Together with Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation, Gulf Coast has fulfilled a $200,000 match for a pilot solar investment program as part of the Partner for Green Places initiative. The initial match was kick-started in 2019 by an anonymous donor with Community Foundation of Sarasota County.
The solar program stems from the original donor’s desire to improve sustainability and inspire others to invest in attainable green solutions. Launched alongside Partners for Green Places in October 2019, the program compliments the mission of reducing operational costs for nonprofit organizations while advancing alternative-energy use.
“Helping our nonprofit partners invest in clean, renewable energy is a win for the organizations and their missions and a win for our community,” said Mark S. Pritchett, President and CEO of Gulf Coast. “We appreciate the vision of the Community Foundation philanthropist who catalyzed this smart, collaborative program and the opportunity for Gulf Coast to be part of it.”
To access the solar program, nonprofit organizations will apply for low-interest funding to finance renewable energy investments and adopt solar power at their facilities. What’s more, as the loans are paid back by the organizations, the funds will be reinvested in community-wide solar-education projects.
A Collaboration from the Start
In 2018, the county and city of Sarasota, along with Gulf Coast and Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation, secured a $150,000 national matching grant for a project to create financial savings for area environmental and human-services nonprofits through energy improvements at their facilities. The innovative program provides the agencies with “energy roadmaps” that outline cost-saving investments in efficiency and renewable energy upgrades.
Awarded by Partners for Places, a project of the Funders’ Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities, the grant has seeded a movement here in our region that we now know as Partners for Green Places. Since its launch two years ago, the collaboration has expanded and continues to inspire nonprofit organizations and, now, businesses to play a leading role in the adoption of sustainable practices.
“We are grateful to those who are pushing the conversation around renewable energy to the forefront of the nonprofit community,” says Teri A Hansen, President | CEO of Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation. “Only through collaboration can we create a more sustainable future.”