At a recent gubernatorial candidate forum I attended in Rhode Island, a Brown University professor presented on the challenges of climate change for the Ocean State. His last slide gave three examples of “win-win solutions.” At the top of the list was the Green & Healthy Homes Initiative (GHHI).
GHHI works to replace stand-alone housing intervention programs with an integrated, whole-house approach that produces sustainable energy efficient, healthy and safe homes. The Rhode Island Foundation helped to launch this effort in Providence in 2009, and we have been proud to support it ever since. As a result of the initiative, more than 135 low-income families live in safer, healthier, and more energy efficient homes.
In 2013, the Rhode Island Foundation was honored to be selected as one of ten recipients of the Department of Housing & Urban Development Secretary’s Award for Public-Philanthropic partnerships for our support of the GHHI work in Providence. The Secretary’s award underscores the significance of federal, state, community, and philanthropy partners working together to generate sustained and meaningful change. This national recognition raised visibility for this strategic and effective program and gave GHHI’s many partners an opportunity to celebrate our progress and successes.
The issues we are all working to address are complex and intertwined. And the responses too: Note a housing intervention held up as a win-win climate adaptation strategy. Partnerships are the key to success, and philanthropy’s ability to convene and catalyze is a powerful tool in this mix. The HUD Secretary’s recognition of philanthropy’s role and of this innovative project continues to be an honor and an inspiration.
This year HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan will be teaming up with Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilasck, making it the Secretaries’ Award for Public-Philanthropic Partnerships, in order to recognize more partnerships in rural areas. For more information on this year’s award please see the award brochure and application.
Jennifer Pereira is a Grant Programs Officer at the Rhode Island Foundation.