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City announces incentives for sustainability

By Samantha Felix

The City of Bloomington’s Department of Economic and Sustainable Development has announced that it will accept applications for its Sustainability Partnership Grant

“The whole idea behind this competitive grant program is to support and increase efforts in the community to make Bloomington a more sustainable city,” Economic and Sustainable Development Director Danise Alano-Martin said.

The Sustainability Partnership Grant Program is intended to encourage collaborations that implement bold projects for increasing Bloomington’s sustainability, particularly those projects that engage populations that have little previous involvement in local sustainability efforts.

“It’s designed to build stronger collaborations among different segments of the community, uniting them under a common goal and common projects toward making Bloomington better,” Alano-Martin said.

Jacqui Bauer, the city’s sustainability coordinator, helped to craft the guidelines for the program after examining the obstacles that Bloomington businesses and nonprofits have when starting and implementing innovative sustainability programs or initiatives.

“We wanted to attract and support efforts that contribute to our city’s livability while also creating new economic opportunities,” Alano-Martin said.

Priority project areas include green building and energy efficiency, multi-modal transportation, waste reduction and recycling, and local food and urban gardening.

The city’s Department of Economic and Sustainability Development launched the program in August of 2011 and awarded $15,000 in grants to six projects in 2011 and 2012.

Cardboard Co-op, a consortium of downtown businesses, received a grant to facilitate pickup of recyclable cardboard from five to 10 downtown businesses. Pinnacle School received a grant to pay for new recycling bins and signage in the school.

The Project School received a grant to develop a new energy assessment program for its students. Middle Way House received funding to expand its rooftop garden and work with local youth to tend, harvest, and market its products.

Finally, WonderLab Museum of Science and Technology received funding to install solar lights for their solar garden while Metro Printing Services received funding for LED lighting for its facility.

The city’s Department of Economic & Sustainable Development recently received their second round of funding.

A total of $10,000 will be available. The maximum grant amount is $5,000. Both nonprofit and for-profit businesses in Bloomington are eligible.

The grants may be used to fund a variety of sustainability-related projects. Alano-Martin said the department encourages applicants to come up with their interesting and creative ideas in their applications.

“We hope to stir the creative juices in the community and encourage bold, innovative ideas or to adapt ideas that have been successful elsewhere to Bloomington in order to make our community more sustainable,” she said.

Alano-Martin also said that the department wants projects to be completed within six months of receiving the grant award.

Details of the program, including guidelines, applications, and deadlines, can be found at

Applications for the program should be submitted to by close of business on July 1.

“Bloomington is filled with passionate individuals who love their community enough to work hard to make it better,” she said. “I expect that we’ll have some creative and well thought-out entries.”

Samantha Felix

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