Illinois Extension

Thriving Communities Webinar Series

The Thriving Communities Webinar Series, kicking off in January 2024, is a part of University of Illinois Extension’s effort to build capacity for technical assistance and education aimed to help communities navigate energy- and environment-related federal grant application systems, provide guidance on community inclusion, and lead community-specific strategic planning. This outreach should help communities secure and administer funding to address legacy pollution and invest in clean energy technologies. 

Next Webinar: Tuesday, February 20, 2024

12 PM - 1 PM CT

Community Change Grants

The Inflation Reduction Act Community Change Grants Program funds environmental and climate justice activities to benefit disadvantaged communities through projects that reduce pollution, increase community climate resilience, and build community capacity to address environmental and climate justice challenges. These place-based investments are focused on community-driven initiatives that are responsive to community and stakeholder input and are designed for communities most adversely and disproportionately impacted by climate change, legacy pollution, and historical disinvestments.

This session will cover the program requirements, eligibility, application information, and available resources for this funding opportunity, which is currently open from now until November 2024.

Presenters: Amanda Pankau, Director of Energy and Community Resiliency, Prairie Rivers Network; Lisa Merrifield, Community and Economic Development State Specialist, Illinois Extension; Joseph Malual, Community and Economic Development Regional Specialist, Illinois Extension; Urszula Parfieniuk, Grants Navigator, Great Lakes TCTAC; Dvanina Resto, Environmental Protection Network

Detailed Agenda:
12:00 - 12:05  Lisa Merrifield, University of Illinois Extension –  Welcome/housekeeping
12:05 - 12:10: Amanda Pankau, Prairie Rivers Network - Introduction 
12:10 - 12:25: Urszula Parfieniuk, Great Lakes TCTAC - Grant overview and eligibility
12:25 - 12:40: Davina Resto, Environmental Protection Network - Available resources and technical assistance
12:40 - 12:50: Joseph Malual, University of Illinois Extension - Best practices when forming community partnerships for grant projects
12:50 - 1pm:  Q&A

Past Sessions:

Technical Assistance and Funding Opportunities for Thriving Communities (Recording | Jan 30) - State and federal funding for community infrastructure projects is currently at unprecedented levels, particularly for energy and environmental projects.  At this webinar, panelists will provide an overview of open opportunities and share resources available to help communities plan and apply for these grant funds, including resources for disadvantaged communities, such as grant application support and some limited pro bono engineering services. Future webinars in this series will provide specific resources for funding opportunities. 

Presentations: Overview of Federal and State Opportunities - Amanda Pankau, Director of Energy and Community Resiliency, Prairie Rivers Network; Thriving Communities Technical Assistance Centers - Urszula Parfieniuk, Grants Navigator, Great Lakes TCTAC; Customized Grant Support - Noor Shahzad, Community Outreach Associate, Environmental Protection Network; Engineering Assistance - Ellie Carley, Program Manager, Community Engineering Corps


All Past Webinar Recordings | Thriving Communities (Sustainable Communities):

Contact Information

Civil Rights Compliance - Participant Info

As part of our commitment to providing equal opportunities in our programming, University of Illinois Extension is required to collect and report overall statistics about the race, ethnicity, and gender of program participants. Your responses are voluntary and appreciated.