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Park City Climate Fund Seeks To Support Local Climate Change Solutions

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The Park City Community Foundation announced a new program to support innovative ideas for combating climate change. 

Park City Community Foundation Executive Director Katie Wright announced the creation of the Park City Climate Fund at last week’s Mountain Towns 2030 summit, a three-day gathering of policymakers, businesses and nonprofits from mountain communities to discuss strategies to become carbon-neutral by 2030. Over the past year, the community foundation has convened an environmental task force. Wright says a lot of ideas from nonprofit organizations, businesses, government and individuals have sprung up, but they need a place to grow.

“Those ideas often don't have a home and they don't have resources, and that's the purpose of the Park City Climate Fund is to find and vet the best ideas, and then make major grants towards testing those ideas," Wright said. "If they prove that they have impact, we can use the Mountain Town 2030 network to scale and replicate in other communities.”

The Community Foundation is looking to raise $250,000 in grant funding by the end of the year. So far, the foundation has raised more than $125,000 for its first round of grant proposals. Wright says the money has come from individuals in the community. She says people feel the urgency around climate change and feel compelled to act.

“Often people want to do something locally that they can see, test and be a part of, and so we've just been so pleased that people are stepping up," Wright said. "For the past month or so, we have been talking to everyone and anyone we know cares about this issue, and so people are coming in with commitments.”

Wright says the Mountain Towns 2030 conference demonstrated many possible ways of addressing climate change, such as capturing carbon in soil and improving bike infrastructure. She says the Community Foundation is open to any idea.

“There are so many solutions out there, and we need to find the ones that make sense here in Park City," Wright said. "We’re in a position to fund these ideas. We feel the impact of climate change really viscerally when we have low snow years, so I think that we here skiers and lovers of snow are the front lines.”

The first round of proposals for the Park City Climate Fund is open from now until Dec. 5. Grants will be $50,000 or more per project and will be awarded in early 2020. Those interested in applying or donating to the fund can find more information at parkcitycf.org.

Emily Means hadn’t intended to be a journalist, but after two years of studying chemistry at the University of Utah, she found her fit in the school’s communication program. Diving headfirst into student media opportunities, Means worked as a host, producer and programming director for K-UTE Radio as well as a news writer and copy editor at The Daily Utah Chronicle.
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