Energy-saving grants available for schools

Schools that want to reduce their carbon footprint are eligible for grants, the state announced this week.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said a $4 million fund is available to provide grants to schools to lower their energy use and adopt greener, carbon-free energy.

The P-12 Schools: Green and Clean Energy Solutions program provides up to $250,000 for a school to conduct energy studies on ways to reduce its energy usage, and up to another $250,000 for design assistance to install clean heating and cooling systems. Additional awards are available for installation of heating, cooling methods and for energy efficiency methods.

“New York is a leader in the fight against climate change, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions is crucial to achieving our ambitious goals,” Cuomo said. “With initiatives like P-12 Schools, we are empowering schools across the state to take action in creating solutions to protect our environment.”

The more than 6,000 preschool through grade 12 schools in New York spend approximately $1 billion on energy each year, while producing approximately 5.6 million metric tons of carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases.

The state is accepting applications for the P-12 Schools program through Dec. 31, 2022. Applicants can find additional information and apply online.

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NEH grant to assist Eastman Museum with nitrate film preservation

The George Eastman Museum has received a $340,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities for its Protecting Nitrate Film Heritage project.

The funding, which comes from the Division of Preservation and Access, Sustaining Cultural Heritage Collections program, will support the creation of a reliable, safe and sustainable environment for the museum’s renowned and extremely fragile collection of 35mm nitrate-based film materials housed at the Louis B. Mayer Conservation Center in Chili.

“The George Eastman Museum is committed to the stewardship and preservation of our world-class collections of cinema and photography,” said Bruce Barnes, the Ron and Donna Fielding director of the museum. “The substantial grant award from the National Endowment for the Humanities will allow us to continue our vital mission of preservation of our museum’s artistically and historically important collection of nitrate-based materials for the benefit of scholars, researchers, cinephiles and the general public.”

The conservation center holds some 24,000 reels of 35mm nitrate-based motion picture prints and negatives dating from 1893 to 1951, as well as 40,000 nitrate photographic negatives and 25,000 frame clippings from nitrate-based film prints. The original Technicolor camera negatives for the Wizard of Oz and Gone with the Wind are both housed there.

“The collection of nitrate prints and negatives is one of the treasures of our museum,” said Peter Bagrov, curator in charge, moving image department of the museum. “In many collecting institutions, nitrate films were destroyed after duplication to safety stock. The Eastman Museum did such an excellent job in protecting the nitrate elements that some of them are not only used for preservation today but are still projectable.”

Since 2015, the George Eastman Museum has held an annual Nitrate Picture Show, a unique festival that treats its audience to viewings of vintage films and prints as they originally were seen, as well as workshops and lectures. The fifth Nitrate Picture Show will be held from June 5 to 7, 2020.

The grant award from NEH will assist in funding the project that has an estimated cost of $730,000.

“Our work in the field of film protection could never be finished, as our goal is not only to preserve the motion pictures but to conserve the original elements as well,” Bagrov added. “This project will create a more favorable, more resilient and safer environment for our collection, keeping it viable for future generations.”

The George Eastman Museum was founded in 1947 and is the world’s oldest photography museum and one of the largest film archives in the U.S.

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State grants available for those new to farming

Matching grants of up to $50,000 are available for early-stage farmers who apply to the New York State New Farmers Grant Fund.

State officials announced this week that $1 million had been added to the annual fund, which has provided a total of $3.27 million to nearly 90 farms over the previous four years. The application deadline is Jan. 25, 2019.

In announcing the allocation, state Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, “The New Farmers Grant Fund encourages young people and those seeking second careers to pursue a livelihood that is not always easy but always rewarding.” The fund “gives farmers the resources they need to grow or expand their operations and support our state’s long tradition of farming,” he added.

Grants from the fund pay for up to 50 percent of eligible projects, such as purchase of machinery, equipment and supplies, or for costs of construction of or improving agricultural structures. To be eligible, farmers must have had an ownership interest in a farm business for fewer than 10 years, and the farm must produce at least $10,000 in income from products grown or raised on the farm.

