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Program will provide over $82,000 in grants to 18 organizations in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania to support projects focused on sustainability and community improvement.

Burlington, MA – May 30, 2024 – FirstLight, a leading clean power producer, developer, and energy storage company, today announced the recipients of more than $82,000 in grant money, in the second year of the FirstLight Sustains program. The FirstLight Sustains competitive grant program selects innovative proposals that will improve the quality of life in the communities where FirstLight facilities are located in the United States in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania. The 18 grantees will implement activities and projects that meet the program’s goals for community building and/or climate action and education.

“We are thrilled to expand the FirstLight Sustains competitive grant program from 13 winners in our inaugural year to 18 recipients this year, and to provide an additional $30,000 for projects across Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania,” said Andy Brydges, Director of Community Relations for FirstLight. “We take great pride in being able to give back to organizations and entities that serve the very same communities that we live and work in, and that we are proud to serve. Our goal remains clear: to give back to the organizations that align with our mission to promote sustainability and community improvement. This year’s projects address food insecurity and waste, social support services, accessibility, education, public safety, and more.”

2024 FirstLight Sustains Grant Recipients – Overview & Projects

Connecticut:

  • Candlewood Lake Authority – The Candlewood Lake Authority focuses on preserving and protecting the largest lake in Connecticut. The grant from FirstLight Sustains will go toward the purchase of handheld communications radios for their Marine Patrol boats.
  • Danbury High School – Danbury High School will establish an aquaponic lab to support its aquatic and environmental science classes.
  • Harrybrooke Park – Located in New Milford, CT, Harrybrooke Park is a 48-acre non-profit park used for public recreational activities and events. The grant will help eliminate invasive species and repair streambanks after last year’s flooding in the Still River.
  • Horizon Wings – Horizon Wings is a non-profit wildlife rehabilitation center specializing in birds of prey, located in Ashford, CT. The grant will fund improvements to their aviary to provide a dryer and healthier environment for their educational ambassador birds and other birds in rehabilitation.
  • Housatonic Valley Association (HVA) – This grant will fund HVA’s Still River Watershed Connections program in Connecticut, which links young people to their home river and to conservation practitioners through ecological restoration projects.
  • Kent Volunteer Fire Department – The Kent Volunteer Fire Department will use these funds to purchase communication radios to support their rescue operations. 
  • Lake Zoar Authority (LZA) – LZA works to improve water quality and promote safe boating on Lake Zoar in the towns of Monroe, Newtown, Oxford, and Southbury. Funding will be used for improvements to support a program for boaters to borrow personal flotation devices.
  • LOF Adaptive Skiers – LOF Adaptive Skiers, located in Sandy Hook, CT, is a non-profit organization focused on improving the lives of people with disabilities. Equipment for Adaptive Water Ski clinics will be purchased with the grant money, along with improvements to the beach site.
  • New Milford Community Ambulance – New Milford Community Ambulance provides emergency medical services to the New Milford Community in Connecticut. Funding will help purchase a new stair chair for the safe evacuation of patients through stairways when elevators and lifts are not a safe method of transport.
  • Operation Fuel – Based out of Connecticut, Operation Fuel will utilize funding to implement a comprehensive fuel switch pilot program called Better Homes and Buildings Program (BHBP), which was launched in 2022. The project installs heat pumps in low- and moderate-income (LMI) households that have been weatherized in communities across Connecticut. 
  • Roxbury Land Trust – The Roxbury Land Trust in Connecticut helps preserve 3,800 acres of woodlands, waterways, and farms, which consists of hiking trails, beautiful views, and highlights of Roxbury’s history. The grant will support blazing a new hiking trail and creating an additional parking lot for the existing hiking trail network. 
  • Sandy Hook Elementary School – Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown will use the funding to develop a pilot program for recycling and composting food waste at the school.

Massachusetts:

  • Brick House – Brick House is a community resource center that supports teens and families in Montague and Gill. The funding will help stock a new, refrigerated food pantry that was recently repurposed from storage space.
  • Center for Human Development – The Center for Human Development (CHD) provides programs that support the welfare of people in need. The grant will support the launch of a Chronic Disease Self-Management Program (CDSMP) to help individuals with chronic conditions learn how to manage and improve their health.
  • Children’s Advocacy Center – The Children’s Advocacy Center strives to prevent and end child abuse in the communities they serve. The grant will support opening a second location within the campus of the Community Health Center in Orange, MA.
  • Friends of Franklin County Fairgrounds – The Friends of the Franklin County Fairgrounds supports the Franklin County Agricultural Society which manages the Franklin County Fairgrounds. The grant money will be used to plan, design, and construct a wheelchair-accessible performance viewing space at the Fairgrounds Grandstand. 
  • Friends of Great Falls Discovery Center – The Friends of the Great Falls Discovery Center is a volunteer group that provides financial and program support for the Great Falls Discovery Center. The grant will support the creation of an Armored Mudball Interpretive space to educate visitors about this unique local geologic feature.

Pennsylvania:

  • HAVIN – Helping All Victims in Need (HAVIN), located in Kittanning, PA, is a center that provides shelter and resources to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, along with their families. Funding will be utilized to raise awareness of HAVIN and the services they offer to prevent domestic and sexual abuse in the community. 

The FirstLight Sustains’ review and selection committee focuses on two areas: 1) Climate Action & Education focused grants that promote awareness of, appreciation for, or access to public conservation and sustainability efforts, and support the protection, restoration, and betterment of natural resources in our communities, and 2) Community Building grants that support efforts to enhance the communities in which we live and work through public safety improvements, public art projects, placemaking, and community led services.

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