The Issue: Limited Funding Reduces Nonprofits’ Impact
According to survey data from the Bank of America Charitable Foundation, although 85% of nonprofit organizations expected an increase in service demand in 2011, only 46% considered themselves able to meet that demand. This trend forces nonprofits to cut funding in vital service areas due to their cost of existing. Providing access to clean energy is one way to help nonprofit organizations reduce costs so they can focus their funding on charitable work. Additionally, clean energy sources can reduce overall pollution and create green jobs in urban areas.
The Campaign: Solar Arrays Provide Clean, Affordable Energy
If this Grassroots campaign raises $500, then nonprofit Black Rock Solar can supply one 225-watt solar panel for The Shade Tree, a shelter for survivors of domestic abuse. The solar panel will be part of a minimum 28-kilowatt AC solar-electric array composed of many individual panels. The photovoltaic modules will generate electricity from the sun to save the organization approximately $7,000 per year in utility bills, which can then be used to fund food and housing for the women the organization serves. The array will also provide electricity to Noah’s Animal House on The Shade Tree's campus, which allows women and children to bring their pets when fleeing abusive situations. The array will have an estimated life span of at least 25 years. Each additional $10 raised will help fund another solar panel to help complete the array.
To celebrate the launch of Groupon Grassroots, Groupon will provide a $1,000 kickoff grant to this campaign.
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.