Skip to content

Burlington, MA – September 22, 2023 – FirstLight Power, a leading clean power producer, developer, and energy storage company, today announced the recipients of over $59,000 in grant money, in the first year of the FirstLight Sustains program. FirstLight Sustains is a competitive grant program to improve the quality of life in the communities where FirstLight facilities are located in the United States in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania. The thirteen grantees are implementing activities and projects that meet the goal of improving the quality of life in those communities.

“The goal of FirstLight Sustains is to give back to our home communities by empowering local organizations that support community building and sustainability in those areas,” said Andy Brydges, Director of Community Relations for FirstLight Power. “We were very pleased with the incredible response and the thoughtful grant proposals that we received in our first year of the FirstLight Sustains program. We are proud to support these organizations and these projects that will make a positive and immediate impact on our shared communities, something we value highly at FirstLight.”

FirstLight Sustains Grant Recipients – Overview & Projects:

  • Allegheny River Development Corporation (ARDC) – The locks and dams on the Allegheny River in Pennsylvania are crucial for navigation, recreation, flood control, hydroelectric power, and drinking water. The grant will support and advance ARDC’s efforts to fund lock operations on the waterway.
  • Christine’s Critters – Based in Connecticut, Christine’s Critters is a non-profit 501(c)(3) whose mission is to rescue, rehabilitate, and release as many injured birds of prey as possible. The grant money will be used to plan, design, and construct new hoods and carriers to transport their birds to educational programs. These hoods also serve as emergency housing for their ambassador birds in case of inclement weather, making them indispensable to the organization’s safe operation.
  • Candlewood Lake Authority – This grant will fund building material costs for an aquatic vegetation research pilot program on Candlewood Lake.
  • City of Danbury – The requested funding is for an extension to a boat dock on Candlewood Lake to accommodate Candlewood Lake Authority’s patrol boat at the City-owned dock where the City’s emergency response boat is also stationed.
  • Erving Public Library – The requested project funding will be used to care for and expand the Erving, Massachusetts public library’s native perennial “pollinator” garden, offer educational and recreational programming around pollinators and native plants, and support programming around invasive plant species on the forest edge.
  • 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 funds will be used to recruit and train new volunteers through a community-wide social media campaign for recruitment and certification training for the volunteer fire department in Kent, Connecticut.
  • New Milford Police Department – This is a Community Policing Project to encourage safe recreational activities such as boating, swimming, and hiking in FirstLight properties, access points, and adjacent recreational locations including Candlewood Lake and the Housatonic River Areas in Connecticut.
  • Nolumbeka Project – The Nolumbeka Project envisions a Connecticut River Valley where the histories, cultures, and persistence of Northeastern Indigenous Peoples are recognized and celebrated. The grant funding will support the annual Pocumtuck Homelands Festival: A Celebration of Native American Art, Music, and Culture, which takes place in an area that is historically and culturally significant to the Northeastern tribes.
  • Operation Fuel – Based out of Connecticut, Operation Fuel will utilize funding to implement a comprehensive fuel switch pilot program, 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. This funding expands on previous funding from FirstLight that supported similar environmental justice and green workforce development projects with Operation Fuel.
  • Sustainable Southbury – Sustainable Southbury is an environmental conservation group working to transform Southbury, Connecticut into a green sustainable community by driving local action. This grant will help reduce the amount of plastic that is being discarded into the region’s waste stream by raising awareness and educating residents and businesses about plastic alternatives.
  • Town of Gill – The grant will help support the replacement of the front steps of the Historical Commission’s entrance to the Riverside Municipal Building in Gill, Massachusetts, which will address safety concerns and enable the Commission to re-open their museum to the public after being closed since shortly before the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Youth Climate Action/Brick House – FirstLight Sustains funding will support Youth Climate Action/Brick House and the Town of Montague, Massachusetts on a collaboration to enhance three gardens previously created by Youth Climate Action of Franklin County in downtown Turners Falls through implementation of a maintenance program including weeding, mulching, and additional plantings.

The FirstLight Sustains’ review and selection committee focused on two areas when considering awarding grants this year: 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.

We welcome inquiries from the media, questions about our projects and recreation spaces, and gladly engage curiosity about our mission, vision, and more.

Contact us for media inquires and interview requests.