Two years after Hurricane Katrina flooded 80% of New Orleans and damaged more than 200,000 homes, Brad Pitt visited the historic Lower 9th Ward. What he found was a community still reeling from the storm, a lack of progress in rebuilding efforts, and a nation slowly forgetting about the disaster. So Pitt founded Make It Right to build safe, sustainable, and affordable homes in the neighborhood hardest hit by the storm. He called upon 21 world-renowned architects to design 150 climate-adapted, eco-friendly homes. The resulting buildings would not only help rebuild New Orleans, but demonstrate to the world that high-quality, green housing could be made affordably.
Today Make It Right has built 100 LEED Platinum houses for Lower 9th Ward residents and continues to break ground on a new home every month. Each home follows architect William McDonough's Cradle to Cradle design principle, which touts renewable energy and social fairness. The homes are powered by renewable energy and help to improve water quality by using pervious concrete.
But the homes have also served as an experiment in cost-effective eco-friendly building, and Make It Right has made it a point to spread the knowledge gained. Not only has the organization built an open library of resources, but it has taken the lessons learned on the road. In addition to its ongoing work in New Orleans, Make It Right is also working with underserved communities in Missouri, New Jersey, and Montana.
**No donation is necessary to enter or win, and a donation will not increase your chances of winning. To enter without donation, you must handwrite on a 3x5 card labeled ?Grassroots Epic Deal ? Make It Right Sweepstakes Entry? your full name, complete address, home and daytime telephone number (including area code),e-mail address and date of birth (all of which must be legible) and mail it with proper postage to: ?Attention: Grassroots Epic Deal ? Make It Right Sweepstakes Entry,? Groupon, Inc., 600 West Chicago Avenue, Ste. 400, Chicago, IL 60654. See Official Rules for additional requirements. Odds of winning depend on the total number of entries received. Void where prohibited by law. Sweepstakes only open to legal residents of the 50 U.S. or D.C., 18+. Entry period ends: 11:59 p.m. CT on 5/1/14. ARV of prize: $24,000. Sponsor: Groupon, Inc., 600 West Chicago Avenue, Ste. 400, Chicago, IL 60654.
Global Green USA, the American affiliate of Green Cross International, works to foster a global shift toward a more sustainable future by advocating for green building projects and jobs in addition to other climate solutions. Through its community-based projects, such as NOLA Wise, Global Green helps implement environmental policy, educate hundreds of millions of people annually, and leverage billions of dollars for environmental initiatives. Currently, one of the organization's main initiatives is helping public agencies and developers of public housing create sustainable neighborhoods with LEED standards, hoping to rebuild the damaged areas of New Orleans with the environment in mind.
Crescent City Farmers Market operates markets in three locations, attracting more than 120,000 shoppers each year. Along with locally grown produce, market vendors sell freshly baked goods, cut flowers, farm-raised meat, and wild-caught Louisiana seafood.
The market also conducts community programming such as the Marketeer Club, which engages kids in fun activities to encourage good eating habits and a positive, healthy relationship with food starting at a young age. Other projects include the farmers' market bingo and Meet Me at the Market, which provides opportunities for seniors to socialize and gain access to fresh, nutritious food.
For more than 29 years, NO/AIDS Task Force, a United Way Partner agency, has worked to reduce the spread of HIV while protecting the rights and dignity of HIV-affected individuals. Working with the recognition that HIV/AIDS has physical, mental, emotional, and social complications, NO/AIDS assists its clients with a wide spectrum of outreach services at little to no cost, including a medical clinic, food pantry, and housing. Additionally, NO/AIDS offers free oral HIV-testing with state-certified counselors at a variety of sites in the greater New Orleans area.
Under its Citizens for Light initiative, Green Light New Orleans aims to install 343,829 CFLs—one for every resident of the city—by May 1. Any inhabitant of the greater New Orleans area may request CFLs, regardless of income. If Green Light New Orleans meets its goal, local residents will save nearly $16 million on their utility bills while reducing the city's carbon footprint by 154 million pounds of CO2.
In keeping with its efforts to increase access to fresh food, the NOFFN's City Farms Program created Garden Builds: small, localized garden plots that help to restructure local food systems. The program sponsors 4'x10' raised garden beds in backyards, community gardens, or on school grounds, with the goal help to transform local access to food by providing up to 600 pounds of freshly grown food per bed for low-income families. In addition to supervision throughout the process of installing and populating the garden beds, the NOFFN provides growers with soil, manure, fertilizer, seeds, and pesticides. In the past eight years, the NOFFN has built more than 200 community gardens.