Illinois Extension

Thriving Communities Webinar Series

The Thriving Communities Webinar Series, kicking off in January 2024, is a part of University of Illinois Extension and Prairie Rivers Network's collaboration 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. 

Tues | April 16 | 12 PM CT: Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) and the Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA) Grant Programs
Tues | May 21 | 12 PM CT:
Illinois Climate Bank

Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) and the Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA) Grant Programs
Tuesday, April 16 at 12 PM CT

On Oct. 12, 2023, FEMA published the fiscal year 2023 funding opportunities for the Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities and the Flood Mitigation Assistance grant programs, totaling $1.8 billion. BRIC’s available funding is $1 billion, and for Flood Mitigation Assistance, the available funding is $800 million. These funds will help state, local, tribal, and territorial governments address future risks for natural disasters, foster greater community resilience, and reduce disaster suffering. Addressing these risks helps make communities more resilient.

This webinar will focus on the future hazards Illinois will face due to climate change and how you can use the BRIC federal grant to fund projects in your community to mitigate these natural hazards. Our presentations will include Dr. Trent Ford's research on Climate Change in Southern Illinois and a discussion of the next round of the Building Resilient Infrastructure & Communities grant.

About the speakers:

Dr. Trent Ford has been the Illinois State Climatologist since 2019. Trent is an expert in climate and climate change and its interactions and impacts, especially as they relate to water. Trent leads climate monitoring and data collection and provision for the state of Illinois. He and his team provide information online, through traditional and social media, and by speaking to interested groups across the state. A native of Roanoke, Illinois, Ford earned a bachelor's in geography from Illinois State University before completing his master's and Ph.D. at Texas A&M University.

Jeff Thompson, State Hazard Mitigation officer, serves the states, counties, and local jurisdictions, working directly with FEMA and their Hazard Mitigation grant programs managers to help ensure communities get the support and information needed to apply for BRIC/FMA grants. Jeff assists communities in grant management after they have been awarded. He has worked with the Illinois Emergency Management Agency for 3 years and briefed multiple counties, cities, and agencies about FEMA grant opportunities. He has 20 years of Active-Duty Air Force service working heavily in risk management (ret. 2019).

Randa Watts started with Prairie Rivers Network in January as the Clean Water Organizer. Her focus is on water quality, water infrastructure funding, education & outreach. Originally from Pittsfield, IL, Watts served in the Illinois Air National Guard and earned her bachelor's degree in Environmental Studies from the University of Illinois Springfield. 

Illinois Climate Bank
Tuesday, May 21 at 12 PM CT

The Illinois Finance Authority (IFA) was recently designated as the Illinois Climate Bank. In this role, they are providing funding and programs for communities to advance clean energy and climate resilience. 
On this webinar, representatives of the Illinois Climate Bank will present ongoing and future opportunities, including:

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. | Presenters: Amanda Pankau, Director of Energy and Community Resiliency, Prairie Rivers Network; Urszula Parfieniuk, Grants Navigator, Great Lakes TCTAC; Noor Shahzad, Community Outreach Associate, Environmental Protection Network; Ellie Carley, Program Manager, Community Engineering Corps

Community Change Grants (Recording | Feb 20): 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 covered 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

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.