Partner Spotlight: APANO

APANO is part of our IRA Community Forestry Grant’s 11-member coalition

For Alisa Kajikawa, it’s all about finding the balance of working toward the dream and working for the present. She’s APANO’s Community Development Manager for the Jade District, and we spoke to her about APANO’s vision for the community forestry coalition.

APANO is part of the 11-member coalition led by Friends of Trees that was awarded a $12 million Urban and Community Forestry Grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture as part of the Inflation Reduction Act grants. The grant will fund community forestry work including tree planting, natural area restoration, post-planting care, community education, opportunities for direct community input and participation, and workforce training.

APANO unites Asians and Pacific Islanders to build power, develop leaders, and advance equity through organizing, advocacy, community development and cultural work. Their coalition work will be geared toward education and outreach, workforce development, and community infrastructure.

“We can’t grow canopy overnight,” Alisa says. “What can we do now that will still help alleviate pollution and heat in our community?”

For APANO, it means a few things, like working with businesses in the Jade district to host planter boxes filled with native plants. It means hosting community workshops on environmental justice and heat impacts. And it means thinking big picture about creating a transportation system that doesn’t rely on cars.

Alisa is excited about all the possibilities that the coalition can bring.

“When have we ever had 11 different organizations coming together as one coalition for a cohesive goal? It’s really awesome,” she says. “Hopefully this is a case study for the future, showing what happens when we stop working in silos and work toward a shared goal in different ways.”