What do solar energy apprenticeships, electric school buses, and plant-based farmers markets have in common? All of these ideas reduce greenhouse gas emissions and ease historic inequities in Georgia--and all of these programs will be supported with new funding over the next two years.
We are proud to announce the six recipients of the 2024-2025 Drawdown Georgia Climate Solutions & Equity Grants. Read on to be inspired by the ambitious and impactful programs this year’s round of grants will fund.
Why Focus on Climate Solutions x Equity?
Everyone on Earth is impacted by climate change--but that doesn’t mean we all experience those impacts in an equal way. As the effects of climate change continue to grow, these disparities will only be exacerbated unless swift action is taken.
When done right, climate solutions lift people up and advance community priorities: this is the ultimate goal of the climate justice movement. Focusing on both equity and climate requires community concerns be addressed and benefits be widely shared.
The Drawdown Georgia Climate Solutions & Equity Grant
Last year, we announced the five recipients of the inaugural Drawdown Georgia Climate Solutions & Equity grants, which aim to advance climate solutions and prioritize equity in our state using the Drawdown Georgia research and solutions as a framework.
This year, six Georgia-based family foundations committed to funding a collective $1.2 million over the next two years for work in our state that is focused on advancing specific climate solutions, including:
Energy Efficiency Improvements
Food Waste Reduction
Funding for the 2024-2025 round of grants was provided by the R. Howard Dobbs, Jr. Foundation and its Dobbs Fund, the Ghanta Family Foundation, The Wilbur & Hilda Glenn Family Foundation, The Ray C. Anderson Foundation’s NextGen Committee, the Reilly Family Fund, and the Tull Charitable Foundation.
Announcing the 2024-2025 Grantees
After reviewing almost 80 submissions, we're proud to announce that six, two-year grants of $100,000 per year will be awarded to fund the following projects from 2024-2025:
Community Farmers Markets
Based in Metro Atlanta, Community Farmers Markets will expand their MARTA Markets program to serve more transit riders with healthy, locally-grown fruits and vegetables. The program rescues leftover food from local farmers markets and divides produce into ready-to-eat, grab-and-go portions conveniently available at Atlanta-area transit stations.
Shoppers can double their SNAP allotments by purchasing produce at MARTA Markets, and farmers receive additional income for produce that may have gone unsold. Funds from the Climate Solutions & Equity grant will also be used to feature Black chefs from the local community to present year-round, seasonally-appropriate cooking demonstrations at MARTA markets.
Concerned Citizens of Cook County
In partnership with Georgia Interfaith Power & Light (GIPL), Concerned Citizens of Cook County will work to engage community members in rural Cook County to organize, educate, and implement clean energy strategies in multiple houses of worship in the town of Adel and across Cook County.
The work will focus on providing energy efficiency upgrades and solar installations with a goal of giving these communities of faith the opportunity to serve a dual role as centers for both education and resilience. Community leaders, elected officials, and faith leaders will also work together to provide community members with education and technical assistance to maximize their ability to obtain rebates and incentives for home energy efficiency and clean energy upgrades from the Inflation Reduction Act.
With a focus on Proctor Creek and Intrenchment, two of Atlanta’s most disinvested neighborhoods, ECO-Action will conduct community-wide monthly trainings on energy efficiency strategies, weatherization, composting, and plant-based diets. Volunteers and young adults will have the opportunity to receive training that can be valuable for workforce development and eventual placement in clean energy jobs.
ECO-Action will also build a composting program serving up to six new urban farms. The program will partner adult volunteers with young apprentices through the YouthBuild program of the Georgia Building Trades Academy.
Funds from this grant will focus on building capacity to provide energy efficiency upgrades to more homes in rural Troup County through Groundswell’s Save On Utilities Long term (SOUL) program. SOUL reduces utility bills for homeowners by boosting energy efficiency, using a “Pay As You Save” (PAYS) approach to use energy savings to pay for efficiency improvements.
The 2024-2025 Climate Solutions & Equity grant will allow Groundswell to take their PAYS program into at least one more South/Southwest Georgia community and will help the organization to work with other nonprofits to get some of the housing stock that is not currently suitable for weatherization to have necessary repairs done so they can tap into weatherization funds at state and federal level.
Mothers & Others for Clean Air
In partnership with Georgia Clinicians for Climate Action and the Georgia State Medical Association, Mothers & Others for Clean Air (MOCA) will provide educational programming at the city and county level on the health and equity co-benefits of electric school buses. The grant will also help these groups educate school districts on opportunities to apply for federal funding to implement these upgrades in their communities.
MOCA seeks to target 150-200 healthcare clinicians across the state to become clean energy advocates with a focus on 10-20 highly targeted communities based on Justice40 guidelines. The partner organizations will engage at all levels with people from the community directly involved: parents, bus drivers, administrators, and healthcare providers.
Sustainable Georgia Futures
This grant will expand the already established WeatheRise energy efficiency program that provides weatherization improvements for low- to moderate-income Black households in Atlanta.
Working alongside local groups such as West Atlanta Watershed Alliance (WAWA), Southface, and the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, Sustainable Georgia Futures will offer solar pre-apprenticeship programs providing hands-on experience with Atlanta-based solar installers. Apprentices will be able to earn three different well-respected solar installation certifications. Training these apprentices will help ensure that people in previously disinvested communities of color have equitable opportunities to be hired in the wave of solar-related jobs that are coming to Georgia.
Stay Connected to the Work of the 2024 Grantees
Over the next two years, we will share updates on the inspiring work of all Drawdown Georgia Climate Solutions & Equity Grantees. Don’t miss any of these exciting updates - subscribe to our blog now to be notified when new posts are published.