It might be difficult to launch a new environmental nonprofit or increase the effect of an existing one. Finesse and a wealth of experience are required when raising funds, setting up committees, and getting past bureaucracy.
This is exactly what the New England Grassroots Environment Fund in Newmarket, New Hampshire offers, not only to towns in the Granite State but also to others throughout the region.
NHPR honors modest but mighty NGOs carrying out commendable deeds in New Hampshire communities as part of our Give Back NH series. The grassroots fund's directors, Sarah Huang, and Bart Westdijk, as well as Tess Beem, the organization's program manager, were interviewed. The text of their talk is provided below.
Sarah Huang: We have a large number of charitable organizations, people working on environmental initiatives including community gardens and food pantries, people working on conservation initiatives, and people working on environmental education initiatives.
Tess Beem: I like to imagine that every group we work with falls inside the just transition framework on some range. Therefore, you know, the interconnected systems of health, environment, economic, social, and racial justice, and any one group could be touching on a lot of different pieces in the sense that a lot of the informal work we do, applicants and grantees, is helping them navigate more of that administrative side of things.
Considering how an ad hoc, unofficial volunteer organization without a 501C3 tax status could open a bank account with their local branch. And many of the growing pains, such as "How do you get your legs under you" and "How do you get moving" We set out to accomplish several of these things.
Bart Westdijk: A nice day for me at the Grassroots Fund is when I get to speak on the phone with people who are so valuable to their communities and neighborhoods.
The period we refer to as our staff evaluation is about to begin. We get to talk to all these applicants who are coming up with incredible solutions to really big, broad, global issues while bringing those down to their backyards and coming up with solutions that have them connect with their neighbors, have them build social capital, and center the experiences of people who are dealing with the consequences of environmental injustices daily.
And with everything going on in the world, it can sometimes be incredibly difficult to find hope. But there is a lot of hope in that. But when I get to make a few of these calls, it's a terrific day because they give me a lot of hope.
Sarah Haung: Community organizing strategists are now being sought by Grassroots Fund, and a Grow Programme Manager will also be needed shortly. People who are curious about Grassroots Fund can visit our website or get in touch with any of the staff members, who are listed on our team page.
Bart Westdijk: It's also an opportunity to network with people in the area who share your concerns about how to distribute power and make decisions that are consistent with equity and justice values. So those are the two major ways we encourage people to become involved: by directly contributing money or by signing up to write grants for the community.
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