The Issue: Impact of Resources on Nonprofits’ Reach
Although 85% of nonprofit organizations expected an increase in service demand in 2011, only 46% expected to find the resources to meet that demand, according to survey data from the Bank of America Charitable Foundation. Without adequate resources, nonprofits have to cut funding from their services to cover their operational costs. When resources are limited, then, having lower energy costs can mean the difference between a program surviving or being eliminated.
The Campaign: Installing Solar Arrays to Lower Energy Costs
All donations to this Grassroots campaign will be used by Black Rock Solar to build a $112,000 solar array for FISH (Friends in Service Helping), a nonprofit organization that provides food, shelter, medical services, and job opportunities for nearly 20,000 people experiencing homelessness annually. For every $500 this Grassroots campaign raises, Black Rock Solar can install two solar panels. With a $97,000 rebate from the power company, and $12,120 from a recent fundraiser, Black Rock Solar is currently $3,000 from fulfilling its total goal for the solar array.
By generating electricity for the organization to run, these solar panels will save FISH thousands of dollars a year—enough to fund insulin for diabetic patients with no health coverage and food for the on-site soup kitchen. Already, the solar arrays that Black Rock Solar has installed for other nonprofits and underserved populations save a total of more than $50,000 on electric bills annually.
Black Rock Solar
Although today Black Rock Solar empowers nonprofits, schools, and underserved populations by providing low-cost energy, its beginnings were less defined. In the sweltering Black Rock Desert of northern Nevada a volunteer group installed a solar array for the 2007 Burning Man event—themed that year as the Green Man. Their giant array provided more than 50,000 people with energy while they partied, but afterward, when the ash of the burning figure settled, the solar panels remained. The group donated the array to the school system of Gerlach, the tiny desert town nearby, and the seeds of Black Rock Solar were sown.
From those beginnings, Black Rock went on to build solar arrays at reduced prices for partners such as Pershing General Hospital, Pyramid Lake High School, the Fallon Paiute Shoshone Tribe, and other organizations that could benefit from low-cost energy but lacked the means to procure it. The arrays help reduce the organizations' utility bills so they can devote more resources to their central causes. Also by spreading solar power, Black Rock actively involves these organizations and the public at large in environmental stewardship, spreading clean energy and education.
See how Groupon helps you discover local causes and lend a helping hand at the Groupon Grassroots blog.