In May 2023, the Biden administration announced that it would be providing $45 million dollars in funding to reduce carbon emissions, improve health and safety and lower utilities costs in buildings owned and operated by nonprofit organizations.
Launched by the Department of Energy (DOE) through funding provided by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the DOE hailed the Renew America’s Nonprofits grant as a “First of its kind investment in the nonprofit sector” with an aim to “Help nonprofits make high-impact energy efficiency improvements that will create cleaner, healthier community spaces, while generating sustainable savings so that critical funds can be redirected toward mission-driven work.”
After receiving numerous applications from 32 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico, in October 2023 the DOE announced nine selectees for the grand funding:
- Alaska Heat Smart, Juneau, Alaska
- Ecology Action, Santa Cruz, Calif.
- Mid America Regional Council Community Services Corporation, Kansas City, Mo.
- Medici Road, Washington, D.C.
- Southface Energy Institute, Atlanta
- Sustainable Westchester, Mount Kisco, N.Y.
- Tierra Del Sol Housing Corporation, Las Cruces, N.M.
- University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, Colo.
- University of Detroit Mercy, Detroit
The recipients will collaborate in delivering improvements to over 300 facilities nationwide.
Selectees will focus on high-impact energy upgrades, including HVAC, lighting, insulation and air-sealing, yielding an almost 40% savings in projected energy costs.
There are approximately 1.5 million 501(c)(3) nonprofits in America, operating in more than half a million facilities, including libraries, museums and hospitals and clinics, while employing the largest workforce in the country—more than 12.4 million people.
The importance of nonprofits’ work was encapsulated by U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm: “Nonprofits promote social cohesion, public health, creativity and innovation—all of which are essential to thriving communities.” And yet most operate on shoestring budgets, often struggling to meet the demands of the communities they serve.With energy costs being the second highest operational expense behind salary, reductions in those costs through building improvements can lead to savings that can be redirected back into the organizations. This offers a win for these organizations, as well as their patrons and local workforces including electrical contractors and other construction workers.