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Waverly Street Foundation Grant Will Support Community-Based Climate Solutions

February 14, 2023

This announcement was sent to students, faculty and staff from the Vice Provost and Executive Director of The Environmental Collaboratory on February 14, 2023. 

Dear Students and Colleague,

I am pleased to share that The Environmental Collaboratory has received a Climate Hubs Learning Partner grant from the Waverly Street Foundation to support its work in community-based climate solutions. Building on Drexel’s strengths, the $2 million grant will fund resources to bring together students, faculty, professional staff and external partners to pursue transdisciplinary, community-driven solutions to environmental problems.

As a Climate Hubs Learning Partner, The Environmental Collaboratory will be leading the development of effective models of partnership between universities and community-based organizations. The Waverly Street Foundation partners with organizations around the world to advance climate efforts grounded in the day-to-day lives of people and communities that build on foundations of equity and justice and respond to the growing challenges of those living on the frontlines of climate change.

Together, The Environmental Collaboratory and the Waverly Street Foundation have developed three initiatives in support of the Climate Hubs model:

  • Pennsylvania Climate Initiative
    The Collaboratory will work with municipalities and external partners, including NGOs and experienced practitioners, to establish a climate transition implementation program for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. With the Collaboratory serving as its academic and research arm, this initiative will identify climate implementation practices that can be adapted and implemented for the diversity of communities in Pennsylvania and can serve as models to be replicated throughout the country.
  • Transdisciplinary Research Grants
    The Collaboratory will administer grants across Drexel designed to support early stage and/or non-traditional sponsored research. The grants will support cross-disciplinary innovation and help the Collaboratory cultivate a cohort of faculty, students, professional staff and external partner investigators to affirm its commitment to generating knowledge that is implementable, repeatable and scalable.
  • Community-Based Experiential Learning Projects
    The Environmental Collaboratory will work with a cohort of community-based organizations to help develop a locally driven climate plan that will address long-standing issues of environmental justice and economic development. Drexel faculty and student researchers will work with community leaders and constituents to identify a set of priority issues, document research needs, build their networks and create an outreach plan aimed at policymakers and funders to inform future spending and policy development.

Recognizing the critical importance of measuring impact and evaluating degrees of success from diverse viewpoints, The Environmental Collaboratory has collaborated with Dr. Elizabeth McGhee Hassrick of the A.J. Drexel Autism Institute and Drs. Toni May and Kristin Koskey of the School of Education to develop a robust, grant-funded evaluation and assessment model to measure project and network-level impact. The Environmental Collaboratory will also be guided by an Advisory Council consisting of internal and external stakeholders, dedicated faculty advisors and the Student Leadership Council on Climate and Sustainability.

We will be convening students, faculty and researchers to share ideas on how best to solicit proposals for the transdisciplinary research grants to explore opportunities for Drexel to lead in climate and sustainability.

This grant from the Waverly Street Foundation affirms the vision of The Environmental Collaboratory to align the expertise of faculty, researchers and students with that of our community partners to develop locally driven, replicable and environmentally just climate solutions. We look forward to working with students across the University on these initiatives.

Sincerely,

Mathy Vathanaraj Stanislaus
Vice Provost
Executive Director of The Environmental Collaboratory