Applications and additional information on the fund are available online. New farmers may also benefit from an online resource set up by the Department of Agriculture & Markets last year: The New and Beginning Farmer One Stop Shop.

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Cuomo announces funding for clean-energy job training

Boosting his clean energy goals for the state, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced on Monday that the state has $27.5 million available for workforce development and training programs to help expand the number of people working in that area.

Cuomo also released a report on the clean energy industry that said there are 151,000 New Yorkers working in clean energy now, with 5,600 jobs added last year.

“By investing in our clean energy workforce, we are supporting the industry’s growing demands while creating jobs throughout the state utilizing clean energy technologies that will reduce emissions and protect our environment,” Cuomo said in a statement. “Our nation-leading commitment to fighting climate change is also an economic driver that is creating good-paying jobs all across the state.”

Cuomo has set the goals of having half the state’s energy come from renewable sources by 2030, and reducing New York’s greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent in the same time.

The money is earmarked for energy efficiency training, on-the-job training, and internships in clean energy. Workforce trainers, schools, unions and businesses, can apply for the funding online.

Some key points of the report include that most clean energy jobs in New York are in energy-efficiency positions. Also, the fastest-growing area in the clean energy industry is the grid modernization and energy storage areas, which grew 12.6 percent in 2017.

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Foodlink receives federal grant for Curbside program

foodlink-logoFoodlink Inc. has received a nearly $500,000 grant for its Curbside Market, the nonprofit’s mobile farmer’s market that visits underserved communities throughout Rochester.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Local Food Promotion Program in September announced it would help fund 44 projects totaling $13.4 million, including Foodlink’s “Farms to Families: Promoting local foods and healthy futures through mobile markets.”

Foodlink applied for the grant with the goal of becoming the nation’s first mobile vendor for the USDA’s Women, Infants & Children program, which supports low-income mothers and young children who are found to be at nutritional risk. Foodlink was awarded $481,000 for the project.

“We’re grateful that the USDA recognized our Curbside Market as an upstream solution to not only building healthier communities, but as a means to support our local agricultural economy as well,” Foodlink President and CEO Julia Tedesco said in a statement. “Foodlink strives to make the healthy choice the easy choice for those whom we serve, and through this generous grant we’ll be able to strengthen Curbside’s impact and open up new markets for local farmers.”

Foodlink’s Curbside Market sells fresh produce at affordable prices in low-income communities where access to healthy food is limited. As a WIC vendor, the Curbside Market eventually would be able to sell more types of products and reach more young families in need of healthy food.

“Since we launched five years ago, the Curbside market has effectively attracted and incentivized customers who use (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits,” Foodlink’s Chief Programs Officer Mitch Gruber said. “With WIC we see a vital opportunity for growth, and through the USDA’s support, Foodlink can begin to offer more healthy food retail options for young mothers and children in our communities.”

Curbside Market operates year-round in Rochester and six surrounding counties. Last year, the market made more than 32,000 transactions, with total sales exceeding $216,000. Officials expect 2018 to surpass that.

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Local nonprofits to receive GM grants

Neal Evans, GM Rochester Operations plant manager
Neal Evans, GM Rochester Operations plant manager

Five area nonprofits will benefit from General Motors Co. — Rochester Operations’ generosity.

United Way of Greater Rochester Inc., Junior Achievement of Central Upstate New York, School of the Holy Childhood and the American Cancer Society each will receive $10,000 grants as part of the GM Community Giving program. Boys and Girls Clubs of Rochester Inc. will receive $30,000.

“This is stunning,” United Way CEO Jaime Saunders said. “One hundred years ago George Eastman founded our United Way with a vision for a thriving community that takes care of its own. And here at GM, you are keeping that alive. You do us proud. Your dedication to helping others makes a difference.”

Earlier this year, GM Rochester Operations received the Richard P. Miller Award for Outstanding Campaign from the United Way.

GM employees participate in the Junior Achievement’s annual bowl-a-thon, Evans noted, and this year raised roughly $14,000 for the nonprofit.

