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Bank grants $250K for city trees

By Marcie Geffner · Bankrate.com
Thursday, May 9, 2013
Posted: 5 pm ET

The charitable arm of a major U.S. bank has announced a $250,000 grant to a nonprofit organization that will use the funds to assess urban forests in five U.S. cities.

The institution is Bank of America, and the nonprofit is American Forests, a national conservation organization that restores and protects urban and rural forests. Since 1990, American Forests has planted more than 44 million trees throughout the U.S. and 39 countries, according to the organization.

The assessments are intended to develop insights into the state of each city's urban forest to help the cities understand such issues as energy savings, carbon storage, and water and air quality. The assessments also aim to support urban forest management, encourage green infrastructure, and help city officials make informed decisions and influence public opinion, public policy, strategic tree planting and urban forest restoration activities.

The five selected cities are Asbury Park, N.J.; Atlanta; Detroit; Nashville, Tenn.; and Pasadena, Calif.

The assessments will be tailored to local needs. For example, the Asbury Park project will help assess how Superstorm Sandy affected the city's urban forest canopy. The Atlanta project will assess the urban forests around schools to help the city create healthier school environments.

The assessments will be conducted over the next six months.

Urban trees in the lower 48 states remove approximately 784,000 tons of air pollution annually, according to a research paper cited by the banking company. The U.S. is losing about 4 million trees per year, and that makes such assessments imperative to maintain critical ecosystems, the company said in a statement.

Cathy Bessant, a global technology and operations executive at Bank of America, says the bank has a strong commitment to environmental sustainability.

"Our partnership with American Forests will help community leaders understand and respond to impacts occurring to the biological infrastructure on which our cities depend," Bessant says.

Does your bank participate in community projects like these?

Follow me on Twitter: @marciegeff.

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