New York State Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the State’s Department of Environmental Conservation today awarded WE ACT for Environmental Justice a $750,000 grant to develop an Urban Environmental Education Center in Northern Manhattan. The new facility will help WE ACT, a nonprofit dedicated to fighting for environmental justice, educate the next generation of environmental leaders to combat climate change and environmental health challenges issues that disproportionately impact low-income communities and communities of color.
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“We thank New York State Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the State’s Department of Environmental Conservation for this generous investment in strengthening the environmental knowledge and leadership of our community,” said Peggy Shepard, Co-Founder and Executive Director of WE ACT for Environmental Justice.
“This environmental education center is unique, in that most are located in rural areas whereas this will be one of the first situated in an urban environment,” added Shepard. “That is critical given that the impacts of climate change and other environmental challenges disproportionately affect urban communities – particularly low-income communities and communities of color.”
The center will be located at 459 West 140th Street in Harlem. WE ACT already owns the building, and is seeking additional funding for its development.
“We bought the brownstone from the City, and it needs considerable work for it to achieve our vision of an environmental education center that servers our Northern Manhattan community,” explained Cecil Corbin-Mark, WE ACT’ s Deputy Director and Director of Policy Initiatives. “This generous grant from the State enables us to move forward with our plans, and we will continue looking for additional sources of funding to see the project through to completion.”
Once completed, the Urban Environmental Education Center will provide environmental education programs and resources for the Northern Manhattan community. Building on the organization’s 30-year legacy of environmental justice leadership, it will serve as a nexus for urban environmental initiatives and a hub for community mobilization and knowledge-based action that addresses the needs of low-income communities and communities of color. It will also function as the headquarters for the environmental justice nonprofit, which currently employs a staff of 18, including its federal policy office in Washington, D.C.
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