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Church of God in Christ Awarded Million-Dollar Agriculture Grant to Help Empower Underserved Communities

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Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced a $1 million grant to leaders of the Church of God in Christ as part of a national program to plant and maintain trees in American cities.

Vilsack made the announcement on Tuesday (Jan. 23) at the predominantly Black Pentecostal denomination’s annual leadership conference in Atlanta.

Last year the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service announced $1 billion in grants to be distributed through its Urban and Community Forestry Program with a goal of supporting projects that provide tree cover in disadvantaged communities.

In a phone interview, Vilsack said he envisions trees providing shade and lowering electric bills in neighborhoods across the country, as well as wider benefits for those communities.

“It can create job opportunities and career path opportunities,” he said, “so structuring this program so that it’s empowering more tree planting and more workforce development gives us the opportunity to partner with the church.”

The denomination was one of hundreds of organizations that applied for the program’s grants, and one of 385 selected to receive funds. The program was created under the Inflation Reduction Act, signed into law by President Biden in 2022 to address climate change and to promote clean energy.

COGIC Presiding Bishop J. Drew Sheard said in the joint interview with Vilsack that his denomination has some 12,000 congregations in the U.S., some of which are located in low-income areas.

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Faithfully Magazine is a fresh, bold and exciting news and culture publication that covers issues, conversations and events impacting Christian communities of color.


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