Grants Awarded Summary: Environment


The Women’s Impact Fund has awarded a total of $5 million to 64 non-profit programs since 2003.  We are honored to share the following information about our Environment Grants.


$82,000 for American Forest’s Urban Ecosystem Analysis project. Utilizing satellite images, American Forests showed changes in land cover over time and provided a detailed image of Mecklenburg County’s current tree canopy, rivers, streams and buffer areas. Study opened their eyes to challenges of working in urban environments encouraging them to broaden their focus and retool some of their programming. (2009 Grantee)


$52,600 to create the Trail Master Program to recruit, train, and manage volunteers to build and maintain the Carolina Thread Trail. In 2015, there were 64 trail masters who led 872 volunteers on 26 work days (up from 2 work day just 5 years earlier). The original plan promoted 500 miles of trail, which has now expanded to 1,500 miles over 15 counties. 300 miles were complete as of late 2015. (2012 Grantee)


$40,000 for an economic impact study of the Carolina Thread Trail. The study helped leverage other monies and gain support from local governments. 15 counties are on board and have some stretch of trail on the ground today. Final goal is to have at least 5 continuous miles in each county and a 109 mile segment across counties. (2006 Grantee)

$74,000 to hire an Environmental Education Programmer to develop and expand its educational programs, which will focus on the importance of conservation and connecting the community to nature. (Grant awarded in 2016)


$55,000 for the “Muddy Water Watch” program that trained citizens to identify, track, and report sediment runoff at local construction sites into the waters of the Catawba River. Two other riverkeeprs across the state have since adopted the program. Catawba Riverkeeper was also able to get two post-construction land ordinances passed. Recent focus has been on increasing education and on the coal ash removal from Mountain Island Lake. (2008 Grantee)


$100,000 to expand its technical program staff to enhance its ability to patrol waterways, investigate reports of pollution and expand education programs in area elementary schools. (Grant awarded in 2017)

CLEAN AIR CAROLINA  (Formerly Carolinas Clean Air Coalition)

$50,000 for Clear the Air for Kids, an educational and advocacy campaign focused on child exposure to school bus and car exhaust. The program provided air quality flags and no-idle signage to schools and has expanded to the creation of ozone bio-monitoring gardens, which provides kids hands-on engagement. (2007 Grantee)


$71,000 to expand the Great Outdoors University of Greater Charlotte, a program providing meaningful, life-changing outdoor experiences for children. (Grant awarded 2015)


$70,000 to expand the number of gardens that provide fresh produce to the Friendship Trays meals program. The number of gardens has risen from 33 at grant completion to 99 in 2016. Gardens include those run by Slow Food Charlotte and partner gardens at churches, schools, and the private sector. (2010 Grantee)


$96,000 for NeighborWoods, an innovative program established to replenish and sustain Charlotte’s tree canopy in the deforested  and underserved areas of Charlotte.  1,800 new trees will be planted thanks to our funding. (Grant awarded in 2014)


$60,000 for the Mecklenburg Parks for People program, a collaborative effort between Trust for Public Land and Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation to increase opportunity for physical activity in parks. A master plan was developed to upgrade Bryant Park, additional county land was purchased, and two fitness zones were installed. (2013 Grantee)


$85,000 for Operation Medicine Cabinet, a partnership with Catawba Riverkeeper, Carolina Medical Center and law enforcement that held public “take-back” pharmaceutical events and installed dropboxes so that unused drugs could be disposed of safely. Local success allowed for expansion into Forsyth County. Due to a recent national program from the Drug Enforcement Administration, riverkeeper efforts have been refocused on establishing youth programs in schools and the coal ash spill. (2011 Grantee)