The Sustainable Business Network of Greater Philadelphia (SBN) has received a two-year, $300,000 grant to support its Green Stormwater Infrastructure (GSI) Partners initiative.
Green stormwater isn’t the most sexy of initiatives, but it has the potential to save the city up to $8 billion with its Green City, Clean Waters plan, according to SBN’s Good Economy Challenge policy paper.
Green City, Clean Waters is the City of Philadelphia’s innovative plan to meet EPA Clean Water Act regulations with decentralized green stormwater infrastructure instead of the traditional – and far more expensive — centralized gray approach of larger pipes. Green City, Clean Waters brings many economic, environmental, and social benefits to the city, and has positioned Philadelphia as a national leader in urban stormwater management.
The grant will support the GSI partners initiative, a network of 60 local businesses from the local GSI industry focused on accelerating the growth of the region’s GSI industry and advancing innovation.
Additionally, the grant will support the advancement of SBN’s policy and advocacy efforts and the creation of a local procurement initiative, all designed to move the Philadelphia region towards a thriving, local and green economy.
SBN’s GSI Partners initiative has already:
- Created an engaged network of 60 businesses and other stakeholders committed to the growth of the local GSI industry;
- Built a powerful advocacy presence for the growth of the GSI industry and for advancement of Green City, Clean Waters;
- Provided over $70,000 in continuing education grants to 33 locally owned businesses to help advance their GSI portfolios ; and
- Played an important role in the 13.5 percent increase in total revenue for GSI business members from 2013 to 2014, leading to 40 new FTE jobs, and 25 PTE jobs.
Renewal funding from the Surdna Foundation will allow SBN to continue strengthening this unique network to further solidify Philadelphia as a national leader in urban stormwater management, via ongoing advocacy, financial support for professional development, and creating regular opportunities for industry stakeholders to innovate and collaborate together.
With grant funds from Surdna, SBN will hire a full-time Policy and Advocacy Manager, who will be the concerted effort to promote the region’s sustainable business community, and push through policy changes critical to creating a more local and sustainable economy in the new administration and beyond.
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Lastly, the grant will support SBN in connecting a broad base of locally-owned businesses to procurement opportunities with Philadelphia’s universities, hospitals, and other anchor institutions. The Office of the City Controller is pushing local institutions to increase their procurement activity with locally-owned businesses, and this funding will allow SBN to assist in moving this effort forward.
“We are very grateful to the Surdna Foundation for this grant.” said Jamie Gauthier, SBN’s Executive Director. “Not only is this renewed investment a vote of confidence for the work our team has done to build the local GSI industry, it will allow SBN to further build its strength and effectiveness in ways that will benefit both our local businesses and our region’s broader economy.”
Image via Alyn Divine for DeepRoot-30-
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