MARISA Small Grants Program

The MARISA Small Grants Program provided small awards to non-profit local and regional organizations in four areas:

  • Climate and Hazard Mitigation Planning (CHaMP)
  • Rural Capacity Building in Virginia
  • Negley Run Watershed in Pittsburgh, PA
  • Green Infrastructure in Baltimore, MD

These grants aim to support frontline communities in underserved neighborhoods, build local capcity for resilience and adaption to climate change, and build partnerships between MARISA and local organizations. Grants were awarded following a call for proposals issued in 2023 and will run through 2024.

Selected Grantees

We are excited to announce the successful recipients of the MARISA Small Grants program! MARISA received numerous strong proposals from around the region. One recipient was selected each in Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Virginia, and for the region-wide CHaMP tool.

MARISA team members who will be working with these partners on the ground and serving as their local points of contact include Dr. Molly Mitchell (The Nansemond Indian Nation), Drs. Benjamin Zaitchik and James Hunter (Temple X Schools), Drs. David Rounce and Jordan Fischbach (Upstream Pittsburgh), and Dr. Krista Romita Grocholski and Lena Easton-Calabria (Resilient Virginia).

Nansemond Indian Nation

The Nansemond Indian Nation is a federally recognized tribe whose traditional settlements span southeastern Virginia and northeastern North Carolina. The Nansemond Nation is “dedicated to historical and cultural preservation for the benefit of our tribal citizens and the community at large.” They are actively serving the cities of Chesapeake, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Virginia Beach, and Isle of Wight County.

The Nansemond Nation will use the Virginia Small Grant funding to hire two interns to compile information for their first climate vulnerability assessment. Funding will also be used for the Tribe’s Environmental Program Coordinator (EPC) to bolster, facilitate, and oversee relationship-building with MARISA and other partners throughout this work. In addition to the assessment, results will include feedback on MARISA tools and resources used throughout the grant period.

Resilient Virginia

Resilient Virginia is a non-profit organization “focused on accelerating resiliency planning in communities across the Commonwealth.” Resilient Virginia will use the CHaMP Small Grant funding to develop and run two Resiliency Academy Series, one in the spring and one in the fall. The workshops within this series will inform and train regional government departments and community organization leaders about developing FEMA hazard mitigation plans and other climate planning processes. This will include instructions on how to use CHaMP to incorporate historical and projected climate and hazard data into hazard mitigation plans. Resilient Virginia staff will organize, market, and host these virtual workshops, while MARISA staff will serve as the main trainers to inform participants about how to use CHaMP.

Temple X Schools

Temple X Schools is an educational development company that curates “safe, healthy, and sustainable learning environments for young children”. They will use the Baltimore Small Grant funding to host seven community engagements and community-based participatory science events for the wider Baltimore community. These events aim to educate the community on topics such as environmental justice, citizen science, extreme heat, and more. They will also increase the connectivity between scientists and community members in Baltimore and the wider region, with each learning from the other. MARISA staff will attend and speak at some of these events to grow our relationship with Temple X and other Baltimore organizations and community members.

Upstream Pittsburgh

Upstream Pittsburgh is a leader in stormwater management in the Pittsburgh region and has a “heritage of restoration and stewardship of the Nine Mile Run Watershed” . They will use the Small Grant funding to improve Green Stormwater Infrastructure (GSI) monitoring in the Negley Run watershed, enhance their online dashboard, and build relationships with MARISA and communities on the ground. Funding will support the installation of monitoring equipment in two new communities, which will complete UpstreamPgh’s system monitoring coverage and boost data measuring GSI effectiveness.