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Worcester Mass. Non-Profit Organization Awarded $100,000 Community Action for Renewed Environment Grant

Release Date: 10/24/2011
Contact Information: Paula Ballentine, (617) 918-1027

(Worcester, Mass. - Oct. 24, 2011) - With the help of a $100,000 grant from EPA, The Regional Environmental Council, Inc., of Worcester, Mass. will address local environmental issues, including implementing strategies for reducing exposures to local toxic pollutants.

The grant is part of EPA’s Community Action for a Renewed Environment (CARE) program. CARE is an initiative to help community groups identify and address the critical environmental health issues in a specific local area. The Regional Environmental Council, Inc. is one of ten community-based organizations to receive a $100,000 CARE grant for projects in low-income communities on environmental and public health issues. This grant marks the milestone of the 100th CARE grant to be given by EPA.

The organization’s project aims to build on its success with the Worcester Lead Action Collaborative, while bringing in additional partners and expanding their understanding of priority environmental concerns and needs in the area. They will examine all possible solutions for toxic reductions in the five lowest-income, highest-risk neighborhoods in the city of Worcester: Main South, Piedmont, Bell Hill, Oak Hill and Quinsigamond Village.

“This EPA funding will help reduce potential lead exposure in the Worcester community,” said Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA New England’s office. “Lead exposure in New England can be a serious public health concern because a large proportion of housing was built before 1978 when use of lead paint was banned.”

The project will explore threats from indoor and outdoor air pollutants, drinking water pollutants, soil pollutants, dilapidated housing, brownfields, and green space. The Worcester CARE project will utilize the CARE Roadmap process, maintain and engage new business partners, apply peer-to-peer learning tactics, and involve culturally diverse neighborhood leaders.

“We are grateful for the EPA support of this grassroots program,” said Joseph O’Brien, Mayor of Worcester. “This funding will help support the city’s efforts to help reduce lead exposure.”

"HUD congratulates the Regional Environmental Council of Worcester on achieving this grant and for their work to build healthy, sustainable communities," said Barbara Fields, HUD New England Regional Administrator.

"The Regional Environmental Council and the more than 30 organizations involved in the Worcester Lead Action Collaborative are tremendously excited to begin this partnership with the U.S. EPA.  This CARE grant will enable us to continue to combat childhood lead poisoning while expanding our efforts to address a wider range of environmental health threats in homes and neighborhoods, including asthma triggers and air and water borne toxics and particulates," said Steven Fischer, Executive Director of the Regional Environmental Council.

Financial assistance under the CARE grants program is available to all non-profit organizations designated by the IRS, federally-recognized Indian tribal government, Native American organizations, private non-profit institution/organization, quais-public non-profit institution/organization both interstate and intrastate, local government, colleges, and universities. The CARE program provides funding, information, training, technical support, and helps to build collaborative local partnerships, improved access to voluntary programs and address community environmental concerns.

Since 2005, CARE communities have leveraged EPA grant funding dollar-for-dollar with inkind donations to 87 communities in 40 states and territories. They have engaged 1, 700 partners, visited 4,000 homes, met with 2,800 businesses and worked with 6,000 youth. They are addressing EPA priorities and goals on climate change, improving air quality, assuring the safety of chemicals, cleaning up their communities, and protecting America’s waters.

More Information on the CARE grants: http://www.epa.gov/care/community.htm

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