Sign Up Now for Grant Writing 101!

Part of an environmental nonprofit organization, and interested in developing your professional grant writing skills?

On August 30th and 31st, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Center for Faith-Based Neighborhood Partnerships is partnering with the Hartford, Connecticut, Field Office & Promise Zone to host 2 grant writing training sessions. The first is geared toward more basic level grant writing, and the second will be more advanced.

Grant writing is a very valuable and useful skill set. “Key Facts on U.S. Foundations” by the Foundation Center states that $54.7 billion was donated to nonprofits by over 86,000 private, corporate, and community foundations in 2013! This is an increase of more that 80% over the decade preceding it. A HUD professional trainer will teach strategies to enhance community and organizational development, as well as the art of successful capacity building for your organization. Topics include: Strategies for a Winning Proposal /Organizational Development; Strategic Planning for Advanced Organizations; Budgeting/Financial Management; Elements of Successful Proposal/Finding Grants; Packaging & Submitting Your Proposal; Dispelling Myths & Building Relationships; Writing Your Proposal from the Funders’ Perspective; Knowing Your Funder; Logic Model; and Knowledge of Top Funders.

The two sessions will take place on August 30th and August 31st, from 10:00am to 4:30 pm at the Lyceum Conference Center – 227 Lawrence Street in Hartford. Register for the sessions separately; you can do so here and here.

For questions, contact Suzanne Piacentini via email at










Some August Environment Events in Hartford

We realize that can’t keep up with all of Hartford’s environment-focused events, including all of the regularly scheduled park concerts, farmers’ markets, and street fairs that take advantage of summer! But here are a handful in the second half of the month for you to consider attending:

  • August 1, 8, 15, 22, 29: Get your grocery shopping done at the West End Farmers Market on Clemens Green (385 Farmington Avenue) every Tuesday, 4-7 pm. 
  • August 8: West End Farmers Market Community organizer Chris Pressley will give a talk at 7 pm titled “Why Growing Your Own Food is a Revolutionary Act: A Primer for the Hartford Backyard Gardeners Club.” Start mingling at 6 (or before), This Green Drinks is alcohol-free due to the nature of the venue. No need to register; just show up! Free.
  • August 9, 16, 23, 30:  Riverfront Recapture partnered with Hartford Sweat to bring free yoga to the riverfront! Yoga will be taking place every Wednesday night this month.  Stretch and strengthen your body and mind in this class designed to link movement with breath, allowing you to unwind and connect.
  • August 10: From 5-8 p.m, the KNOW GOOD Market, featuring some local products and food trucks, pops up at 30 Bartholomew Avenue. 
  • August 18: EnergizeCT Family Water Energy Activity: Discover how water travels through our natural habitats and water’s energy through fun, hands-on activities. Light refreshments will be served. Will take place from 2-4pm in the Energize Connecticut Center.
  • August 19:  From 10:00 a.m.-3 p.m., the Environmental Justice/Health Equity Forum takes place in Whitneyville Cultural Commons in Hamden, CT.
  • August 30: HYPE Terrarium Night with KNOX: Registration closes on August 28th for this, so don’t wait until the last minute! They say: “Get close to nature with our Social Events Committee and a night in the KNOX Inc. greenhouse! This workshop will provide you with everything you need to build your own terrarium including a glass container, soil, and a variety of different succulent plants. This takes place at KNOX (75 Laurel Street) in the greenhouse. $30 general; $20 for HYPE members.
  • Looking Toward September:  Applications are now being received for the 2017 Yale Sustainability Leadership Forum, which will take place on September 13-15 at Yale University. This intensive three-day program takes a broad-gauge look at sustainability as a megatrend of the 21st century. The Forum will cover a range of cutting-edge issues related to sustainability including climate change, carbon pricing, emerging sustainability science, corporate sustainability strategies, sustainability metrics, ESG (Environment/Social/Governance) investing, new trends in land conservation, and industrial ecology. Taught in highly interactive modules by top Yale faculty members and leading practitioners, participants can expect to have exposure to a wide spectrum of views and to engage in lively conversations with others from across the public and private sectors, including government officials, business leaders, teachers, communications professionals, and policy experts.

All Aboard! High Speed Rail for Hartford?

It’s about time the U.S caught up with public transportation savvy countries like China and Spain. Not only is public transportation beneficial to the environment (because it reduces the amount of greenhouse gas emissions from fossil-fuel-guzzling cars), but it is also more efficient in terms of both our time and money.

In response to public demand to expand capacity and lessen rail travel times, Amtrak has developed a vision for Next Generation High-Speed Rail service on the Northeast Corridor, called NEC Future. The Federal Rail Administration, which would oversee the development of NEC Future, has just released a Record of Decision, which describes the environmental impacts of the “selected alternative.” The FRA’s selected alternative will improve service and add tracks on the shoreline but leaves the exact route through Hartford up for grabs.

