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Monday, March 3, 2014

Money available for Earth Day clean-up projects

Grant Applications Must be Submitted to DEM by March 14

PROVIDENCE - In celebration of Earth Day - April 22, 2014 - the Department of Environmental Management is partnering with the Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corporation to offer grants to organizers of local Earth Day 2014 cleanup projects. The goal of this grant program is to highlight Earth Day 2014 and the value of the environment, and recognize the importance of people improving the quality of life in their communities.

"These Earth Day grants will give a big boost to members of community groups throughout Rhode Island who are willing to roll up their sleeves and perform the labor needed to cleanup and beautify their neighborhoods," said DEM Director Janet Coit. "Improving the appearance of our local communities and our scenic and recreation areas benefits Rhode Island's quality of life and our state's business climate as well."

A total of $25,000 in grants will be awarded to Rhode Island organizations hosting volunteer Earth Day cleanup projects that will be completed between April 1 and May 17. Grants of $250 or $500 each will be provided for Earth Day-related outreach activities including local Earth Day celebrations that educate residents about environmental issues and attract volunteers to help cleanup. 

The grants, available to non-profit organizations and municipalities including schools, parks and recreation departments, public works departments, and conservation commissions, must be used for activities connected to a volunteer community cleanup initiative. 

Successful applicants will receive the grant money in advance of their event. Proof that the activity was carried out successfully and in accordance with the proposal must be submitted to DEM within one week of the event taking place.

Funds may be used for supplies such as paper bags and gloves and other eligible expenses such as hauling fees. The grant funds can be used to completely fund an event, or to fund a portion of a larger event. There is no match requirement. In lieu of monetary support, DEM and RIRRC also expect to provide some organizations with supplies such as paper bags and gloves. Additionally, RIRRC also offers tipping fee waivers to eligible cleanups who apply at

Funding for these grants is a result of a community service payment made by Southern Union pursuant to a court order dated November 12, 2013 as a penalty for a mercury spill at the Tidewater site in Pawtucket in 2004.

This is the first time DEM has provided Earth Day grants since 2011. In 2011, DEM awarded $37,500 in Earth Day grants to 59 organizations. Interest in the program in 2011 was tremendous, and the selection process was highly competitive. DEM expects a similar response in 2014.

Applications are available online on DEM's website,, by clicking on "2014 Earth Day Grant Application" under Timely Topics on the homepage. Applications can also be obtained by e-mailing Andrew Manca at

Applications must be received by DEM no later than Friday, March 14 and should be addressed to: RI DEM, Director's Office, Attention: Earth Day Grant Program, Andrew Manca, 235 Promenade Street, Providence, RI 02908. Applications may also be submitted in PDF format via e-mail to

Awards will be announced on the DEM website in late March, and successful applicants will be notified via email.