WASHINGTON, May 3, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- With the private and public sectors prioritizing and accelerating efforts to reduce their carbon footprints by switching to clean energy technologies, companies with major interests in renewable energy have an opportunity to assist sectors of the population that cannot fully participate in this movement. The Sharing the Power Foundation (www.sharingthepower.org) has been established to offer financial assistance to organizations and causes that serve historically underserved urban and rural communities through programs that support their immediate needs and produce opportunities to participate in the benefits of the clean energy economy. The foundation is focused on two primary areas: environmental health and economic justice.
Volt Energy Utility, an African-American owned utility-scale solar development firm, created the concept of establishing the foundation through its unique Environmental Justice Power Purchase Agreement™ (EJPPA™). Volt created a process through which the basic tool used to finance major utility – scale solar projects — the PPA — can produce a funding stream to support environmental justice causes that may be located in areas beyond the location of the projects. In 2021, Volt signed an agreement with Microsoft to supply the corporation with 250 megawatts of solar power. Microsoft was the first company to join with Volt to dedicate to the foundation a portion of revenue produced through an EJPPA™. The foundation will operate as an independent entity.
"Major corporations realize that there is a segment of historically marginalized, low-income urban and rural populations, that have disproportionally borne the health and economic effects of pollution, inadequate access to healthy food and climate change," said Volt Energy Utility, CEO and Sharing the Power Foundation Chair, Gilbert Campbell. "These are the communities that the Sharing the Power Foundation serves."
The foundation will make significant investments into Historically Black Colleges and University (HBCU) students with a passion for environmental health and justice through the Foundation's signature program, the Environmental Justice Ambassador Fellowship. The primary goal of the fellowship program is to create a pipeline of HBCU students into sustainability and clean energy careers by equipping them with the necessary skills, experience, and environmental justice knowledge to address environmental challenges. Through the fellowship, the foundation provides students with a ten-week summer internship at a local environmental non-profit and provide an academic scholarship to support their educational endeavors.
Aissa Dearing Dearing-Benton, a Howard University senior and Oxford-bound Marshall Scholar, is the foundation's first EJ Ambassador. The history and environmental sciences major from Durham, North Carolina co-founded and serves as the organizing director for the Durham Youth Climate Justice Initiative, an organization that seeks to advocate for young people of color in climate justice organizing through environmental justice education.
Yinka N. Bode-George will serve as the interim executive director of the Foundation. The Johns Hopkins educated environmental justice advocate will be on loan from her senior staff position at Volt Energy Utility until a permanent executive director is appointed.
For more information, please visit www.sharingthepower.org
Volt Energy Utility is a national minority-owned solar energy development firm that develops, finances, and operates utility-scale solar projects. Volt Energy Utility is an ESG driven renewable energy company that partners with public and private sector clients to assist with the convergence of carbon goals, diversity, equity and inclusion, and other ESG goals. Our mission is to uplift communities through opportunities and benefits provided by clean energy. For more information, please visit www.voltenergyutility.com