Unprecedented challenges have been a theme for many throughout 2020-2021, and nonprofits in the region are no exception. But thanks to a partnership between green|spaces and Southface Institute, several have already been able to reduce overhead costs — as well as their carbon footprint.
The goal of the GoodUse Grant, available through Southface and facilitated in the Chattanooga area by green|spaces, is to help nonprofits redirect more money internally so they can invest further into their missions — ensuring their dollars stay focused on where they can have the most impact in their communities.
Southface Institute began building capacity to fund mission-driven work in 2008 with the Grants to Green program, transitioning to GoodUse in 2018. GoodUse now helps build sustainability and resiliency in nonprofits over a 26 state reach. Locally, past recipients like the Creative Discovery Museum have used the matching funds for low-emissivity glass for their iconic building.
“We are grateful for our partnerships with Southface Institute and green|spaces,” said Henry Schulson, CDM’s executive director. “The support of both organizations helps the museum achieve its goal of being an environmentally friendly and sustainable institution. Additionally, it has allowed us to expand our sustainability initiatives inside of the museum and through our education programs.”
Leslie Gower, executive director of the Associated General Contractors of East Tennessee, is leading the development of a new local trade school — which was one of several local recent recipients. “Thanks to the Southface's Good Use Grant and technical support from green|spaces, the Construction Career Center will be Chattanooga’s first carbon-neutral building and will serve as a model for industry-leading construction practices with innovative educational labs for students,” Gower said.
The matching grant is available to nonprofit organizations that own their own space or have a long term lease, and is incrementally available in amounts of $30,000-$75,000.
Michael Walton, executive director of green|spaces, said he wants to see more nonprofits look at how the financial and environmental cost of their operations might be affecting the potential efficacy of their mission. “Every dollar we spend is a vote for something, and especially when funding is hard to come by for nonprofits like us, we have to make sure we are squeezing every last ounce of value out of them,” he explained. “When we invest in energy efficiency, we’re investing in a better future for our organizations, our community, and our planet.”
Chattanooga nonprofits are uniquely positioned to use existing resources through EPB to better prepare and plan for efficiency upgrades, particularly those seeking grant funding. Through EPB Energy Services, nonprofits can receive a free commercial check-up to highlight high-priority projects that can then be included in their GoodUse grant application. (To get started, customers can visit epb.com/business/energy/energy-solutions.)
“EPB applauds efforts to use energy efficiently and we congratulate the winners of these grants,” said Elizabeth Hammitt, EPB director of Residential Energy and Environmental Solutions. “As a municipal utility with a mission to serve the community, we focus on enhancing job creation and quality of life, and one of the ways we do that is by helping our customers make the most of their energy dollars.”
In addition to services for commercial customers, EPB supports residential customers by offering free Home Energy Checkups and phone consultations with an EPB Energy Pro. These services are available to both renters and homeowners; visit epb.com/energy.
Past GoodUse Grant recipients include The Boys and Girls Club, Reflection Riding Arboretum and Nature Center, Chattanooga Food Bank, Speech and Hearing Center, First Baptist Church, the Construction Career Center, The Bethlehem Center, Creative Discovery Museum, and Metropolitan Ministries.
GoodUse Grants next deadline dates are Oct. 1 for fall applications and Feb. 4, 2022 for spring. To get more information, grant application assistance, or to see if your organization is eligible for the next round of grants, contact Kelley Cureton at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To find out more about green|spaces’ work or to get involved in the sustainability of living, working, and building, visit www.greenspaceschattanooga.org.