Shapiro Administration Awards $5 Million to Beaver County Community Projects

beaver county

Pittsburgh, PA  As a result of one of the largest environmental mitigation funds in Pennsylvania history, the Shapiro Administration, through an advisory board at the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) made up of environmental and community advocates, has recommended funding for 21 projects to benefit the environment, heath, and quality of life of the Beaver County community. Projects include upgrades to a community park in Monaca, renovating an emergency women’s shelter to support victims of domestic violence, a solar array on the News Tribune building in Beaver Falls that will help power a local museum, and projects to protect water quality in the Beaver area.

The Beaver County Environmental Mitigation Community Fund was created as part of a May 2023 consent order and agreement (COA) signed between DEP and Shell Chemical Appalachia LLC. Under the agreement with Shell, the Shapiro Administration secured nearly $10 million for DEP and the local community – including $5 million for projects to benefit Pennsylvanians living in Beaver County. Shell formally acknowledged that the company exceeded total emission limitations for air contaminants and agreed to make repairs to reduce future exceedances. The projects, totaling $4,755,353.60, will exhaust the Environmental Mitigation Community Fund, one of the largest such funds in Pennsylvania history.

“Pennsylvanians have a constitutional right to clean air and pure water – that’s why my Administration secured this record-breaking agreement with Shell to hold them accountable for violating the laws and regulations that protect our environment,” said Governor Josh Shapiro. “These projects – selected by the people of Beaver – will help make Beaver County an even better place to live, work, and raise a family. My Administration is committed to holding any company – big or small – accountable when they violate our laws, and we’ll continue to make sure Pennsylvanians have the safe and healthy environment they deserve.”

“It is inspiring to see how this community came together to develop the projects we are announcing today,” said DEP Acting Secretary Jessica Shirley. “In 2023, DEP committed to providing the resources so that these communities could invest in themselves, and we are delivering on that promise. DEP worked over many months to hold community meetings and make sure Pennsylvanians’ voices were heard throughout this process.”

Since the fund was announced, DEP’s Office of Environmental Justice helped convene a 17-member steering committee to outline the process and protocol for allocating the funding and a nine-member advisory board to select the projects for funding. The Pittsburgh Foundation was named as the trustee to manage and disburse the funds, and DEP expects that project applicants will begin to receive funding to launch and execute projects in approximately four weeks. 

“These projects will support and revitalize communities throughout the Beaver Valley and help them continue to thrive,” said DEP Special Deputy Secretary for the Office of Environmental Justice, Fernando Treviño.“We’re grateful to the Beaver County community, leaders, and charitable organizations serving county residents for coming to the table and working together engage, learn, and help realize our goal of a community-driven process. In a sense, the real work begins now as organizations receive funding and launch projects and Beaver County residents begin to see positive benefits in their communities.”

“I am excited and looking forward to seeing the positive impact on our county that this funding will have,” said Penn State Beaver’s Chancellor and Chief Academic Officer Carey McDougall, member of the steering committee. “With a focus on mitigating the environmental impacts from the Shell Cracker Plant, the selected projects will clearly improve our environment and benefit the health and quality of life of our citizens. The numerous applications are evidence that Beaver County is well positioned to advance our future but in need of fiscal support like this to make positive and lasting change. These funds will be a beginning to that work.”

"The proposals submitted underscored the necessity of both our local organizations and the county at large,” said the Franklin Center’s Executive Director Cheryl King, PhD, and member of the steering committee. “The nonprofits recognized a distinctive chance to enhance Beaver County and took advantage of it. Also, congratulations to the organizations whose projects were granted awards. To those whose projects were not selected, please explore alternative funding avenues, as your projects merit implementation."

The Environmental Mitigation Community Fund advisory board will hold a community meeting to answer questions and close out the process on Wednesday, May 29, 2024 from 6:00 to 8:00 PM at Penn State Beaver’s Student Union Lodge at 100 University Drive, Monaca, PA 15061. Applicants may also join virtual office hours for more private discussions on applications and additional funding opportunities in the county. Additional information and details will be posted on DEP’s community information webpage for the fund

The Beaver County Environmental Mitigation Community Fund projects recommended for funding are: 

B F Jones Memorial Library

Awarded $184,000 for a full-time social worker to rotate through the 10 public library sites on a bi-weekly basis to provide Beaver County residents support for life issues like social and mental health concerns and assist library staff with community outreach. 

Bags & Blessings

Awarded $20,000 for a healthy lifestyle project to educate the community and provide healthy skills to handle physical and mental strains of a cancer diagnosis. Classes will include acupuncture, strengthening your body, healthy healing, balance, nutrition, yoga/healthy minds, church-related counseling. 

Beaver County Marcellus Awareness Community (BCMAC)

Awarded $631,534.22 to assess the quality of air Beaver County on a continual basis and share data with residents in real-time; provide mobile air monitoring; inform county residents of the presence of real-time air monitors and data so they can make informed decisions; gather data through surveys; and determine if air pollution in the county has biometric outcomes for residents. 

Beaver Falls Community Development Corporation in partnership with Geneva College and the Beaver Falls Municipal Authority (BFMA)

Awarded $288,010.54 to install water-quality monitoring stations in Beaver River to continuously assess key water metrics and improve response time to water quality issues by improving BFMA’s access to laboratory testing. 

