The Biden administration has announced $45 million in grants to help nonprofits improve their buildings’ energy efficiency.
Applications are open to 501(c)(3) status nonprofits for the Renew America’s Nonprofits grant, which is authorized by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
501(c)(3) status is a federal designation awarded by the IRS, and there are around 1.5 million 501(c)(3) nonprofits in the US, including everything from libraries, community centers, and hospitals to places of worship, animal shelters, museums, youth sports leagues, food banks, and more.
Nonprofits employ the third-largest workforce in the US economy – more than 12.4 million people. They also operate more than 500,000 facilities, mostly in commercial spaces, where efficiency improvements could reduce energy use by up to 30%. Most nonprofits operate on annual budgets of less than $500,000, so energy savings could potentially build organizational and community resiliency and increase their service capacities.
The competitive grant program is a first-of-its-kind engagement between the US Department of Energy and the nonprofit sector, and it’s going to use an aggregation model to distribute and manage the grant money. DOE will award between 5 and 15 larger grants to nonprofits interested in serving as Prime Recipients or program leads. Prime Recipients will award grant funds and provide technical assistance to Subrecipients for energy efficiency upgrades. In other words, it’s a “nonprofits-supporting-nonprofits” model.
Ultimately, hundreds of nonprofit facilities are expected to be represented across these project bundles, and DOE’s program is particularly aiming to benefit historically disadvantaged communities.
US Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm said:
Nonprofits promote social cohesion, public health, creativity, and innovation — all of which are essential to strong and resilient communities.
With this funding, DOE is helping nonprofits amplify their impacts. Every dollar saved is a dollar that can be reinvested in crucial community services, all while helping us achieve President Biden’s goal of a net-zero emissions economy by 2050.
All nonprofits interested in participating in the Renew America’s Nonprofits grant are encouraged to join the Teaming List.
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Photo: “Energy efficient light bulb” by Sean MacEntee is licensed under CC BY 2.0.
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Author: Michelle Lewis