Blog Published: September 2020
Amid the pandemic and a rising movement for racial justice, the employees of Namaste Solar kept asking, “What can we do? How can we help?” This is no surprise knowing our people – they were drawn to Namaste Solar because we’re a solar company that is employee-owned and a certified B Corporation. They came here because they wanted to be part of a company that believes businesses have a responsibility beyond making money for shareholders. That businesses have a responsibility to the communities they operate in.
One of the initiatives that surfaced was a reboot of our community giving program. A committee created a proposal that would go before the company co-ownership for a vote this spring. That vote resulted in a new commitment and new process for Namaste Solar’s community profit sharing. Our co-ownership voted to allocate 10% of net profits after preferred dividends to our community stakeholder. Each year, these funds will be given to community organizations that are working toward climate justice, environmental justice, and improving our local communities.
The first round of community profit sharing happened this fall, and the five organizations below are our first recipients. Read on to learn a little bit more about these organizations, and if you are able, please consider supporting them.
Colorado People’s Alliance
Impact areas: climate justice, environmental conservation, racial justice, education, and COVID-19 relief. They are black, indigenous, people of color (BIPOC) led and are based in Denver.
“Colorado People’s Alliance (COPA) is a racial justice, member-led organization dedicated to advancing and winning progressive social change locally, statewide, and nationally. COPA builds power to improve the lives of all Coloradans through leadership development, organizing, and alliance building.” This year, they also established a COVID Relief Fund to cover the cost of food, housing, debt or anything else that might be needed during this pandemic. Visit their website to learn more.
Impact areas: climate justice, environmental conservation, racial justice, education, and food insecurity. They are BIPOC and women led and are based in Denver.
“We partner with lower-income communities to improve the physical environment and promote health and well-being. We are ‘doers’, not ‘talkers’. We plant trees, we improve parks, we clean up rivers and the air, we insulate houses, we promote biking, we grow food, and we coordinate hundreds of volunteers to help. We support the growth and development of leaders from the neighborhoods where we work through our Green Team youth employment and leadership program.” Visit their website to learn more.
Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center
Impact areas: climate justice, education, environmental conservation, and solar energy. They are BIPOC led, and the center is based on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.
“The Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center is a place where Native Americans from around the country come to receive hands-on training in renewable energy applications from fellow Native American trainers. … RCREC’s workshops are creating green jobs for residents of Pine Ridge, as well as visiting trainees from other tribes. As tribal leaders learn how to incorporate sustainable technology into housing plans, employment training, and energy strategies, the impact will increase exponentially.” Visit their website to learn more.
Impact areas: racial justice, education, and gender equity. They are BIPOC and women led and are based out of Washington D.C.
“By empowering and equipping Black women in quantitative sciences, The Sadie Collective addresses the pipeline and pathway problem in economics, finance, data science, and public policy through curated content creation, programming, and mentorship.” The Sadie Collective has 400 members across 120 institutions, 30 states, and four global regions. Visit their website to learn more.
Sun Valley Kitchen & Community Center
Impact areas: food insecurity, education, and COVID-19 relief. They are based blocks away from our Denver office in the Sun Valley neighborhood, one of the poorest neighborhoods in the city.
Sun Valley Kitchen provides food access, employment opportunities, educational resources, mentorship and support, and space to connect. They have grown in response to community needs and are committed to working with the community, not simply for the community. Visit their website to learn more.