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Pajaro Valley Nonprofits Go Green and Save Money

Community Foundation of Santa Cruz County Awards Grants Ecology Action Provides Technical Assistance with Monterey Bay Green Business Program

The Community Foundation of Santa Cruz County and Ecology Action announced Monday five Pajaro Valley-based nonprofits have become certified with the Monterey Bay Green Business Program through the “Go Green” pilot project.

In January 2012, the Community Foundation initiated Go Green as a grant pilot project to help nonprofits obtain green business certification by implementing green improvements in their facilities and practices. The grants enabled nonprofits to overcome obstacles in becoming “green.” The grant awarded to each organization included $1000, participation in workshop meetings and provided access to in-person or on-site technical support. 

The five Pajaro Valley nonprofits and two other programs in Santa Cruz that became certified include: CASA of Santa Cruz County; Pajaro Valley Community Health Trust; Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Cruz County; Watsonville Law Center; Watsonville Wetlands Watch; Community Bridges’ Familia Center; and Gemma Transitional House, a program of Community Action Board of Santa Cruz County. Pajaro Valley Loaves and Fishes, YWCA of Watsonville and Community Television participated and are continuing to work toward certification.

“As a social justice nonprofit, environmental justice is really inseparable from our mission,” said Henry Martin, senior attorney and project manager at the Watsonville Law Center. “The Go Green project was really a way we could signal we care about these issues,” Martin said.

“The amount of learning that went on about how you can operate a more sustainable organization that is safe, that is efficient and can save you money in the future is really great,” said Christina Cuevas, program director at the Community Foundation.

Technical support was provided by the Monterey Bay Green Business Program coordinators at the County of Santa Cruz, the Cities of Watsonville and Santa Cruz, Ecology Action, the Association of Monterey Bay Area Governments, as well as consultant Jane Rogers.

The Go Green pilot has produced tangible results:

  • Combined, the CO2 savings per year from the seven participants equals a reduction of 526,383 tons of GHG (greenhouse gas), which is equivalent to taking 49 cars off the road yearly.
  • 6,045 cubic yards of materials are now being recycled or composted annually.
  • Implemented practices are saving 142,492 gallons of water every year.
  • A cultural shift within each organization toward green business practices and a greater awareness of energy saving options.

About the Community Foundation of Santa Cruz County

Founded in 1982, the Community Foundation of Santa Cruz County provides individuals, families and businesses with ways to make giving simple, powerful and personal. The Community Foundation offers professional advisors resources and tools to help them meet their clients’ charitable goals. The Community Foundation is committed to strengthening the local nonprofit sector and each year offers grants, workshops and resources to hundreds of local organizations. Learn more at http://www.cfscc.org.

About Ecology Action

Ecology Action, a California-based non-profit founded in 1970, is passionately driven to empower individuals, businesses and communities to take actions today that achieve environmental and economic sustainability. Ecology Action delivers marketing and engagement services statewide to serve consumers, businesses, public utilities, government agencies and community partners through numerous programs, some of which include Energy Upgrade California, RightLights, LodgingSavers, CasinoGreen, Earth Day Santa Cruz and Bike-to-Work. Learn more at http://www.ecoact.org/.

About the Monterey Bay Green Business Program

Offering marketing incentives and free technical assistance, the Monterey Bay Green Business Program helps local businesses conserve energy and water, minimize waste, prevent pollution and shrink their carbon footprints. The Green Business Program is a partnership between Santa Cruz and Monterey Counties; the cities of Santa Cruz, Monterey, Scotts Valley and Watsonville; the Soquel Creek and Pajaro Valley Water Districts; the Monterey Bay Unified Air Pollution Control District; Cal EPA Department of Toxics Substances Control; and Ecology Action. Learn more at www.montereybaygreenbusiness.org/.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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