Holland and Hope College Awarded a Local Sustainability Matching Fund $65,000 Grant

Press release date: Mon May 12th, 2014

The City of Holland and Hope College have been awarded a Local Sustainability Matching Fund $65,000 Grant from the Funders’ Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities.  This grant is to help launch a Sustainability Institute in coordination with Hope College.  The Sustainability Institute will help provide education and outreach associated with the Holland Community Energy Plan and to achieve Holland and Hope College’s sustainability goals.


In November 2013, the Holland City Council approved a Community Energy Plan and launched seven (7) citizen-led Task Forces to help accomplish 40-year goals to:  1) Ensure economic competitiveness; 2) Provide reliable and affordable energy; and 3) Protect the environment.


Hope College was asked if they would host such an Institute. Dr. R. Richard Ray, provost at Hope, noted that the college values the opportunity to serve as a resource on behalf of the entire community by hosting the institute.  “Hope College is pleased to partner with the City of Holland and other community partners in establishing this sustainability institute,” Ray said.  We have long recognized and treasured the college's home in Holland. This institute provides yet another opportunity for us to leverage the substantial intellectual resources of our faculty, staff, and students for the benefit of a more sustainable community. We look forward to working with every citizen concerned with ensuring that the natural blessings of our community are preserved and enhanced for our children and their children down through the generations.”


The Community Foundation of Holland/Zeeland supported this project with a three-year grant of $25,000 each year ($75,000 over three years).  Mike Goorhouse, President/CEO of Community Foundation of Holland/Zeeland added “The Foundation is pleased to support this new Institute as it builds on our community’s efforts toward long-term sustainability.”


The Holland Board of Public Works (HBPW) and the City of Holland are budgeting $37,500 each over three years.  The Funders’ Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities is providing the final $65,000 needed.   Dave Koster, Holland Board of Public Works General Manager, also commented “The Institute builds a broader network of support for the sustainability initiatives the HBPW has underway, such as the Holland Energy Park and our award-winning water and energy conservation programs.”


Mayor Kurt Dykstra said “This outcome is the culmination of four to five years of work by the Holland Sustainability Committee.  The Funders’ Network grant award is excellent news for Holland as we work to institutionalize sound sustainability practices and improve our residents and commercial bottom lines and long-term environmental outlooks.”


These collective grants now make the Sustainability Institute in Holland possible.  The intent of the national Funders' Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities “Local Sustainability Matching Fund” program, is to catalyze partnerships between local governments and place-based foundations to advance community sustainability initiatives. The Surdna Foundation has invested in the Local  Sustainability Matching Fund since the first round. “It’s at the local level where sustainability initiatives have the greatest traction and where growth capital is most needed,” said Sharon Alpert, Senior Director of Programs and Strategy at the Surdna Foundation. “Local municipalities are leading the way in combining sustainability with practicality. By partnering with local philanthropy, they are taking a big concept—sustainability—and putting it to work in a way that benefits their community, their environment, and their bottom line. In this round, as in past rounds, a growing group of national and place-based funders is responding to this opportunity to take the work to scale.”


The Funders’ Network has been established for more than a decade as the “gateway” to foundation funding in the area of sustainability.  The Funders’ Network identified seven (7) sustainability priorities for funding, several of which could match Holland’s Community Energy Plan initiative:  climate adaptation, neighborhood sustainability, urban food systems, sustainability performance measurement, sustainable economic development, mobilizing resident/business sustainability actions, and recycling/waste prevention.


          The City of Holland was awarded this $65,000 to support the launch of a Community Energy Plan that will result in efficiency retrofits, energy audits, and building performance labeling in 400+ buildings, and use sustainability metrics to drive community participation in the energy program for up to 7,000+ buildings over the long term, as well as sustainability educational and research goals already existing in the Holland area.


         The Funders’ Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities awarded a total of  $531,250 to nine (9) communities:  Boston, Buffalo, Cleveland, San Diego, Indianapolis, Memphis, Providence, R.I., Salt Lake City and Holland, Michigan.


         Seven (7) investor funders make up the Local Sustainability Matching Fund (LSMF), the website said: Bloomberg Philanthropies, The JPB Foundation, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Kendeda Fund, The New York Community Trust, Summit Foundation and Surdna Foundation. To date, the LSMF has awarded $1,472,750 and funded 29 projects across North America.  The LSMF is a collaborative effort of the Funders’ Network and the Urban Sustainability Directors Network. The Local Sustainability Matching Fund is designed to catalyze partnerships between local governments and local, place-based foundations and to advance community based sustainability initiatives.


         These sustainability initiatives are in alignment with the City of Holland’s goals and are of interest to Hope College for research and campus goals, including working with the Education and Outreach Task Force of the Community Energy Plan, to develop Sustainability Institute steps to:


  1. Become a Sustainability Educator;
  2. Become a Research Center for Sustainability Best Practices; and
  3. Make a Difference:  Replicate and Grow Sustainability Success in the Region.


          Ryan Cotton, Holland City Manager added, “The purpose for a Holland/Hope College Sustainability Institute is to support growing community outreach efforts to encourage, engage, educate and drive sustainable culture, water and air quality, energy efficiency, land use, and environmental innovation in Holland, in the West Michigan region, and in the nation using a Sustainability Framework evaluation process and other best practices.”


         In related activity, the City and BPW expect to appoint a Holland Energy Manager by January 2015 who will work in partnership with institute.


For background information:
Hope College:
Dr. Richard Ray, Provost
DeWitt Center and Cultural Center
141 E. 12th St., Holland, MI  49422-9000
(O) 616-395-7785; ray@hope.edu; hope.edu


City of Holland:
Ryan Cotton, City Manager Holland City Hall
270 South River Avenue, Holland, MI  49423
(O) 616-355-1310; r.cotton@cityofholland.com; cityofholland.com


Holland Board of Public Works:
Dave G. Koster, General Manager
625 Hastings Avenue, Holland, MI 49423
(O) 616-355-1562; dkoster@hollandbpw.com; hollandbpw.com

Funders’ Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities:
Amy Rutledge, Communications Manager
(O) 305-667-6350 Ext.  204
amy@fundersnetwork.org; fundersnetwork.org


          To learn more about the Funders’ Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities, visit, or fundersnetwork.org/participate/green-building/local-sustainability-matching-fund.


          For more information about Holland’s efforts and ways you can get involved, please visit cityofholland.com and hollandbpw.com or contact City Manager Ryan Cotton at 616.355.1310.


About Hope College
          Hope College is a selective Christian liberal arts college located in Holland, Michigan. Its mission is to educate students for lives of leadership and service in a global society through academic and co-curricular programs of recognized excellence in the liberal arts and in the context of the historic Christian faith. For more information about Hope College, please visit hope.edu/about/


About the City of Holland
          The City of Holland, Michigan is a vibrant, world class community in a beautiful lakefront environment where people work together celebrate community and realize dreams.  Its mission is to provide quality municipal services defined with citizens through their participation and representation; the best conditions under which citizens live, work and play; compassionate leadership in meeting the needs and vision of our community; and a government that serves with honesty and integrity.


About the Holland Board of Public Works     
The Holland Board of Public Works (HBPW) is a community-owned enterprise providing electric generation and distribution, water, wastewater treatment and broadband utility services to nearly 28,000 business and residential customers in the Holland area. HBPW is committed to enhancing the economic and environmental vitality of the community, providing reliable services at the lowest rates achievable through innovation, efficiency and professional operations.


Ryan Cotton, City Manager, (616) 355-1310
Dr. Richard Ray, Hope College Provost, (616) 395-7785