In 2002, The Home Depot created The Home Depot Foundation which supports non-profit organizations that are “dedicated to creating and preserving healthy and affordable homes as the cornerstone of sustainable communities.” Since its formation, the foundation has granted a whopping $190 million to nonprofit organizations and has supported the development of more than 95,000 homes, planted more than 1.2 million trees, and built or refurbished more than 1,875 playgrounds, parks and greenspaces.
Under The Home Depot Foundation umbrella, the Sustainable Cities Institute (SCI) was formed in 2009, which is working with cities across the country to assist in the planning and implementation of local sustainability strategies.
Back in November it was announced that the first two pilot cities have been selected to participate in its new city program. Through the program Charleston, SC and Fayetteville, AR will participate in a three-year, $1 million initiative to implement sustainable practices on a local level. Specific and measurable sustainability goals have been put into place for each city.
Both cities were required to have a sustainability plan and were also asked to propose a project that directly connected the objectives and goals set forth in their sustainability plan. In addition to the funding, the Home Depot Foundation also provides a local coordinator to help bridge the capacity building gap. In return, both cities were asked to track their progress through the SCI website so that the public can view the challenges and successes of the program.
Last month, both Charleston and Fayetteville blogged about the experience thus far and both have goals of being a model program to a sustainable city. We look forward to reading more about these pilot programs through the next few years, and how The Home Depot Foundation is assisting in smart growth and sustainable programs to hopefully become a national model for all cities.
Kara is 3p's writer from New England. In her Newport, RI community, Kara is the organizer of Green Drinks Newport, is a member of Newport's Energy & Environment Commission, is a volunteer for the Neighborhood Energy Challenge, Norman Bird Sanctuary, and has also volunteered as a panelist for Rhode Island Farmways, speaking to farmers from around the state about how they can better market and promote their businesses. Beyond the moat that surrounds her island home, Kara has backpacked Mt. Washington in New Hampshire too many times to count and she hopes her next adventure will be to ski the gnarly Tuckerman's Ravine. Kara is a member of the Appalachian Mountain Club, a graduate of the Colorado Outward Bound School and in real life, she is a public relations director who'd just plain like to see the world a greener place. Kara has been writing for TreeHugger.com since January 2005 and began writing for 3p in January 2010.