The Port of Long Beach Community Grants Program, a more than $46 million initiative addressing pollution connected to goods movement, has been honored with awards from Los Angeles County and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Both awards — the Los Angeles County Green Leadership Award and the EPA Clean Air Excellence Award in the Gregg Cooke Visionary Award category — recognize innovation in improving sustainability and improving air quality.
“When we created the Community Grants Program, we wanted to demonstrate our commitment to helping those who are the most vulnerable to pollution,” said Long Beach Harbor Commission President Frank Colonna. “It’s great to receive this recognition because it means those efforts are helping people in meaningful ways.”
“I’d like to thank Los Angeles County and the EPA for these awards, but also our grants team for administering this program,” said Port of Long Beach Executive Director Mario Cordero. “They work year-round to determine where this funding will be the most effective and ensure it gets to organizations that will use it effectively.”
The Community Grants Program is designed to help those most affected by port operations: children, pregnant women, the elderly, the chronically ill and individuals with respiratory and/or cardiopulmonary disorders and illnesses. Grants fund community-based projects capable of directly reducing air and water pollution, traffic, and noise. An integral feature of the program is extensive public outreach to solicit input on projects most important to the community, and vetting funding priorities and awards through a five-member Advisory Committee appointed by the Mayor of Long Beach.
“Advisory Committee members are thrilled to see the Port receiving recognition for this program,” said Advisory Committee Chair Gary DeLong. “These grants have an enormously positive impact on the health of our community and the environment, and we’re proud to be part of the process.”
In addition to DeLong, the members of the Committee include educator Sabrina Sanders, former Long Beach City College Trustee Irma Archuleta, community organizer Kathleen Irvine, and political consultant Joanne Davis.
Combined with the previous, successful Mitigation Grants Program started in 2009, the Port of Long Beach has set aside more than $65 million, making it the largest voluntary port mitigation initiative in the country. To date, $27.5 million has been distributed.