These seven organizations just received Sustaining Ann Arbor Together grants

The Ann Arbor YMCA building at 400 W. Washington St. (Morgan Anderson Photography)

ANN ARBOR – The City of Ann Arbor has announced the seven organizations who were recently awarded the city’s Sustaining Ann Arbor Together grants.

Each year, the city awards SA2T grants to organizations that are community-based and demonstrate community-focused sustainability practices.

See the eight recipients below, along with descriptions from the city’s website:

  • Ann Arbor YMCA, for their Cultivating Action through Responsible Education (C.A.R.E.) for Climate program, which educates, trains and empowers 13–17-year-olds to become eco-leaders and allies across the world and to engage in actionable solutions that combat the effect of water pollution and the impact of climate change through local initiatives.
  • Avalon Housing, to install and manage a series of native-plant pollinator habitats at each of their properties. The project will beautify properties for tenants and neighbors while also reducing maintenance and watering, attracting bees, butterflies and birds, and eliminating the need for fertilizers and other chemicals.
  • Common Cycle, to test a Universal Basic Transportation (UBT) pilot in partnership with the Community Action Network’s Bryant Community Center. The program focuses on providing affordable and reliable transportation to residents in the Bryant neighborhood, including developing the systems, tools, knowledge and workspaces to help people start and keep cycling.
  • Community Action Network, to support the installation of solar and battery storage at the Bryant Community Center, taking a large step to turning this facility into a neighborhood Resilience Hub. This would be the second resilience hub in the city and would ensure that the Bryant Community Center can continue providing critical services every day, even during a disaster.
  • Girls Group, for a significant expansion of the Girls Group Youth Leadership Council. This is a safe and brave space where youth leaders from five Ann Arbor high school programs will have the opportunity to develop skills, undertake training and collaborate to increase confidence, abilities and their overall leadership potential.
  • Live Zero Waste, for the scaling up of the Ann Arbor Reduce, Reuse, and Return (A2R3) container program. This program was created in partnership with local businesses and the Ann Arbor Office of Sustainability and Innovations.
  • VegMichigan, for a 30-day Plant-based Pledge and associated week-long plant-based eating challenge, which will be, in part, supported by A2ZERO Ambassadors. This challenge will take place Sept. 11–17. Learn more and sign up at

“We are excited about the great work our Sustaining Ann Arbor Together grant recipients are doing to help create a more sustainable and just community,” Ann Arbor Sustainability and Innovations Director Missy Stults said in a release. “Achieving our goal of being carbon neutral by 2030 is going to require an all-hands-on-deck approach, and we are always looking for organizations to support through the SA2T program.”

The program distributes grants of $10,000 or less to to community organizations and groups to execute small-scale sustainability improvements. The program has an annual budget of $100,000.

Projects submitted for evaluation are judged based on the following criteria that align with Ann Arbor’s Sustainability Framework:

  • Climate and energy
  • Community
  • Land use access
  • Resource management

“The Ann Arbor Y is collaborating with the Albay and San Pablo City YMCAs in the Philippines, as well as the First Coast YMCA in Jacksonville, Florida, to bring our teens and young adults together in an international environmental initiative,” Ann Arbor YMCA President and CEO Toni Kayumi said in a statement. “We are using a common curriculum that includes information on climate change, leadership skills and project management to develop youth eco-leaders who have the potential to become change makers and carry out community projects related to water and air pollution, plastics and waste management, organic gardening, environmental awareness, lobbying policy makers, and more.

“Thanks to our Sustaining Ann Arbor Together grant, the Ann Arbor Y will have additional financial resources to encourage and educate young people to become environmentally responsible citizens and mentor others to do the same.”

The SA2T grant program is part of the city’s A2ZERO Carbon Neutrality Plan. To learn more, visit

About the Author:

Meredith has worked for WDIV since August 2017 and was voted one of Washtenaw County's best journalists in 2019 by eCurrent's readers. She covers the community of Ann Arbor and has a Master's degree in International Broadcast Journalism from City University London, UK.