October 12, 2000

Brad Ferris
Rene Carter


EPA program to reclaim valuable property among 10 recipients of $100,000 grants

(WASHINGTON) - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Brownfields Economic Redevelopment Initiative was honored today with a $100,000 grant and national recognition as a recipient of an Innovations in American Government Award. The Brownfields Initiative was among 10 winners chosen in one of the nation's most prestigious public service awards programs. The EPA was recognized for its effort which began five years ago as an interesting idea and has since blossomed into a major national program that is revitalizing blighted properties and sparking beneficial development in depressed areas.

"The founders of our nation were people of vision and innovation, and their legacy has been a dynamic, smart and responsive government that is the envy of the world. All of the finalist programs, and countless more which were not a part of the competition, keep faith with the spirit of government innovation that gave birth to the United States," said Susan V. Berresford, president of the Ford Foundation. The Innovations in American Government Awards program brings public attention to the quality and responsiveness of American government at all levels and helps to foster the replication of innovative approaches to meeting the challenges facing government.

More than 85 percent of the programs receiving Innovations awards over the past 14 years have been replicated. The Program is funded by the Ford Foundation and administered by the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in partnership with the Council for Excellence in Government. The Ford Foundation has made grants totaling $15.9 million since the Innovations program began in 1986.

"I am honored that the Brownfields Program has been selected to receive such a prestigious award," said Timothy Fields, Jr., EPA assistant administrator. "The strong partnership forged by the Brownfields Program is recognized today, and that partnership deserves the credit for this honor. Through this program, the EPA will continue to help make our communities across the country healthier, cleaner places for all Americans to live and work."

Representatives of the 25 finalist programs arrived in Washington earlier this week to vie for the Innovations award. The three-day competition included a 15-minute presentation from each program before the National Selection Committee, which is made up of public policy experts and former public officials.

"With less than four weeks until we elect local, state and federal leaders, it is appropriate to step back from the heat of the campaign to reflect on just how vital and creative government can be," said David Gergen, chairman of the National Selection Committee. "Our winners this year suggest that the wave of innovation in government is gaining strong momentum, a promising sign for the future."

Brownfields Background

The Brownfields Program strives to remove environmental uncertainties and galvanize existing local creativity, state ingenuity and free enterprise to leverage cleanup and redevelopment funding. The program has revolutionized federal management of the prevention, assessment, cleanup and redevelopment of property suspected of being contaminated from industrial use. More than 1,900 Brownfields site assessments have been funded to determine the true extent of any contamination, and nearly 600 have been found suitable to be returned immediately to productive use. Because of these assessments, more than $100 million in cleanup and more than $2.3 billion in public and private cleanup dollars have been leveraged, while creating more than 7,000 jobs.

In 1999, Brownfields officials removed contamination uncertainties from more than 1,900 properties and relieved developer fears while offering community-enhancing alternatives to building on pristine lands and greenspaces.

About the Innovations Partners

Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government is a graduate school of public policy dedicated to preparing leaders for service in government and contributing to the solution of important public problems.

The Ford Foundation, established in 1936, is a private, nonprofit institution that serves as a resource for innovative people and institutions worldwide. Its goals are to strengthen democratic values, reduce poverty and injustice, promote international cooperation and advance human achievement. A national and international philanthropy with assets over $13 billion, the Foundation has granted more than $10 billion in grants and loans worldwide. The Foundation maintains headquarters in New York City and has offices in Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Latin America, and Russia.

The Council for Excellence in Government is a national, nonprofit and nonpartisan organization whose 750 members have served as senior public-sector officials. The Council's mission is to improve the performance of government by strengthening results-oriented management and creative leadership in the public sector, and build understanding in government by focusing public discussion on its role and responsibilities.

For more information on the Innovations in American Government program and the winners of this year's competition, please visit the Innovations home page at

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