Last Friday March 27th, Tiffany, Stephen, and I took a trip to the city of Richmond to hear about the amazing work and prospects of one of our grantees, Solar Richmond. If you haven’t heard, Solar Richmond promotes and inspires the use of solar power and energy efficiency in order to bring the economic benefits of the green economy to the city of Richmond. This organization, with the leadership and vision of Michele McGeoy, is at the forefront of the green workforce development movement . By providing training and leadership opportunities to city residents, they are transforming the face of the green movement to include faces from communities of color and low income communities.
After a very informative presentation on the potential of establishing a solar grid in Richmond and the feasibility of putting solar panels on nonprofits throughout the Bay, we took a tour through their neighborhood on an amazing yellow bio-diesel bus. We met participants whose lives were changed by the training program and opportunities provided by Solar Richmond. “You know some of these folks come in here and say, ‘this is my second chance at a first class life’.” That is how Program and Training Manager Angela Greene described the impact of Solar Richmond’s work. There was the Richmond job seeker seeking to expand her horizons, the single father from Seattle that got a late night call from his father in Detroit and moved to Richmond to join the program, and the Floridian who came to Richmond to gain tools to take back to the sunshine state; all in all the program has been successful in drawing the attention of job seekers, decision makers, and policy advocates across the country. With a wait list of over 300, the program is in an amazing position to expand to a community, neighborhood, and city near you.