The CS Mott Foundation provided the Keweenaw Community Foundation (KCF) a grant of $60,000 about a year and a half ago.
KCF coupled that money with additional funds to disperse to the various organizations in the Copper Country, including Dial Help, the Barbara Kettle Gundlach Shelter Home, Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly, and the Calumet Theatre.
“The project entailed doing an energy audit of their facilities which enabled them to identify and prioritize where their needs were for making their buildings more efficient,” said KCF Executive Director Jim Vivian.
Environment Program Director Sam Passmore visited the area Wednesday to see just how much of an impact the money from the CS Mott Foundation has made.
“The work was to raise the community awareness around clean energy issues, both efficiency and renewable generation,” said Passmore. “And then the project team went on to help eleven different non-profit organizations assess their energy use and identify ways they could be more efficient in their energy use and save money and then to redirect that money into their mission and their programming and then went on to actually help seven of those eleven make some improvements that will save money, save energy and they can over the years redirect those funds back into their programs so it looks like a terrific result to me.”
CS Mott Foundation Civil Society Program Officer Nick Deychakiwsky said the hope is that these small improvements can make a big difference. “The community foundation can work with local organizations to really raise the level of awareness of what the advantages of clean energy, which are either renewables or energy efficiency, can do to improve the quality of life in the community,” he said.
Part of the project was to determine the organization’s energy usage before it started and then compare that with their savings.
“Then we are working with Jay Meldrum from the Keweenaw Research Center to obtain the records to identify what the savings were and put a report together to submit about a year from now,” said Vivian.
The grant to the Keweenaw Community Foundation was one of four that the CS Mott Foundation made to communities in Northern Michigan.