BAPA Partners On New Sustainability Initiative: Thomas Dowling secures $20,000 fellowship to fund local opportunities

The Beverly Area Planning Association (BAPA) and Beverly/Morgan Park resident Thomas Dowling announce $20,000 in funding to develop a new sustainability initiative in the BAPA service area. The initiative, which is designed to connect neighborhood residents and businesses with resources for sustainability, will begin in November.    

Dowling is one of 10 young business leaders from across the U.S. to receive the award from the national business group Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2) and the sustainability-driven hotel brand 1 Hotels. The fellowship supports and develops young entrepreneurs and emerging business leaders who seek to make the world a better place through projects that are good for the economy and good for the environment. 

Dowling’s project is designed to demonstrate the value of sustainability and the economic benefits it can provide for communities. The initiative will identify federal, state, municipal and private sector funding for neighborhood sustainability. Among other things, these programs provide rebates and tax credits for the purchase of energy-efficient appliances and other technologies, low-rate loans for clean energy installations, and grants for community projects.  

This research will be used to assist eligible Beverly/Morgan Park residents and business owners apply for and win funding. The information will be presented in a series of workshops for residents and businesses. Interested attendees will receive dedicated support during the application process and implementation assistance if funding is secured. The first workshop will be held this winter.  

“We were thrilled with Tom approached BAPA with the idea to partner on this initiative,” said BAPA Executive Director Susan Flood. “The project is a perfect fit for BAPA, incorporating E2’s important goals for sustainability programs at the community level with our community’s interest in supporting these initiatives, and using the outstanding talent we have in our community to help create change.”   

“This initiative will ensure the Beverly/Morgan Park area maintains its reputation as one of the most desirable neighborhoods in Chicago,” Dowling said. “It will make our community more sustainable and bring additional investment into the area.”  

Dowling’s plan is to take what he learns from the Beverly/Morgan Park initiative to create a model for similar community-level programs for other city neighborhoods and nationwide.  

Other projects to receive fellowship funding include a documentary video series on clean jobs in Colorado, researching community EV charge sharing in Chicago, and building a network of sustainability-committed building owners in Cincinnati. 

“1 Hotels is excited to participate in the E2 fellowship and to engage with fellows who are identifying interesting problems related to the environment and climate change, while also exploring constructive solutions that create a new and robust economy,” said Hannah Bronfman, 1 Hotels Director of Sustainability. 

“These fellows show us where the US economy can go if we embrace smart environmental policies,” said Bob Keefe, E2 Executive Director. “Now more than ever we need to tap into the visions of America’s young business leaders if we are to continue on the path towards a strong clean economy.”  

The initiative and fellowship are funded for one year.  

Dowling, 22, grew up in Beverly/Morgan Park and attended St. John Fisher elementary school and St. Ignatius College Prep. He graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Illinois at Champaign Urbana with a double major in political science and history. Last fall, Dowling was named a Rhodes Scholar, and he is currently in the United Kingdom at the University of Oxford earning a Masters in comparative social policy.  



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