Borough of Ambridge

Awarded $135,375 to complete a 102-kilowatt solar system on the Ambridge Municipal Complex Building to address escalating electricity costs, a considerable long-term concern for the municipality and a measurable tax burden on the community. 

Awarded $43,220 for site visits, feasibility assessments, and to install publicly accessible, affordable electric vehicle (EV) charging at one site in Ambridge to improve the environment, health, and quality of life for borough residents. This project will also include awareness, education, and engagement activities for Ambridge residents, businesses, and nonprofits to learn about EV charging and gain input on how they think EV charging can benefit their community. 

Borough of Monaca

Awarded $276,040 to promote health and wellness in the borough with upgrades to John A Antoline Community Park, which currently has a softball field, basketball court, children’s playground, horseshoe pits, parking and four pavilions. Upgrades will help borough provide families with areas of recreation, healthy lifestyle options, and a scenic view. 

Brighton First

Awarded $72,000 to construct a new pavilion at the New Brighton Kids Community Garden for more frequent and meaningful community engagement and to further the organization’s mission to provide a sustainable and safe healthy garden environment for children in the community to learn and explore gardening for food and fun. 

The Center in Midland

Awarded $68,000 to provide 600 families served by the organization with safe, clean drinking water at The Center in Midland, their homes, and schools. 

Communicycle Beaver County Inc.

Awarded $105,055 to increase bicycle collection sites in Beaver County from three to 11, complete the buildout of a new, permanent workshop, provide bike locks, work with partners to install bike racks in four communities, and purchase 3 additional scrap metal trailers to accommodate the growth of the program.

Crop and Kettle

Awarded $295,000 to address food access and equity issues in Beaver County and provide enhanced opportunities for community engagement and development. The project will create new jobs, support workforce training, further agricultural education, facilitate bridges across all facets of the food system, connect residents to locally grown foods, and strengthen the local food economy. 

Interdependence Conservancy Inc.

Awarded $277,100 to conduct a two-year study of the overall health of Raccoon Creek in Beaver County and to identify potential projects to improve its water quality and biodiversity. 

Neighborhood North Museum of Play

Awarded $145,240 to create two exhibits to support the museum’s sustainable development goals: 1) a solar array installed on the roof of the News Tribune Building that will power an exhibit within the museum and educate children and families on alternative energy and 2) an exhibit that will open in the museum’s preview space and later expanded to demonstrate how shredded plastic bottles can be recycled to create filament for a large-scale 3D printer to eliminate waste and create 3D printed art or for use in schools. 

New Brighton Area School District

Awarded $578,000 to complete a solar feasibility study and develop a large-scale solar installation to address escalating electricity costs, a considerable long-term concern for the school district. 

Portobello Cultural Life & Arts Center Inc.

Awarded $50,000 to organize a three-day educational film festival focused on environmental issues and solutions in the heart of Beaver Falls. The festival will feature a curated selection of films, discussions, workshops, and exhibits aimed at educating and inspiring environmental action. 

Reforest Our Future

Awarded $292,071 to install the Reforest Our Future Native Tree Nursery and Environmental Education Center at Brady’s Run Park with the support of the Beaver County Commissioners. The facility will produce native trees to be installed in Beaver County parks and throughout the county where they are needed most and will serve as a hub for regular educational programming tailored to the full range of age groups. This multipurpose facility has the potential to form the backbone of an environmental movement in our county, catalyzing reforestation and all the benefits that increased tree canopy has to offer.

The Watersmith Guild in partnership with Outdoor Immersion

Awarded $34,290 to provide underserved youth in Beaver County with meaningful outdoor experiences and empower actions that improve health, wellbeing, and the environment. The First Waves Beaver project will consist of three events per year focused on education and conservation serving 15-30 Beaver County 13 to 20-year-olds selected through a partnership with Outdoor Immersion, a Beaver County nonprofit with extensive experience engaging youth in the outdoors. Each workshop will include instruction from leaders and award-winning curriculum, providing hands-on science and conservation projects at no cost to the participants and will take place on local waterways. Participants will also learn to document their experiences to create their own documentary films. 

Three Rivers Waterkeeper in partnership with (BCMAC)

Awarded $135,417.84 to increase waterway monitoring, expand watershed education, conduct monthly on-the-water baseline and location-focused water quality sampling, train community members to identify pollution sources, and enact a crucial expansion of Three Rivers Waterkeeper’s conservation program by establishing an early detection program. 

Trails Ministries, Inc.

Awarded $500,000 to safely deconstruct dangerous buildings, salvage as much usable material and capture as much carbon as possible, and create a competent, trained workforce of people re-entering society after being incarcerated.

United Way of Beaver County

Awarded $125,000 to support the ALICE Fund, which provides mini grants to Beaver County charities providing the essentials to asset-limited, income-constrained, employed (ALICE) households that earn more than the federal poverty level but less than the basic cost of living. 

Women’s Center of Beaver County

Awarded $500,000 to renovate its emergency shelter to enhance accessibility for all victims and survivors of domestic violence and homeless women and children. Safe shelter is critical in assisting victims and other homeless individuals to address barriers that prevent them from obtaining or sustaining income and housing and maintaining positive mental and physical health. The Women’s Center of Beaver County provides the only 24-hour emergency shelter facility for women and children in Beaver County.


More information can be found on more information can be found on DEP's community information webpage for the fund