FirstLight Announces Recipients for 2024 FirstLight Sustains Grant Program

FirstLight Announces Recipients for 2024 FirstLight Sustains Grant Program

Program will provide over $82,000 in grants to 18 organizations in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania to support projects focused on sustainability and community improvement.

Burlington, MA – May 29, 2024 – FirstLight, a leading clean power producer, developer, and energy storage company, today announced the recipients of more than $82,000 in grant money, in the second year of the FirstLight Sustains program. The FirstLight Sustains competitive grant program selects innovative proposals that will improve the quality of life in the communities where FirstLight facilities are located in the United States in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania.

“We are thrilled to expand the FirstLight Sustains competitive grant program from 13 winners in our inaugural year to 18 recipients this year, and to provide an additional $30,000 for projects across Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania,” said Andy Brydges, Director of Community Relations for FirstLight. “We take great pride in being able to give back to organizations and entities that serve the very same communities that we live and work in, and that we are proud to serve. Our goal remains clear: to give back to the organizations that align with our mission to promote sustainability and community improvement. This year’s projects address food insecurity and waste, social support services, accessibility, education, public safety, and more.”

The grantees will implement activities and projects that meet the program’s goals for community building and/or climate action and education. That includes Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, which will use the funding to develop a pilot program for recycling and composting food waste at the school.

“I am thrilled and grateful for the opportunity provided by FirstLight through the Sustains program,” said Chris Melillo, Superintendent of Newton Public Schools. “This grant will empower our school to initiate a transformative food waste recycling and composting program, promoting sustainability and environmental stewardship among our students and community. We are eager to share our progress and success with FirstLight and the wider community as we work together towards a greener future.”

2024 FirstLight Sustains Grant Recipients – Overview & Projects in Connecticut

  • Candlewood Lake Association – The Candlewood Lake Association focuses on preserving and protecting the largest lake in Connecticut. The grant from FirstLight Sustains will go toward the purchase of handheld communications radios for their Marine Patrol boats.

  • Danbury High School – Danbury High School will establish an aquaponic lab to support its aquatic and environmental science classes.

  • Harrybrooke Park – Located in New Milford, CT, Harrybrooke Park is a 48-acre non-profit park used for public recreational activities and events. The grant will help eliminate invasive species and repair streambanks after last year’s flooding in the Still River.

  • Horizon Wings – Horizon Wings is a non-profit wildlife rehabilitation center specializing in birds of prey, located in Ashford, CT. The grant will fund improvements to their aviary to provide a dryer and healthier environment for their educational ambassador birds and other birds in rehabilitation.

  • Housatonic Valley Association (HVA) – This grant will fund HVA’s Still River Watershed Connections program in Connecticut, which links young people to their home river and to conservation practitioners through ecological restoration projects.

  • Kent Volunteer Fire Department – The Kent Volunteer Fire Department will use these funds to purchase communication radios to support their rescue operations.

  • Lake Zoar Authority (LZA) – LZA works to improve water quality and promote safe boating on Lake Zoar in the towns of Monroe, Newtown, Oxford, and Southbury. Funding will be used for improvements to support a program for boaters to borrow personal flotation devices.

  • LOF Adaptive Skiers – LOF Adaptive Skiers, located in Sandy Hook, CT, is a non-profit organization focused on improving the lives of people with disabilities. Equipment for Adaptive Water Ski clinics will be purchased with the grant money, along with improvements to the beach site.

  • New Milford Community Ambulance – New Milford Community Ambulance provides emergency medical services to the New Milford Community in Connecticut. Funding will help purchase a new stair chair for the safe evacuation of patients through stairways when elevators and lifts are not a safe method of transport.

  • Operation Fuel – Based out of Connecticut, Operation Fuel will utilize funding to implement a comprehensive fuel switch pilot program called Better Homes and Buildings Program (BHBP), which was launched in 2022. The project installs heat pumps in low- and moderate-income (LMI) households that have been weatherized in communities across Connecticut.

  • Roxbury Land Trust – The Roxbury Land Trust in Connecticut helps preserve 3,800 acres of woodlands, waterways, and farms, which consists of hiking trails, beautiful views, and highlights of Roxbury’s history. The grant will support blazing a new hiking trail and creating an additional parking lot for the existing hiking trail network.

  • Sandy Hook Elementary School – Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown will use the funding to develop a pilot program for recycling and composting food waste at the school.

The FirstLight Sustains’ review and selection committee focuses on two areas: 1) Climate Action & Education focused grants that promote awareness of, appreciation for, or access to public conservation and sustainability efforts, and support the protection, restoration, and betterment of natural resources in our communities, and 2) Community Building grants that support efforts to enhance the communities in which we live and work through public safety improvements, public art projects, placemaking, and community led services.

About FirstLight

FirstLight is a leading clean power producer, developer, and energy storage company serving North America. With a diversified portfolio that includes over 1.65 GW of operating renewable energy and energy storage technologies and a development pipeline with 4+ GW of solar, battery, hydro, onshore wind and offshore wind projects, FirstLight specializes in hybrid solutions that pair hydroelectric, pumped-hydro storage, utility-scale solar, large-scale battery, and wind assets. The company’s mission is to accelerate the decarbonization of the electric grid by supporting the development, operation, and integration of renewable energy and storage to meet the world’s growing clean energy needs and deliver an electric system that is clean, reliable, affordable, and equitable. Based in Burlington, MA, with operating offices in Northfield, MA, New Milford, CT, Oshawa, ON, and Montréal, QC, FirstLight is a steward of more than 14,000 acres and hundreds of miles of shoreline along some of the most beautiful rivers and lakes in North America. FirstLight has been wholly owned by PSP Investments since 2016. To learn more, visit or follow us on LinkedIn or Twitter.

Author: Harlem Valley News