“Making A Difference” Towards a More Sustainable Future

This story originally appeared in the Saporta Report Thought Leaders column in November, 2016.

As we officially enter the 2016 holiday season, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on this incredible year. I am humbled and excited to be joining Southface as its President in January; an organization with a 38-year legacy of excellence under Dennis’s leadership and vision. Southface is an amazing organization with a bright future, talented staff, committed board and excellent partners, but it also takes supportive communities to truly make a difference.

One of my favorite quotes is from Jane Goodall:

“What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.”

“Making a Difference” and working towards a more sustainable future is core to who Southface is as an organization. So many of the programs and initiatives impact the lives and support the livelihoods of so many around the Southeast and across the U.S. including:

  • Being a leader in energy and water efficiency and healthy design for new and existing homes, commercial space and neighborhoods;
  • Managing the EarthCraft certification program, the strongest regional green building program in the nation, certifying 40,000 homes—many providing housing for low and moderate income families;
  • Being the Technical Advisor for the Atlanta Better Buildings Challenge which leads the nation with over 100 million square feet of commercial real estate pledging to reduce energy and water usage by 20 percent by 2020;
  • Partnering with the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta and The Kendeda Fund to manage Grants to Green, a national model for energy and water efficiency, saving more than $1 million annually for nonprofit organizations;
  • As this program is so successful in Metro Atlanta, we aspire to catalyze similar programs in other communities and reach a goal of 10,000 nonprofits saving money on utilities so that they can better serve their communities;
  • Leading policy work in areas including building energy codes, affordable housing and clean energy helping to remove barriers and open markets for renewable and clean energy; and
  • Looking towards the future, setting a course to work on resiliency, green infrastructure and water policy.

In this time of uncertainty and change, each and every one of us needs to decide what kind of difference we want to make in our own communities. This Giving Tuesday, November 29, I hope you will continue to support Southface who is charting a course focused on a regenerative economy, responsible resource use and social equity through a healthy built environment for all.


Southface promotes sustainable homes, workplaces and communities through education, research, advocacy and technical assistance.


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