Columbus Selected For Bloomberg American Sustainable Cities Initiative

Published on March 12, 2024

Columbus City Hall Front Signage

Mayor Andrew J. Ginther today announced that the City of Columbus has been selected by Bloomberg Philanthropies as one of 25 U.S. cities to join Bloomberg American Sustainable Cities, a three-year initiative that leverages historic levels of federal funding to implement transformative local solutions that build low-carbon, resilient and economically thriving communities.

“It is impossible to deny the impacts of climate change in Columbus,” said Mayor Ginther. “We are proud to have been selected for this important initiative, and we are eager to step up our efforts to further reduce emissions and enhance climate resilience — particularly among our most vulnerable neighbors.”

Through its participation, Columbus will receive a Bloomberg Philanthropies-funded innovation team (i-team) with up to three dedicated staff members with expertise in data analysis, insight development, human-centered design, systems thinking and project management. The city will also receive multi-year, in-depth, customized policy and technical assistance in collaboration with community-based organizations to mobilize public, private and philanthropic investments.

Columbus was selected based on its proven commitment to pursuing local climate solutions while building equitable communities. Examples include establishing the city’s first-ever Columbus Climate Action Plan, implementing a 100% clean energy aggregation program that has saved residents $25 million, passing an energy benchmarking and transparency ordinance for large buildings, and launching Empowered!, a clean energy jobs training program created in partnership with IMPACT Community Action.

“Energy insecurity is unevenly distributed throughout Franklin County, primarily affecting low-income as well as racial- and ethnic-minority households, especially those with children,” said Bo Chilton CEO of IMPACT. “IMPACT has been proud to partner with the City of Columbus and Bloomberg on innovations to advocate for strong, resilient and healthy neighborhoods through programs that ensure that as the clean economy grows, outcomes are equitable throughout our neighborhoods.”

With over $400 billion in federal funding available to local governments through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act, Bloomberg American Sustainable Cities aims to leverage $200 million to help cities access and implement critical local projects, especially in disadvantaged communities historically overburdened by pollution. This includes supporting Columbus’ efforts to work with residents in the American Addition neighborhood to create Ohio’s first Black net-zero community. Additional solutions supported through this initiative may include developing affordable, net-zero energy housing, investing in electric vehicles and infrastructure, expanding access to clean energy, and mapping how to scale these efforts into other neighborhoods across the city. 

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