Environmental finance grant funding infuses growth in two organizations 

November 08, 2023

The Alliance for Tribal Clean Energy and WeSolar receive $110,000 grants each 

Two organizations are the recipients of $110,000 grant funding from U.S. Bancorp Impact Finance and its Environmental Finance Equitable Access to Capital and Environmental Justice Grant Programs.

The Alliance for Tribal Clean Energy (the Alliance) is an Indigenous-led nonprofit that supports Native American tribes in their transition toward a clean and regenerative energy future. Focused on building the capacity of Native American tribes and tribal entities to access and deploy capital for clean energy projects, the Alliance brings together tribes and vetted clean energy service and development providers in a collaborative process so all can work together toward mutually equitable goals.

The grant funding enabled the Alliance to bring on a new team member, who is an enrolled member of a Native American tribe and has been working for over two decades in tribal finance and economic development, said Alliance CEO Chéri Smith, a descendant of the Mi’kmaq Nation of Northern Maine and the Canadian Maritimes.

Man playing drums
Leo Baker (Upper Sioux Granite Falls Tribe) Drum Group performing at the Tribal Energy Equity Summit 2023.

“This team member's added expertise has allowed us to provide sound, professional guidance and advice to the tribes we serve, pertaining to the planning and financing of regenerative clean energy projects,” she said. “This added position is having a tremendous impact on the tribal governments and tribal members we serve, and we're so grateful to Impact Finance for making this crucial position possible."

Impact Finance Assistant Director of Impact Capital and Project Management Clark Conlisk said, “We’re excited to support the acceleration of the equitable energy transition. We look forward to our grant recipients – and the networks of organizations they support – bringing to market the innovative clean energy projects that will direct the socioeconomic and environmental benefits of clean power to historically disadvantaged communities.”

Baltimore-based WeSolar, founded by Kristal Hansley and created to bring under-resourced communities affordable access to local community solar and to assist commercial properties with energy efficiency, is the second grant recipient.

Conlisk said it’s rewarding to be a part of supporting the organizations’ growth and looks forward to future grant funding opportunities amid the significant growth in and importance of the clean energy sector. 

“We are fortunate to be able to play a role in supporting the many incredible practitioners of the energy transition who center equity and community-benefit in their work to decarbonize the electric grid,” he said.

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