Many existing government programs and policies and non-profit missions seek to reduce poverty, provide affordable housing, essential resources, education, health and jobs for underserved communities. But increasingly there is a role for promoting energy efficiency and clean energy as a tool to mitigate poverty. “Households with high energy burdens are more likely to remain in cycles of poverty and often face compounding causes of inequality and injustice,” according to The American Council for Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE).
The Empowerment Grant mission is to encourage and support new approaches in bringing clean, cost-saving energy to low and moderate-income families; creating, access to clean and renewable energy, building pathways for education and training for clean energy jobs; and, linking energy efficiency to healthy and safe homes. This often means we need better collaboration, education, resource development, community engagement and systemic changes across the public and private sectors.
The Empowerment Grant Program (EGP) that Energize Delaware proudly developed, administered, and so far awarded $1 million in energy efficiency grants for underserved communities in 2020-21 has seen great results. Organizations awarded include Habitat for Humanity, Wilmington Senior Center, New Ecology, and Interfaith Power and Light. These initial grant funds of the Empowerment Grant were made possible by the merger between Exelon Power and Delmarva Power in Delaware, and authorized by the Delaware Public Service Commission. For more information about the Empower Grant program with Delmarva Power, and what has been funded, please visit us at www.empowergrantde.org.
“We learned a lot in 2020 about uncertainty and how fragile our community can be during crisis moments,” said Jim Purcell, Empowerment Grant Manager. “The Empowerment Grant provided relief and provided hope to many looking to save on energy costs, while at the same time reducing the carbon footprint in our communities.”
Seeking to sustain the great work, the Empowerment Grant Program efforts are focusing on public and private sector partners on continuing this grant program past its initial funding. The Energize Delaware Oversight Board seeded $1 million to start the Energy Equity Fund, hoping to match and grow the fund over the years.
Clean, efficient, affordable, sustainable energy can be a tool for impact. Through thoughtful aligned strategies, outreach and investment, we can positively impact the socio-economic positions of thousands of Delawareans. Our goal is to reduce the energy burden and make energy a tool for impact in all Delaware communities. Energize Delaware is establishing the Delaware Energy Equity Fund (EFF) at Delaware Community Foundation (DCF) with a goal to reduce energy burden in underserved communities throughout Delaware and make clean, efficient and affordable energy a tool for impact in all Delaware’s underserved communities. For more information please visit www.energyequityfund.org
According to Jim Purcell, Grant Manager for the Empowerment Grant, “we are working to show how targeted investment and alignment with our local communities can achieve equity as we transition to clean, more efficient and renewable energy for underserved Delaware communities.”
The Delaware Energy Equity Fund will support community outreach and engagement as well as direct Empowerment Grants, which;
- Provide energy savings for low-to-moderate-income families.
- Align energy efficiency with healthy and safe homes.
- Improve energy efficiency for small businesses, community-based organizations and local non-profits.
- Create access to clean renewable energy for all Delawareans, including low-moderate income communities.
- Create, expand and sustain clean and renewable jobs–developing and sustaining clean energy and energy efficiency jobs, especially for underserved communities.
Energize Delaware is actively seeking investments to support community engagement, education, collaboration, and best practices. Finally, through grant making, the EEF seeks to target grants for energy efficiency in LMI communities. For more information about the Energy Equity Fund and Empowerment Grant Program, please contact Jim Purcell, Grant Manager or visit our website at www.energyequityfund.org
Additional program details, including program qualifications, requirements and how to submit current proposals can be found on the website: www.empowergrantde.org. A Facebook page – @EmpowerGrantDE; and a Twitter account – @EmpowerGrantDE; are also available for public interaction and information.
About Energize Delaware
Energize Delaware is a unique non-profit that helps Delawareans save money through clean energy and energy efficiency. Our myriad programs provide energy education and financial incentives to Delaware homeowners, businesses, non-profits, state agencies, farms, houses of worship, local government and schools. Find a program to fit your needs at www.EnergizeDelaware.com.
About the Delaware Community Foundation:
The mission of the Delaware Community Foundation is to improve the lives of the people of Delaware by empowering and growing philanthropy through knowledge and relationships, now and in the future. As a facilitator, information resource and manager of charitable funds, the DCF helps communities and philanthropists focus charitable resources for the greatest community benefit statewide. For more information, visit delcf.org or call 302.571.8004.