Environmental impact grants available to nonprofits

ATLANTA - Are you involved with a nonprofit organization that would be interested in "greening up" its building and work environment? Launched in April 2008, Grants to Green provides environmentally focused knowledge and funding to strengthen nonprofits in the 23-county metro Atlanta region.

A partnership between The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta, Southface and Enterprise Community Partners, Grants to Green gives metro Atlanta nonprofits the opportunity to renovate or build healthier work places that are energy and water efficient as well as environmentally efficient.

The ultimate goal is to improve a nonprofit organization's building structure to not only have less of an environmental impact, but also to increase the cost-efficiency or operations, ideally saving more finances to provide more services. The Kendeda Fund, a donor of The Community Foundation, acts as the primary source of funds for Grants to Green.

Nonprofits can receive two types of support through Grants to Green - an assessment award or an implementation award. Assessment awards provide overall environmental assessments of nonprofits' building structures to find opportunities for improvement and efficiencies.

As a leader in providing responsible solutions for environmental living, Southface brings its expertise to the initiative by providing the assessments. Implementation awards provide the financial support to put recommendations from the assessments into place.

Only assessment grants will be awarded during the spring cycle of Grants to Green. The deadline for the Assessment Letter of Intent is April 13. The letter of intent is the new, first step in the Grants to Green application process, similar to several of The Community Foundation's other grant-making programs. Applications are completed only after Grants to Green has recommended that a nonprofit continue with the application process.

Visit The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta's Web site to learn more and to complete the Letter of Intent form.

"The Community Foundation is focused on finding ways to strengthen and support effective nonprofits in the region," said President Alicia Philipp. "Grants to Green helps by encouraging nonprofit organizations to consider environmental sustainability a key element in their long-term operational success."

"Nonprofits realize that now is the time to focus on the sustainability of an organization," said Dennis Creech, executive director of Southface. "By improving the efficiencies of operations, nonprofits are being both environmentally responsible and fiscally conservative."

A key part of the Grants to Green initiative is requiring a Green Champion at each nonprofit organization that receives an award. The Green Champion is responsible for raising awareness and making energy efficiency and/or green building central to the organization's mission and operations. This helps to not only make sure the initial environmental improvements are successfully shepherded through the organization, but it also ensures a focus on long-term sustainability.