FirstLight Sustains supports projects that promote community building and sustainability in communities across Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania
Burlington, MA – February 1, 2024 – FirstLight, a leading clean power producer, developer, and energy storage company, today announced the second year of FirstLight Sustains, a competitive grant program aimed at improving the quality of life in the communities where FirstLight facilities are located in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania. The fund will support and empower local organizations that promote community building and sustainability in the regions they serve. Last year, FirstLight awarded $59,500 to 13 organizations. This year, FirstLight is excited to extend the grant program’s impact by encouraging new applicants.
FirstLight Sustains builds on the company’s long-standing legacy of giving to organizations and activities that support the communities around its facilities. The grant program provides an equitable process whereby qualified, reputable, and capable organizations can apply for and receive funding for activities and projects that meet the goal of improving the quality of life in those communities. The program will focus on two areas of giving: 1) Climate Action & Education and 2) Community Building.
“Through the FirstLight Sustains program, we are thrilled to support unique and important initiatives of local organizations and municipalities – from fire departments to libraries to non-profits promoting animal rehabilitation,” said Andy Brydges, Director of Community Relations for FirstLight. “FirstLight is committed to making a positive impact on the communities in which we operate and live, and we are proud of our long track record of charitable giving. At the same time, our team is always looking for new ways to contribute, so we welcome new applications for impactful initiatives.”
Last year’s grantees included the Nolumbeka Project to support the annual Pocumtuck Homelands Festival, and the Town of Gill, which will use the funding to replace the front steps of the Historical Commission’s entrance to the Riverside Municipal Building in town. The Youth Climate Action/Brick House was awarded grant funding to work collaboratively with the town of Montague to enhance a garden used by the community, and Erving Public Library is using the FirstLight Sustains grant to expand a native perennial “pollinator” garden behind the building.
“Our pollinator garden brings the community together for an enriching outdoor and educational activity highlighting the importance of native plants as an ecological system for pollinators. The FirstLight Sustains grant allows us to enhance the native perennial pollinator garden and make it more accessible,” said Abby Baines, Director of the Erving Public Library. “We also partnered with FirstLight to present a speaker series on Forest Health. We appreciate their support of community education on important issues of invasive species and climate change.”
In Connecticut, grant funds went to Christine’s Critters, who designed and constructed new hoods and carriers for birds of prey, Sustainable Southbury to reduce the amount of plastic that is being discarded into the region’s waste stream, and Operation Fuel to support its comprehensive fuel switch pilot program. Additional grants were given to the Kent Fire Department to recruit and retain firefighters through a social media campaign and to the New Milford Police Department to encourage safe recreational activities such as boating, swimming, and hiking near local waterways. Funding was provided to the City of Danbury for an extension to a boat dock on Candlewood Lake to accommodate Candlewood Lake Authority’s patrol boat and to the Candlewood Lake Authority to secure building materials for an aquatic vegetation research pilot program on Candlewood Lake. Finally, grants from FirstLight Sustains supported the Housatonic Valley Association’s Still River Watershed Connections program, which successfully connects Danbury youth to important environmental projects in the area, furthering their education and appreciation for our planet.
“We are so grateful for the grant we received from the FirstLight Sustains program to advance our Watershed Connections program, which supports youth education and career development in the sciences,” said Mike Jastremski, Conservation Director of the Housatonic Valley Association (HVA). “Giving these local youth an opportunity to get outside and build a sense of community and appreciation for their home river is extremely important to us. This program and their efforts will help the wildlife habitat on Still River, which in turn contributes to the improvement of our environment.”
In Pennsylvania, the program is open to municipalities and eligible non-profit organizations in Armstrong County, where FirstLight’s facilities are located. Last year, a grant was awarded to the Allegheny River Development Corporation in Natrona Heights.
“The FirstLight Sustains grant helped maintain lock operations on the Allegheny River during recreation season,” said Tracy Fleeger, Treasurer of the Allegheny River Development Corporation. “We appreciate FirstLight’s support in helping us promote access to this natural resource, and support the economic health and well-being of tourism in Western Pennsylvania.”
The program is open to the municipalities where FirstLight’s facilities are located, as well as eligible non-profit organizations that serve those towns. Community Building grants support efforts to enhance the communities in which people live and work through public art, placemaking, community services, and public safety. Climate Action & Education grants promote awareness of, appreciation for, or access to public conservation and sustainability efforts within our region, as well as protection, improvement, or restoration of natural resources.
The FirstLight Sustains program will award individual grants of up to $5,000. Grants that fulfill requirements for, or are eligible for, matching funds are encouraged. Additional support in the form of materials and sponsorships may be made at the discretion of FirstLight. The 2024 FirstLight Sustains grant cycle will open on February 1, 2024, and close on April 1, 2024. All applications must be submitted electronically or postmarked by April 1, 2024, for consideration in this fiscal year. Award recipients will be announced in May 2024.
Grant application forms and additional information may be obtained by visiting: https://firstlight.energy/purpose/firstlight-sustains/
For questions regarding eligibility or the application process, please contact Andy.Brydges@firstlight.energy.
FirstLight is a leading clean power producer, developer, and energy storage company serving North America. With a diversified portfolio that includes over 1,650 MW of operating renewable energy and energy storage technologies and a development pipeline with 2,000+ MW of solar, battery, hydro, and offshore wind projects, FirstLight specializes in hybrid solutions that pair hydroelectric, pumped-hydro storage, utility-scale solar, large-scale battery, and wind assets. The company’s mission is to accelerate the decarbonization of the electric grid by supporting the development, operation, and integration of renewable energy and storage to meet the world’s growing clean energy needs and deliver an electric system that is clean, reliable, affordable, and equitable. Based in Burlington, MA, with operating offices in Northfield, MA, New Milford, CT, and Oshawa, ON, FirstLight is a steward of more than 14,000 acres and hundreds of miles of shoreline along some of the most beautiful rivers and lakes in North America. FirstLight has been wholly owned by PSP Investments since 2016. To learn more, visit www.firstlight.energy or follow us on LinkedIn or Twitter.