Overall, high speed rail is good for Hartford’s economic development, expanding access to a larger and more diverse workforce and providing more opportunities to our labor force. The introduction of high-speed rail service to Hartford would provide travel times to New York City that are comparable to what Stamford currently enjoys, with 1-hour access to downtown Boston. The population and jobs within 90 minutes’ travel of downtown Hartford would be 4 to 5 times higher with Next-Gen High-speed Rail, compared to the present transportation network.

Beyond Hartford, the planned commuter rail system along the New Haven-Hartford-Springfield route would give West Hartford, Newington, Berlin and other towns the chance to become more viable, sustainable and livable communities. So let’s all get to work and find ways to speed up and support the development of Amtrak’s vision for a new high-speed railway.

Hartford Green & Complete Streets Report Released by EPA

Interested in the steps that Hartford is taking towards achieving Green and Complete Streets? Then read this report recently released by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) about Hartford’s issues, strengths, challenges, and opportunities.

The report resulted from an award the City of Hartford received through the EPA’s Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities program. That program was created in 2011 in response to communities around the country asking for help in achieving their desired development goals, improve their quality of life, and become more economically and environmentally sustainable.

In this program, the EPA selects certain communities annually to receive assistance from among five different categories, including (but not limited to) Creating Equitable Development, Sustainable Strategies for Small Cities, and Green and Complete Streets – which is the one Hartford applied for and received. The Green and Complete Streets toolkit, which included a workshop facilitated by a team from the EPA, helps communities develop strategies for greening their streets based on national models and case studies. During Hartford’s workshop in May, a group of key stakeholders representing multiple initiatives and departments that influence the city-wide implementation of Green and Complete Streets convened to identify community issues, strengths, challenges, and opportunities. This report draws from that meeting and other information provided to the EPA team, and will help Hartford grow, develop and strengthen its approaches towards establishing more sustainable streets.

Meet the Sustainability Office team, who will be working to implement these suggestions, here.

Hartford Ranked a Top Complete Street Community!

In the 2016 Complete Streets Policy ranking conducted by Smart Growth America, Hartford was among the top 23% of communities that received a score of 90 (out of 100) or higher. (Scoring metrics here.) Congrats to all who were involved in ensuring the safety of all in Hartford.

If you don’t know what Complete Streets are, they are streets designed and operated to enable safe access for all users, including pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists, and transit riders of all ages and abilities. Complete Streets make it easy and safer to cross the street, walk to shops, and bicycle to work. They allow buses to run on time and make it safe for people to walk to and from train stations. (See

In 2016, Mayor Bronin worked with members of the Court of Common Council, as well as the Complete Streets Task Force to pass the Complete Streets Ordinance. The Climate Stewardship Council formally endorsed this effort. The ordinance requires city departments to make design and maintenance decisions in accordance with the Complete Streets principles, develop a Complete Streets Plan, and better coordinate with utility companies and others who do work on city streets.

“This ordinance positions Hartford as a leader in its efforts to create a healthier, more walkable city in which to live, work, and play,” said Mayor Bronin. “I’m grateful to the members of the Complete Streets Working Group, who worked for many months to design a thoughtful and progressive set of policies, and grateful also to the City Council for their partnership in this effort. We want Hartford’s streets to be safe and accessible for all users, whether they’re in a car, on a bike, or on foot.”

[Photo courtesy BiCi Co.]

Blue Earth Open House 8/4!

We are excited to announce that one of our Climate Stewardship Initiative partners, Blue Earth Compost, will be moving its operations and office into the city of Hartford. It will now be located at the former Fuller Brush Factory at 3580 Main Street in the North End.

On August 4th, Blue Earth Compost will be having an open house to thank all of their supporters and to celebrate their growth. Their entire team will be there to show what they do as well as discuss their future plans and prospects. Light refreshments and drinks will be served.

Where: 3580 Main Street Building 10

When: August 4th 5-7 pm

Please RSVP to sam@blueearthcompost by August 3rd if you plan on attending.

CT Green Bank Wins National Award

Congratulations to the Connecticut Green Bank, a participant in the Climate Stewardship Council, for being the Harvard Kennedy School’s Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation winner of the Innovations in American Government Award for 2017. Tomorrow, July 27th from 3-5 p.m., there will be a ceremony at the Old State House (800 Main St, Hartford) to celebrate this achievement. Light refreshments will be served.

Continue reading “CT Green Bank Wins National Award”

“Ban the Bag” Campaign Launches

Tired of seeing so many plastic bags on our streets and in our parks (including Lozada Park, shown above)? Ready to learn how we might help stop that trash from happening in the first place? Following discussions at the Climate Stewardship Council which started in February, a few local advocates have launched a Ban the Bag campaign.

This group of advocates is holding an event tonight, July 18th. They will discuss why it is important to ban plastic bags, how other cities have done so successfully, and how it might happen in Hartford.

At a recent City Council meeting, the Council voted to ask the Climate Stewardship Council to continue its efforts to study a plastic bag ban. While the Council has not yet taken a formal position on a ban, we do note that plastic bags pollute our land and water. They litter our landscapes, float around in waterways, and can eventually make their way into the world’s oceans. Click here if you’re interested in learning more, volunteering, or signing a petition.