Funds will support offshore wind education, workforce and economic development

January 11, 2024 – Fall River and New Bedford, MA – SouthCoast Wind today announced twelve awardees in the first round of grants from its SouthCoast Wind Fund, managed by the SouthCoast Community Foundation. The SouthCoast Wind Fund was established in 2021 as part of the company’s commitment for residents of the SouthCoast region to be able to take an active part in, and benefit from, the offshore wind industry. A major focus of the Fund is reaching environmental justice communities, those individuals and groups that have borne a disproportionate share of the negative environmental consequences resulting from industrial, governmental and commercial operations or policies and empowering them with meaningful opportunities to take part in and benefit from greener climate practices.

Francis Slingsby, CEO of SouthCoast Wind said of the grantees, “The quality of the programming on offer by these organizations is exceptional, and we are honored to help them support many diverse and underserved communities. These grants will provide economic opportunities to area youth as well as established members of the workforce.”

Dr. Melanie Edwards-Tavares, President and CEO of the SouthCoast Community Foundation said, “Our role as a community foundation is to connect donors with causes that will have a positive impact in the communities we serve. Following a rigorous grant evaluation process, we’re so pleased that the twelve organizations receiving funding this year will be bolstered in offering programs that educate and empower our residents to be a part of the emerging blue economy. We are particularly proud that several organizations are focusing their work on growing diversity in the industry.”

Four of the twelve grantees, which offer programs that focus on outreach to environmental justice and historically marginalized communities, were awarded nearly 65% of the $500,000 in available funds.

PACE (People Acting in Community Endeavors) of New Bedford, MA received $100,000 for its Reaching Employment Access by Discovering for Your Future (READY) program that will prepare members of environmental justice communities and low-wage earners for careers in the offshore wind industry. 

Pam Kuechler, Executive Director of PACE added, “Support of this program provides a tremendous boost to help us deliver training that will create opportunities for career pathways for members of our community who have not had a chance like this before. Offshore wind is providing us a once-in-a-generation chance to open doors to many who have been left behind. We are excited at the opportunity to assist New Bedford residents in becoming a part of the offshore wind supply chain!” 

Roots2Empower of Pawtucket, RI was awarded $75,000 for Powering Energy Justice, a holistic community outreach and public education program in Providence, Pawtucket, and Central Falls, Rhode Island and Somerset, Fall River, and New Bedford, Massachusetts that helps to create equitable access to careers in the offshore wind industry.

Tarshire Battle, Executive Director of Roots2Empower said, “Offshore wind energy is critically needed to decarbonize our economy and put an end to disproportionate health, environmental, and economic impacts that our low-income and communities of color too often face. Roots2Empower is excited to put this grant to work, bridging the power of offshore wind with the people power of our communities to co-create a clean energy economy that lifts all people, starting with those facing the steepest barriers.”

Browning the Green Space of Boston, MA was granted $75,000 for its Accelerating Contractors of Color for Sustainable Success program that includes a 10-week paid contractor boot camp for aspiring clean energy business owners and provides entrepreneurs of color with curated business coaching, access to capital, and connections to customers, clients, and potential partners.

The fourth highest award went to a joint project of the Greater New Bedford Vocational Technical High School and Cuttyhunk STEAM Academy of New Bedford, MA which received just over $73,000 for their Wind Energy Collaborative to implement a high school education program that includes learning through the exploration of wind energy using investigation, innovation, kinesthetic activities, and interaction with real-world experiences.

Additional awardees are:

  • Roger Williams University, of Bristol, RI, $30,000 for its KidWind Community Engagement Project.
  • Oliver Hazard Perry Rhode Island, of Newport, RI, $30,000 for its Maritime Operations and Engineering Voyage for High School Students.
  • Cape & Islands Self-Reliance, of Falmouth, MA, $25,000 for its KidWind Offshore Wind Academy at Massachusetts Maritime Academy, and day-long workshops at various locations across the Commonwealth’s Gateway Communities.
  • Bristol Community College, of Fall River, MA, $25,000 for its Wind Works for You Campaign/Phase II Expansion.
  • New Bedford Ocean Cluster, of New Bedford, MA, $25,000 for the Act Local Program. 
  • Entrepreneurship for All, of Fall River, MA, $25,000 for EforAll South Coast. 
  • Massachusetts Design Art Technology Institute, of New Bedford, MA, $12,000 for “The Art of Technology” free exhibition and education series.
  • Youth Opportunities Unlimited (Y.O.U.), of New Bedford, MA, $5,310 for Explorations into Wind.

The first round of grantmaking was highly competitive with more than 40 applications received. A committee from SouthCoast Wind and volunteer community members carefully reviewed the applications and made the final recommendations. Future grant award rounds will be announced later this year.

About SouthCoast Wind

SouthCoast Wind, a 50/50 joint venture of Shell New Energies US LLC and Ocean Winds North America, is developing an offshore wind lease area with the potential to supply 2,400 megawatts of clean energy to electricity customers in New England. SouthCoast Wind is committed to zero harm, innovation, and industry development, and investing in our local communities. For more information visit www.southcoastwind.com

About the South Coast Community Foundation

The SouthCoast Community Foundation is a nonprofit serving the communities of Southeastern Massachusetts through philanthropy. The Community Foundation’s mission is to mobilize philanthropy by matching donors and resources with community needs for the benefit of our region. Since 1995, the organization has distributed over $50 million from nearly 200 funds to humanitarian, educational, and cultural organizations in the region.

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