We were positively overwhelmed and impressed with the quantity and quality of submitted proposals,” stated Tim Carter, President of Second Nature. “It emphasized that even in the midst of a global pandemic, the higher education sector not only understands how crucial it is to continue to accelerate climate action, but is committed to doing so. Congratulations to the institutions who were awarded funding for this round, and to all schools for submitting such incredible proposals.”