LANSING, Mich. (Michigan News Source) – In her efforts to make Michigan carbon neutral by 2050 and to save Michigan from climate disasters, Michigan Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer has launched the Michigan Climate Corps (MICC) which will be paid for by $1.3 million in federal funding through the Michigan Community Service Commission (MCSC) and given to AmeriCorps.

This money comes from the American Rescue Plan. This AmeriCorps Michigan Climate Corps program will help train the next generation of climate change warriors to “protect the environment for future generations and build the next generation of climate leaders in Michigan.”

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The money will be available in the form of planning grants (up to $20K per recipient) and operational grants (up to $75k per recipient) for organizations who utilize approximately ten full-time AmeriCorps members within their program. Planning grants are given to those organizations intending to apply for an operational grant but it’s not mandatory to apply for both.

Whitmer recently announced the launch of the MICC in coordination with the MCSC and the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy. She said the funding of the program will support the state’s “MI Healthy Climate Plan” and will “address climate change head-on.”

Whitmer says the money used for the program will allow Michiganders to have “clean air to breathe,
clean water to drink and access to healthy, affordable local food.”

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The MICC will operate under a collaboration of new and expanded AmeriCorps programs and they will wok with the MCSC in addition to other state and local partners to “harness the power of national service as part of a broader statewide effort to address climate change.”

MICC literature states that because Michigan is “experiencing a range of stresses and impacts from a changing climate,” the state leadership has recognized the need for bold action. They say that in recent years “erratic temperatures and severe weather events have been responsible for major crop failures, massive flooding, power outages, sewer backups, erosion and dam failure.

State leadership has recognized the need for bold action to invest in communities at the front lines of climate change,
reach net-zero gas (GHG) emissions by 2050 and adapt to long-term warming patterns as outlined in
the MI Healthy Climate Plan.”

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MICC also says that action will be demanded from households, the governor’s office and a skilled workforce and that “AmeriCorps members have been at the forefront of many successful environmental and community-level programs for decades and can play a foundational role in helping Michigan meet its climate commitments.”

Applicants for the grants must show alignment with MCSC priorities: Environmental justice, community outreach and education, and community planning. A priority will be given to programs designed to work to make an impact and further environmental justice. The areas to be addressed in the grant applications are: Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency; Disaster Preparedness, Recovery and Mitigation; Preserve Lands and Waters; Sustainable Farming and Food Systems; LowCarbon and Active Transportation; and Waste Management and Reduction; all of which align with the MI Healthy Climate Plan.