Image from Arbor Day website

Keep the Midlands Beautiful announced Thursday that a $50,000 grant was given to the nonprofit. The donation was made by the Arbor Day Foundation’s Community Resilience Grant program in partnership with Bank of America.

The grant will strengthen vulnerable neighborhoods against the impacts of a changing climate.

Keep the Midlands Beautiful plans to use the grant to develop a new generation of environmental justice leaders while helping to beautify the North Main Street corridor in Columbia. The nonprofit was one of four organizations across the U.S. selected to receive the grant.

“Our goal with this grant program is to help communities enrich not only their green spaces but also enrich lives,” said Dan Lambe, president of the Arbor Day Foundation. “We’re supporting Keep the Midlands Beautiful in its effort to build awareness about the benefits of trees, educate residents on proper tree care, and lay the groundwork for a greener future.”

Urban trees have numerous benefits, but the U.S. Forest Service reported that urban forests are shrinking across the nation's cities. As the climate changes, the environmental impact of trees is particularly important.

“Columbia, South Carolina, has been an active Tree City for over 41 years and has invested more than $10,000 on urban forestry management,” said councilwoman Tameka Isaac Devine. “This local collaboration between the Department of Juvenile Justice Teen Afterschool Center, KMB and community residents, supports the larger vision. Everyone deserves to live a healthy life, in a safe and protected environment.”

Cities increasingly face more frequent and intense ecological disturbances, including heat waves, coastal flooding, extreme storms and poor air quality. Urban trees can alleviate these challenges. Tree coverage has been linked to cooler cities, improved air and water quality, more effective stormwater control and better health outcomes. Research has shown urban trees also increase property values and reduce energy


“We are thrilled to partner with Keep the Midlands Beautiful on this important initiative to improve our local neighborhoods,” said Kim Wilkerson, Bank of America South Carolina president. “Arbor Day’s program is an important step toward more sustainable cities. This effort will make a positive difference in Columbia and for its residents.”

The grant program enables the design and implementation of projects that utilize trees and other green infrastructure to build resilience in low to moderate income neighborhoods in Columbia.

Other grant recipients include: Mesa, Arizona; Grand Rapids, Michigan; and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Additional information can be found online.

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