Amazon Web Services (AWS) InCommunities recently invested $300,000 to support environmental and sustainability projects in Northern Virginia area, specifically Prince William, Loudoun, Fairfax, Culpeper, and Fauquier counties.
This grant program comes amidst a local effort in Northern Virginia to halt construction of new data centers in rural lands in Prince William County. And one community’s successful pushback on AWS data center development in their area.
AWS isn’t alone. In November, several data centers such as Compass and QTS, joined in efforts to connect with the Northern Virginia community by filling raised garden beds in a community garden. For its part, the AWS InCommunities Sustainability Fund also operates alongside local outreach programs designed to address education equity and no-cost technical workforce training.
Investing in grassroots sustainability projects
AWS InCommunities Sustainability Fund’s efforts to fund local projects with sustainable and environmental impact is meant to protect Northern Virginia’s environment while giving residents economic opportunities.
The fund is granting up to $10,000 per project and is open to individuals, non-profits, local organizations, and schools. Project applications must fall under the scope of sustainability and the environment. More specifically, projects must address agriculture preservation, energy conservation, environmental justice, zero waste initiatives, cultural preservation, sustainable technology, environmental access, equity, and justice. The grant process is powered by ChangeX and requires a 30 day review process to assess positive impact to the community. Applications are open until February 13, 2023.
“We believe deeply in using our scale for good and using our resources to strengthen communities where our employees live and work,” said Cornelia Robinson, global leader of AWS InCommunities. “We are committed to making the cloud the cleanest and most energy-efficient way for our customers to run their businesses and championing those who share our passion for sustainability and want to make a positive impact in their local communities.”
A successful use case in Ireland
Earlier this year, AWS InCommunities funded 38 local projects in Drogheda, Ireland in a similar program benefiting organizations that support STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math). AWS extended grant funding to community gardens, addiction centers, sports programs, and other local organizations. The applications received so much interest that AWS expanded funding. These projects impacted more than 3,500 people in the area.
The Basement Sounds initiative at Boomerang Youth Cafe was one such AWS grantee in Ireland. The organization was able to install a recording studio space for young people. “We didn’t think we’d be able to do it,” said Sean McCluskey, leader of the youth cafe, “but with the funding from the AWS InCommunities Fund, it has become a reality.”