Donnel Baird

Program Area: Poverty Alleviation & Economic Development
Location of Impact: National

Bold Idea: Create jobs for black men and reduce costs for community organizations by leveraging community-led solar and weatherization retrofits for churches and nonprofits.

Why I'm Passionate About This: I have seen the impact that high unemployment rates can have on communities. From growing up in a low-income neighborhood in Brooklyn, to traveling to eight states while  living out of my car, I witnessed the tremendous needs in communities around the country. After spending months working on a presidential campaign and later managing an energy efficiency campaign, I internalized my lessons and recognized the potential that energy efficiency has to benefit the environment, provide living wages for unconventional employees, and help them achieve financial sustainability. For instance, Retrofits can reduce energy costs by 15 to 50 percent, and communities only lack access to the technology. BlocPower will have a triple bottom line, measuring success in terms of jobs created for hard-to-employ populations of black men, overall decrease in CO2 production, and money saved by nonprofits and community groups through the retrofit programs.

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These profiles are derived from Fellowship applications.