Urban Tree Planting Efforts Help Four U.S. Cities Tackle Environmental Challenges
Lincoln, Nebraska-The Arbor Day Foundation today announced a $250,000 grant from Bank of America to expand the tree canopy in urban communities and strengthen neighborhoods against the impacts of a changing climate. The funding will support green infrastructure projects in four U.S. cities: Tucson, Arizona; Kansas City, Missouri; Pawtucket, Rhode Island; and Norfolk, Virginia. The Community Resiliency Grant program supported by Bank of America is working with local nonprofit organizations and municipal agencies in the grantee cities.
"Through our partnership with Bank of America, we're supporting cities as they adapt to a changing climate and other challenges," says Dan Lambe, president of the Arbor Day Foundation. "Low- and moderate-income (LMI) communities are often most vulnerable to natural disasters and other environmental impacts. That's why our new initiative, the Community Resiliency Grant program, puts the focus on them. We're grateful to Bank of America for making this important work possible and supporting this program."
Urban trees have numerous benefits, but the U.S. Forest Service has found that urban forests are shrinking in many U.S. cities. As the climate changes, the environmental impact of trees is particularly important. Cities increasingly face more frequent and intense environmental disturbances, including heat waves, coastal flooding, extreme storms and poor air quality. Urban trees can alleviate these challenges. Tree coverage has been linked to cooler cities, improved air and water quality, more effective storm water control, and better health outcomes. Research has shown that urban trees also increase property values and reduce energy costs.
The grant program enables the design and implementation of projects that utilize trees and other green infrastructure to build resilience in LMI neighborhoods in these four U.S. cities:
• In Tucson, Arizona, tree plantings and giveaways will help LMI residents cool their homes and reduce energy costs. The project will be coupled with the city's low-income rainwater harvesting grant and loan program. The program helps residents install rainwater harvesting equipment at their homes and addresses concerns about the cost of watering trees in Arizona's hot climate.
• In Kansas City, Missouri, tree planting, care and education events will not only bring urban trees to LMI neighborhoods to reduce the heat island effect, but also build a grassroots movement in support of the trees. The events will engage local residents and help to educate the community about the benefits of green infrastructure.
• In Pawtucket, Rhode Island, tree plantings around Roger Williams Park and in the surrounding LMI areas will improve storm water management. Water pollution and flooding due to storm water are significant challenges in the region, and the new trees will better protect the area against these impacts.
• In Norfolk, Virginia, three tree planting projects will deliver unique benefits for their sites. At a local elementary school, fruit trees, shrubs and pollinator plants will expand outdoor classroom opportunities. At Poplar Hall Park, an urban forest will provide a buffer from an adjacent highway. At Sarah Constant Beach Park, trees will stabilize an ecologically sensitive dune system.
Through the bank's volunteer program, employees can participate in tree plantings and tree giveaways in these cities.
"By partnering with the Arbor Day Foundation -- and with the help of our local Bank of America teammates -- we're working to share the many benefits of urban trees with more communities, especially low- and moderate-income areas," says Rich Brown, Environmental Program director at Bank of America. "As a company, we're committed to helping cities build resilience to current challenges and plant the seeds for future growth and prosperity."
In addition to the grant, Bank of America 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 five million tree planters worldwide by 2022 -- the 150th anniversary of Arbor Day.
The work with the Arbor Day Foundation is part of Bank of America's broader commitment to environmental sustainability. Through the bank's environmental operations goals, the company has committed to carbon neutrality and purchasing 100 percent renewable electricity by 2020. Bank of America has also deployed more than $126 billion over the past 12 years in support of environmental business efforts, and it recently announced it will mobilize an additional $300 billion in capital starting in 2020 to support more sustainable business activities. This is its third environmental business goal as part of its broader Environmental Business Initiative. The bank will meet its current goal of $125 billion by the end of 2019, six years ahead of schedule.
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.
Arbor Day Foundation
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. During the last 45 years, more than 300 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.
Bank of America
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. Learn more at about.bankofamerica.com, and connect with us on Twitter (@BofA_News).