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Arbor Day Foundation and Bank of America Drive Local Climate Resiliency Initiatives

Community Resiliency Grant Program Promotes Equity and Sustainable Cities With Tree Planting in High-Need Urban Communities

Published 06-05-20

Submitted by Arbor Day Foundation

Bank of America is expanding its commitment to the Arbor Day Foundation through a second $250,000 grant to support efforts in four U.S. cities to increase the number of trees planted in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods. Cities will receive funding from the Community Resiliency Grant program and recipients include local nonprofit organizations and municipal agencies. This grant will support the following cities:

  • St. Louis, Mo.

  • Durham, N.C.

  • Cleveland, Ohio

  • Nashville, Tenn.

These programs will drive green infrastructure projects, expand tree equity, and increase resiliency in urban communities most vulnerable to the effects of climate change.

“Communities with barriers to resources – including trees and green space – are often those most highly impacted by climate change and natural disasters,” said Dan Lambe, president of the Arbor Day Foundation. “In partnership with Bank of America, we are proud to support local programs that will enhance those communities’ climate resilience through strategic tree planting and community engagement and education.”

Tree coverage has been linked to cooler cities, improved air and water quality, effective stormwater control, and better health outcomes. Research has noted that urban trees also increase property values and reduce residents’ energy costs. These benefits of urban tree canopy are vital for cities increasingly facing the impacts of climate change, including heat waves, coastal flooding, extreme storms, and poor air quality.

The grant program enables the implementation of initiatives utilizing trees and other green infrastructure to build community resilience in cities. Here are more details on how these four U.S. cities will use the grant funding for more sustainable communities:

  • St. Louis, MO: Since 2016, emerald ash borers have devastated St. Louis’ population of native ash trees. Forest ReLeaf aims to reforest the most impacted areas of the city, including the Boulevard Heights neighborhood, to maintain ecosystem benefits provided by the trees including stormwater mitigation, carbon sequestration, and reduction of heat island effects.

  • Durham, N.C.: Keep Durham Beautiful will focus on community tree planting events, environmental art and education, and community education to increase urban canopy in Durham’s Braggtown neighborhood. Trees will decrease the community’s exposure to extreme heat and climate stressors, as well as improve air quality, and absorb rainfall and polluted runoff.

  • Cleveland, OH: Cleveland’s Union Miles community faces poverty, unemployment, crime, and poor health outcomes. By engaging community volunteers to restore Union Miles’ depleted tree canopy, the Western Reserve Land Conservancy will work to reduce flooding and water pollution, reduce urban heat island effects, help residents save energy, and mitigate carbon and air pollution.

  • Nashville, TN: The Nashville Tree Foundation will plant trees at public schools, city parks, and residences in a high-need zip code. The grant will also support community education and engagement events focused on tree planting and maintenance for two years. Trees planted will help divert stormwater from the Cumberland River, restore communities following devastating tornadoes in 2020, and provide environmental science opportunities for students.

In 2019, Bank of America provided the first $250,000 grant for this program which helped support tree planting activities in Tucson, Arizona; Kansas City, Missouri; Providence, Rhode Island; and Norfolk, Virginia. At these events, Bank of America employees worked alongside other community members to support tree plantings and tree giveaways. 

“Trees are one of the most cost-effective investments we can make to help tackle climate change and improve community livability,” said Rich Brown, Environmental Program director at Bank of America. “This program addresses the critical need in underserved communities to increase tree canopies to support cooler urban areas and create more sustainable solutions for future generations.”

Bank of America also 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 5 million tree planters worldwide by 2022 – the 150th anniversary of Arbor Day. Recently, the Arbor Day Foundation recognized the bank with its Friend of the Forest Award, which recognizes companies and their leaders for their commitment to using trees and forests to achieve corporate sustainability goals and targets.

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 350 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.

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Arbor Day Foundation logo

Arbor Day Foundation

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 44 years, more than 250 million Arbor Day Foundation trees have been planted in neighborhoods, communities, cities and forests throughout the world.

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