“With a gift like this, we get to reach almost 300 students in the community with skills that are critical for future success, but not always prioritized by our education system,” said Junior Achievement President and CEO Patricia Leva. “Think about financial self-sufficiency, workforce readiness, career awareness and entrepreneurial thinking. We create that bridge for students to the real world.”

Dwayne Mahoney, executive director of Boys and Girls Clubs, said he was not expecting the $30,000 award.

Dwayne Mahoney, executive director of Boys and Girls Clubs of Rochester, said he was not expecting the $30,000 award.
Dwayne Mahoney, executive director of Boys and Girls Clubs of Rochester, said he was not expecting the $30,000 award.

“GM’s done so much for us, during Christmas, volunteering. We’ve had people from GM over to the Boys and Girls Clubs to see what we do,” Mahoney said. “There are so many different things this organization, this company, this plant has done that we wish everyone in this community could know all the things they do for us. Sometimes I don’t think you know what you do for the kids in our community. You really do impact them. A lot of times our kids walk away and say, ‘I want to do what they’re doing. And I want to carry myself like they’re carrying themselves.’”

Each year GM Community Giving provides grants to its manufacturing plants to give to local charitable organizations. Last year GM Rochester Operations gave $20,000 in grants to three charities. This year that amount was doubled.

But because GM Rochester Operations beat each of GM’s other North American facilities for having the highest employee giving participation and greatest year-over-year giving increase to the United Way, the facility was allotted an additional $30,000 to give away, said GM Rochester Operations plant manager Neal Evans.

“I am amazed at the generosity of this community, across the board. And today is just another great reflection of it,” said Sen. Joseph Robach, R-Greece. “I work with all these groups, and you could not have picked better groups that really are going to impact people in so many different ways.”

GM Rochester Operations awarded the grants Friday as part of its Manufacturing Day 2018 events.

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State to fund efforts to reduce stigma of mental illness

chairs-child-cute-159782The state Office of Mental Health will make up to $75,000 in grant funding available for projects that help reduce the stigma associated with mental illness.

The funding represents revenues received through a voluntary tax check-off program launched in 2016. The program allows taxpayers to contribute to the Mental Illness Anti-Stigma Fund when filing their New York State taxes.

“All too often, people with mental health issues or concerns don’t seek the help they need because of the stigma surrounding mental illness,” OMH Commissioner Ann Sullivan said in a news release Friday. “But the truth is, with proper treatment, people with mental illness can live fulfilling, productive and happy lives.”

OMH will provide 15 grants of up to $5,000 each to support year-long stigma-reduction projects. Agencies must have at least one year of experience serving individuals with mental illness in order to quality.

Project proposals, which are due July 31, must focus on one or more of several specific issue areas including the stigma and discrimination people with mental illness face in housing, employment, media coverage, health care, parenting or in underserved populations.

OMH will prioritize projects that target education and include activities intended to combat the stigma and discrimination in schools that interfere with the ability of students with mental illness to fully participate in the educational environment.

“By fighting stigma these awards will help encourage people with behavioral health issues to seek treatment and work towards recovery,” Sullivan said.

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Strong receives grant for developing video game exhibits

strong-marbleThe Strong National Museum of Play has been awarded a $75,000 planning grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The grant will assist with the development of exhibits that explore the history, influence and experience of electronic games and will be the centerpiece of the museum’s proposed expansion, slated to open in the summer of 2020.

“This support from the NEH—which is crucial to museums and educational institutions across the nation—will help the Strong develop a first-of-its-kind installation that illustrates the impact of technology on play,” said Jon-Paul Dyson, the Strong’s vice president for exhibits. “The space will include interactive experiences that bring the art and narratives of video games to life, along with rare artifacts from the museum’s collections that will encourage guests to explore the evolution of gaming technology.”

The grant was one of nearly 200 awarded nationwide to support projects that explore broader human experiences. The projects “deepen our understanding and appreciation of the traditions, values and historical figures who have shaped our country,” said Jon Parrish Peede, senior deputy chairman of NEH.

