Local Nonprofits Saving Money and the Environment: October 19, 2009

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GrantsToGreenLogo_1A greater awareness of environmental issues and growing energy costs has virtually every industry looking to adopt eco-friendly practices into their work. The nonprofit sector is no exception. Going green is helping organizations reduce their environmental impact and at the same time improve their bottom line.

Grants to Green has helped dozens of metro Atlanta nonprofits to do just that.

Launched one year ago, Grants to Green gives nonprofits the opportunity to renovate or build healthier work places that are energy and water efficient and environmentally efficient. Through the program, a partnership between The Community Foundation and Southface, nonprofits can apply for Assessment awards to identify areas of improvement or Implementation grants, which allow the nonprofit to receive funding for specific recommendations.

“Approximately half of all energy generated in America is used to power buildings and other aspects of the built environment,” says Dennis Creech, executive director of Southface. “Managers of nonprofit organizations in the Atlanta region are acutely aware of the need to operate buildings that use natural resources efficiently and in environmentally sustainable ways. Long term, nonprofits can play a significant role in helping reduce Atlanta’s carbon footprint.”

In just one year, Grants to Green has already seen success. Nonprofits that received Implementation grants during the program’s first round of grants have reduced their energy consumption by 16 percent thus far. This equates to removing 41 cars from the road, saving roughly 380,000 lbs of CO2, known for its danger to environmental and human health. As more nonprofits continue to build green and implement green practices, these savings are expected to grow. 

Also noteworthy is the amount of dollars Grants to Green has helped nonprofit to save. It’s projected that the same cohort of grantees will save roughly $61,000 in annual operations costs. Even nonprofits receiving Assessment grants during the first grant cycle have reduced their energy costs by as much as 8 percent, forecasting an annual cost savings of approximately $60,000. In the case of these nonprofits, considerable costs savings have come with no financial investment or grant.

“Many businesses and organizations fear it’s too costly to adopt green practices; however we’re seeing that small changes can make a real difference,” says Alicia Phillip, president of The Community Foundation. “By making simple changes such as adjusting temperature settings, clearing blocked vents and turning off lights, computers and other devices, these nonprofits have saved valuable dollars,” she says. “A reduction in operations costs can mean more finances to provide more services to more people. Today more than ever, every dollar counts for nonprofits many struggling to operate in these tough times.”

To date, Grants to Green has conducted three funding cycles. Organizations that have received Assessment awards include CARE, Spelman College and Imagine It! The Children’s Museum Atlanta, Inc. Organizations receiving Implementation grants include, Jewish Family and Career Services, Woodruff Arts Center and Atlanta Botanical Garden.

Nonprofits interested in applying for an Assessment award or Implementation grant have until October 26 to submit a Letter of Intent for Funding. For more information about Grants to Green, including program guidelines, click here.