The Arbor Day Foundation announced today that Bank of America provided a $250,000 grant to support efforts to increase the number of trees planted in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods in four U.S. cities. This is the third grant Bank of America has provided to the Community Resiliency Grant program, totaling $750,000 since 2019. The program helps to drive more green infrastructure projects, expands tree equity, builds on sustainability efforts, and increases resiliency in urban communities most vulnerable to the effects of climate change.
These funds will support the following cities:
"Communities with barriers to basic resources – including trees and green space – are often those most deeply impacted by climate change and natural disasters," said Dan Lambe, president of the Arbor Day Foundation. "In partnership with Bank of America, we are thrilled to support local programs that will focus on building up communities' climate resilience through strategic tree planting and community engagement and education."
Tree canopies have been linked to many benefits like cooler cities, improved air and water quality, effective stormwater control, and better health outcomes. In addition, research has noted that urban trees also increase property values and reduce energy costs for homes. These benefits of urban tree canopy are vital for cities increasingly facing the impacts of climate change, including heatwaves, coastal flooding, extreme storms, and poor air quality.
The grant program enables the implementation of initiatives utilizing trees and other sustainable infrastructure to build community climate resilience in cities. Here are more details on how these four U.S. cities will use the grant funding for more sustainable communities:
Mesa, AZ: Access to trees is inequitable across the Phoenix metropolitan area, which has caused a lack of shade, sweltering environments, bad air quality, and some very desolate spaces. The Arizona Sustainability Alliance will enhance the Mesa, AZ community resilience through eight tree plantings at Title 1 schools, five critical public parks, and establish a large native plant nursery at an extremely high need high school.
Grand Rapids, MI: In partnership with the Mayor's Greening Initiative, the Friends of Grand Rapids Parks will enhance their community resilience by planting 1,500 neighborhood tree, address stormwater runoff mitigation, and improve greenspace and wildlife habitats. Over the next year, 10 planting events will take place in the Roosevelt Park and Black Hills neighborhoods.
Philadelphia, PA: Seeking to address urban heat island effects, The Riverfront North Partnership will set out to add new trees into strategic neighborhoods throughout Philadelphia. This project will consist of six volunteer tree plantings, two tree distribution events at local parks, a planting and distribution of 300 trees to the Holmesburg and Frankford neighborhoods, while engaging five community and civic groups.
Columbia, S.C.: Led by Keep The Midlands Beautiful, this project will focus on developing a new generation of youth environmental leaders who will engage in the sustainability of their community well after this grant awarding. The goals of the project include education outreach on environmental justice, volunteer engagement in beautification projects, multiple free educational workshops, and enrolling 20 youth in an instrumental tree stewardship internship program.
In 2019, Bank of America provided the first $250,000 grant for this program which helped support tree planting activities in Tucson, Arizona; Kansas City, Missouri; Providence, Rhode Island; and Norfolk, Virginia. Its second grant in 2020 supported St. Louis, Missouri; Durham, North Carolina; Cleveland, Ohio; and Nashville, Tennessee. In previous years, Bank of America employees also participated in volunteer activities in these communities with Arbor Day Foundation local partners, supporting tree plantings.
"Trees are a cost effective tool with multiple benefits, including carbon capture, reducing urban heat island effects, protecting against stormwater runoff and helping clean the air. said Rich Brown, Environmental Program Director, Bank of America. "It is critical that we bring the natural infrastructure of trees to socioeconomically disadvantaged communities that are adversely impacted by the effects of a changing climate. Arbor Day's program is an important step toward more sustainable and climate resilient cities."
Bank of America also supports the Arbor Day Foundation's Time for Trees™ initiative as a member of its Evergreen Alliance. This effort aims to plant 100 million trees and engage 5 million tree planters worldwide by 2022 – the 150th anniversary of Arbor Day. Last year, the Arbor Day Foundation recognized the bank with its Friend of the Forest Award, which recognizes companies and their leaders for their commitment to using trees and forests to achieve corporate sustainability goals and targets.
To learn more about the Arbor Day Foundation, visit www.arborday.org. To learn more about Bank of America's environmental efforts, visit www.bankofamerica.com/environment.
Founded in 1972, the Arbor Day Foundation has grown to become the largest nonprofit membership organization dedicated to planting trees, with more than one million members, supporters, and valued partners. Since 1972, more than 400 million Arbor Day Foundation trees have been planted in neighborhoods, communities, cities and forests throughout the world. Our vision is to help others understand and use trees as a solution to many of the global issues we face today, including air quality, water quality, climate change, deforestation, poverty and hunger.
As one of the world's largest operating conservation foundations, the Arbor Day Foundation, through its members, partners and programs, educates and engages stakeholders and communities across the globe to involve themselves in its mission of planting, nurturing and celebrating trees. More information is available at arborday.org.
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.
Vaidehi Desai, Arbor Day Foundation