The grant will allow an interdisciplinary team from the Strong to work with an international group of leading humanities scholars to plan, develop, evaluate and revise an exhibit script that will guide the implementation and installation of the exhibits.

“Video games are the most innovative, transformative medium of the 21st century,” Dyson said. “Just as the novel fueled imagination in the 19th century and film and television defined the cultural narratives of the 20th century, electronic games today are rapidly driving cultural and social change.”

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Finger Lakes sites receive grants

Letchworth State Park is one of four Finger Lakes Region sites to receive a state grant for restoration and enhancement projects. (Photo by Velvet Spicer)
Letchworth State Park is one of four sites in the Finger Lakes Region to receive a state grant for restoration and enhancement projects.
(Photo by Velvet Spicer)

Four Finger Lakes parks and historic sites will receive grants from the state Parks & Trails New York to restore and enhance their facilities.

Statewide, 21 organizations dedicated to the stewardship and promotion of state parks, historic sites and public lands will receive $450,000. The groups raise private funds for capital projects, perform maintenance tasks, provide educational programming and promote public use through hosting special events.

“Across New York, volunteers are bolstering DEC’s work,” said Basil Seggos, commissioner of the state Department of Environmental Conservation, in a statement. “From our new Campground Ambassadors program to longstanding trail stewardship efforts, volunteers are assisting DEC to protect natural resources and helping to connect more New Yorkers with nature.”

In the Finger Lakes region, four sites will receive grants:
• Friends of Ganondagan: $50,000 to fund the restoration and replacement of the Seneca Bark Longhouse roof;
• Friends of Hamlin Beach State Park: $15,740 to enhance the self-guided interpretive tour to educate visitors about the role Hamlin Beach State Park CCC/POW Camp played during the Depression and World War II;
• Friends of Letchworth State Park: $12,530 to fund a planning document along with two architectural project reports that will allow the Friends group to more effectively manage and fund projects that will move forward the ongoing effort to preserve the Civilian Conservation Corps legacy in the park; and
• Sonnenberg Gardens and Mansion State Historic Park: $18,688 for the restoration of the Vinery Greenhouse.

The Park and Trail Partnership Program grants, funded through the state Environmental Protection Fund, will be matched by nearly $200,000 in private and local funding. The grants are designed to enhance the preservation and promotion of state parks, trails, historic sites and public lands, while increasing the sustainability, effectiveness, productivity, volunteerism and fundraising capabilities of not-for-profit organizations that maintain and support the sites.

“It’s inspiring to see the transformational effect of the Park and Trail Partnership Program grants and how they are enhancing the ability of Friends groups to make an even greater contribution to the stewardship of New York’s great outdoor spaces,” Parks & Trails New York Executive Director Robin Dropkin said. “These grant funds will enable groups to leverage more private and federal funding, marshal more volunteer power and augment the state’s historic investment in parks, trails and other public outdoor places.”

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Farmers can nominate schools for grants

Farmers have until April 2 to help their local public schools earn a grant of $10,000 or $25,000.

The grants are provided by the Monsanto Fund, a charitable arm of the agricultural chemical company Monsanto Co., to boost science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education through its America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education program.

One school in Rochelle, Ill., used a $25,000 grant to build a 3-D printer, and students spent the year learning about the technology before creating a prosthetic arm to replace a farmer’s limb lost in a farming accident.

The “grant gave my students a lesson that they will remember for a lifetime,” said Vic Worthington, an eighth grade science and technology teacher at Rochelle Middle School.

The nomination process involves a farmer calling (877 267-3332) or going online ( to provide basic information about a public school district. Then the grant program will contact the district for a complete award application by April 15.

To be eligible to nominate a school, the farmer must be at least 21 years old and work on a farm with 250 or more acres under cultivation. Eligible schools can be traditional public schools or public charter schools.

The program will provide a total of $2.3 million in grants, aiming to give out one $25,000 grant per state and one $10,000 grant for each agricultural district, depending on the number of competing proposals.

Previous grants of $10,000 have gone to Greece and Scottsville in Monroe County, and Kendall in Orleans County. Awards of $25,000 have gone to Albion and Medina, both in Orleans County.

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