Boys & Girls Club in Sarasota Receives Southface GoodUse Grant
Resource efficiency upgrades will reduce environmental impact, cut costs and reinvest funds into Club’s core programming, which is in greater demand during the pandemic.
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Southface Institute is pleased to partner with the Lee Wetherington Boys & Girls Club site in Sarasota, Florida, as part of Southface’s GoodUse grant program, which guides nonprofits through resource efficiency upgrades to reduce environmental impact and save money that can be reinvested into core programming.
Making every dollar count for nonprofits has become even more critical during a global pandemic. When Covid-19 restricted in-person activities, the Club site temporarily closed to implement protocols to keep its staff and Club members safe going forward. Aware of the growing need for services, the Club reopened two weeks later to serve the children of first responders, and shortly after, expanded to include all K-12 students attending Title 1 schools who are generally at greater risk of food insecurity and falling behind in school.
Like other organizations, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota and DeSoto Counties saw an increase in costs driven by this greater demand and having to step in and provide food and care because of closed schools during the pandemic.
Fortunately, the organization’s Lee Wetherington Club had already been in talks with Southface Institute’s GoodUse matching grant program and was planning to make critical energy and water efficiency upgrades that would improve its environmental impact, reduce operational costs and allow those savings to be reinvested into the Boys & Girls Clubs’ core services.
“First and foremost the savings are going to go right back into our programming,” said Travis Barrows, Grants & Database Manager at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota and DeSoto Counties. “As responsible stewards of our community investors’ gifts, we leverage their funding, and part of that is investing now in these upgrades so we can see that return on investment for years to come.”
Southface engineers completed a comprehensive building energy and water assessment and suggested upgrades to their lighting fixtures, installing LED lighting and controls, low flow plumbing and water use sensors. The upgrades will cost a total of about $60,000, half of which was covered through the GoodUse program grant. The organization will soon begin making the upgrades and using the work as an opportunity to engage the teen Club members, aged 13-18, with opportunities for environmental and sustainability education.
“Southface has been a delight to work with, and their expertise has been both impressive and extremely helpful for creating our strategy to save on energy and water,” Barrows said. “Due to Covid, the assessment was remote, so we conducted a virtual tour with Southface engineers to access the building. The tour combined with the blueprints were enough to outline recommendations. We were really happy with the impact they made and with the amount of energy and water savings we could see.”
The Lee Wetherington Boys & Girls Club site in Sarasota, Florida, was one of the 19 most recent grant recipients and one of two Sarasota-based organizations. Since the program’s inception in 2008, GoodUse has served 161 communities in 27 states, helped save over $16.2 million in utility costs, over 89,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions, over 131 million kWh of electricity and more than 99 million gallons of water.
“Southface is honored to lead this vital program to help nonprofits reduce carbon emissions, but to also amplify the ability of organizations to improve the health, equity and well-being of the communities they serve by freeing up funds for their core work through utility savings,” said Andrea Pinabell, President of Southface Institute. “Nonprofits are at the heart of our communities. We look forward to continuing our work with the Lee Wetherington Boys & Girls Club site in Sarasota and expanding this opportunity for other local nonprofits.”
To qualify, prospective GoodUse partners must be a 501(c)(3), and either own their building or have a long-term lease of five or more years. Candidates can apply online on a rolling basis with applications reviewed three times a year. Southface and an external review committee evaluate applicants based on organizational health, potential impact, financial capacity and need. GoodUse accepts applications from nonprofits across the United States, both new construction or renovation projects. The program is funded in partnership with The Kendeda Fund, as its cornerstone funder, and with the support of The JPB Foundation and The Bill & Melinda Nussey Foundation. For more information on the GoodUse program, visit www.Southface.org/GoodUse.