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For Immediate Release
ComEd Media Relations
Local residents have until May 15 to apply for stipends available from Equiticity through ComEd's Climate-Friendly Nonprofit Grant program
CHICAGO (May 2, 2023) – Approximately 250 residents of Chicago's North Lawndale neighborhood are in line to receive help with the purchase and maintenance of cleaner modes of transportation. The support comes courtesy of a one-time $450,000 grant made available through ComEd's Climate-Friendly Nonprofit Grant program to Equiticity, a Chicago-based racial equity movement that works to improve the lives of Black, Brown and Indigenous people across the U.S.
Equiticity is one of three nonprofit organizations that each recently received a grant of nearly $450,000 through ComEd's climate-friendly program. The program is designed to expand and improve access to programs that support under-resourced neighborhoods across northern Illinois. Reports show these neighborhoods are disproportionally impacted by climate change and its residents more exposed to harmful air pollution.
"As ComEd prepares for a low-carbon future, it's important that families across the entire economic spectrum have equal access to climate-friendly programs that will help improve their quality of life," said Melissa Washington, senior vice president of customer operations and chief customer officer, ComEd. "I'm proud of the way our three grantees have found creative ways to lift up families and businesses in under-resourced communities."
With its grant from ComEd, Equiticity established the Mobility Opportunities Fund, a first-of-its kind program that provides education and stipends to help low-and moderate income residents of Chicago's North Lawndale neighborhood purchase climate-friendly transportation, including conventional bicycles, electric bikes, electric cargo bikes and electric vehicles.
Individual stipends of $350 are available for a conventional bike, $1,100 for an e-bike, $1,500 for an electric cargo bike and $3,500 for an electric vehicle. Recipients of stipends for electric modes of transportation also receive training on mechanics and safety. To date, Equiticity has allocated stipends for more than 100 bikes, 75 e-bikes, 50 e-cargo bikes and 25 electric vehicles. Eligible North Lawndale residents can access and submit an application for stipends through Monday, May 15.
"Transportation is central to improved life outcomes across health, education, economics, safety, socialization, and civic engagement. It is a critically important factor in economic mobility," said Olatunji Oboi Reed, President & CEO of Equiticity. "Seeing this ambitious vision come to life in the North Lawndale neighborhood is historic and serves an unmet need at this time. We are honored to be leading this groundbreaking work in a historically disinvested community on the West side of Chicago."
To create awareness of the stipends and assist residents with the application process, Equiticity has so far held four application events across North Lawndale. The organization also provides no- to low-cost repair services for bikes and e-bikes. Equiticity trains students who are part of its education programs to perform these services.
Other progress to date
Entering the mid-point of ComEd's year-long Climate Friendly Nonprofit Grant Program, two other area nonprofits are making progress on their efforts to increase access to solar energy and energy-efficiency programs.
Community Investment Corporation (CIC): With its $450,000 grant, CIC identified 17 multi-family buildings within Chicago's South Shore neighborhood as prospective recipients of climate-friendly, energy-efficiency upgrades. CIC is now in the process of evaluating ways to implement these upgrades to help make housing units more eco-friendly, while improving the quality of life for the low- and moderate-income tenants living in these buildings.
"This grant is integral to CIC's approach to investing in low-to moderate income communities," said Stacie Young, President and CEO of CIC. "The small, local and minority multifamily building owners and tenants in LMI communities have the most to gain from climate friendly programs; however, they are often the hardest to reach. These funds are helping building owners invest in the climate and economic resilience of Chicago neighborhoods."
Proviso Leyden Council for Community Action (PLCCA): To help families and businesses located in low- and moderate-income (LMI) communities lower and manage electric bills, Proviso Leyden Council for Community Action (PLCCA) used its $450,000 grant to launch the Solar, Jobs and Justice program. The program partners with local nonprofit organizations to identify, hire and train individuals from LMI communities to educate families and businesses on the benefits of – and help connect them to – solar energy and electric vehicle options. The transition can help decarbonize neighborhoods that tend to be the most impacted by high concentrations of air pollutants and other environmental concerns.
PLCCA also developed proposals to help families and businesses with the installation of individual solar energy systems, sign up with a community solar system, install EV charging equipment, as well as identify funding sources to support access to both solar and EV efforts. In the program's first five months, 26 individuals generated over 650 potential solar and energy-efficiency proposals in LMI communities.
"We are pleased with the success that our partnership with ComEd has thus far achieved in our community," said Bishop Dr. Claude Porter, PLCCA president and CEO. "Not only have we created good-paying jobs and career opportunities in the growing field of renewable energy, but we have begun to educate families and businesses about the environmental benefits of carbon-free energy. We are very excited about the interest and positive responses we have received."
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