The Grants to Green story began when The Kendeda Fund approached leadership of the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta (CFGA) in 2007 with a bright idea. The Kendeda Fund wanted to initiate a grant-making program that would transform the nonprofit sector by encouraging nonprofits to renovate or build healthier workplaces that are energy, water and resource efficient. The program’s tenth anniversary is quickly approaching – that means 10 years of improving nonprofit facilities in order to minimize environmental impact and increase the cost-efficiency of operations, thus creating savings that could be put back into important nonprofit missions.
Grants to Green has funded a diverse array of nonprofits across the Southeast including schools, hospitals, homeless shelters, museums and theatres. Improving nonprofit outcomes through energy and water savings has a tremendous impact on communities across the Southeast and on the environment. Grants to Green started with just 20 organizations in 2008 and has grown to nearly 200 nonprofits improving their work for those in need. Collectively, Grants to Green participants have saved more than $4 million on utility bills, and these savings provide real impact when it comes to serving communities.
“We now have extra money to provide our kids with new opportunities because of our savings from energy and water efficiency upgrades,” said Neal Zimmerman, Executive Director of the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Pee Dee Area. “The Club in Florence, SC was able to save $8,000 this year. With that extra money we were able to take our members on a college trip. It was the first time they’ve been on a college campus. They were able to meet with students and admissions staff to get exposed to college life and understand what it takes to apply.”
The Grants to Green program has been recognized locally for its excellence and impact as a strategic partner in the Atlanta Better Buildings Challenge and by the Metro Atlanta Chamber as winner of the Community Strong Award at the 2016 E3 Awards. On a national level, program participants including the Woodruff Arts Center, Atlanta Neighborhood Charter Schools and The Frazer Center, were recognized for their building performance in the EPA’s ENERGY STAR National Building Competition. Participants such as the Atlanta Community ToolBank, Atlanta Realtors Center and Rhodes Hall have achieved ENERGY STAR certification, and ENERGY STAR certified facilities outperform 75 percent of similar facilities across the country.
Grants to Green continues to transform the nonprofit sector every day and looks forward to the next 10 years of helping nonprofits do great work.