Local nonprofits receive $161k in grant funds for facility upgrades

In April, 10 Sarasota County nonprofits were awarded $161,379 in grant funding through the Partners for Green Places program. The funds will be used for energy and water efficiency upgrades at their facilities.

Partners for Green Places

Partners for Green Places is a grant program designed to reduce the operational costs of local environmental and human service nonprofits through energy and water efficiency upgrades at their facilities. The savings experienced by the nonprofits can then be redirected toward the important missions of the organizations. Once the grant program concludes, Partners for Green Places will carry forward as a community-wide collaborative initiative. The initiative is designed to inspire local businesses, residents, and nonprofits in Florida to also take action through sustainable measures. The collective actions help advance the movement and dialogue on climate change and create a more sustainable community.

The Journey

In addition to the 10 awarded nonprofits, there were first 3 pilot nonprofits that lead the way in the Partners for Green Places grant program. They began with $75,000 for their efficiency upgrades. During the first round of the grant program in September 2019, the 10 nonprofits were among a group of 13 that were awarded an extensive energy and water audit for their facilities. This audit resulted in each nonprofit receiving an “Energy Roadmap.” The Energy Roadmaps provide a comprehensive outline of facility energy and water usage, identify areas of improvement, and include a detailed list of potential projects with quantified resource and cost savings. The Roadmap can be used by the nonprofits as a resource for years to come.

Photo credit: Harvest House

Now, the 10 awarded nonprofits will use their matching grant funds to begin implementing identified energy and water efficiency upgrades from their Roadmaps. This will bring them closer to becoming net-zero energy facilities. Once the projects are implemented, the nonprofits will begin to experience utility savings right away. The savings experienced by the nonprofits can then be used to further their important environmental and human service missions. Not only can the nonprofits benefit by saving on their operational costs, the program also benefits the environment by conserving our resources.

In addition to the efficiency projects that the nonprofits will take on, six of the nonprofits also signed up for FPL SolarTogether. These nonprofits will reduce their impact on the environment by lowering their energy and water consumption, while also sourcing part of their energy from a clean, renewable source.

Photo credit: Girls Inc. of Sarasota County

The Upgrades

There are many no- and low-cost ways any organization can reduce their utility costs. The Partners for Green Places nonprofits are beginning their journey to savings through several different efficiency strategies ranging from no-cost to a higher investment level. Below are a few of the projects that the nonprofits will get started on this year.

Implementing projects at Children First (Photo credit: Children First)
  • Improve the building envelope by installing and/or replacing weather stripping, insulation, ducts, and caulking
  • Install programmable, Wi-Fi enabled thermostats
  • Replace doors and windows with more efficient models
  • Install solar window film
  • Switch all interior and exterior lighting to LED with occupancy or motion sensors, where needed
  • Manage plug loads by installing smart power strips
  • Reduce water flow by installing more efficient faucet aerators and metered faucets
  • Reduce toilet water use by installing toilet tank water displacement bags
  • Install new, more efficient A/C systems
  • Replace roof shingles with more efficient ones
  • Replace appliances such as hot water heaters or refrigerators with more efficient models
  • Increase how often air filters are checked and changed
  • Set up a comprehensive facility maintenance plan

Meet the Nonprofits

We are very excited to continue our partnerships with the 10 awarded Partners for Green Places nonprofits below. They will get started on their efficiency improvements in the coming months, all while helping achieve community sustainability goals.

Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast

Mission: Protect the environmental character, biodiversity and natural integrity of the bays, beaches, barrier islands and their watersheds on Florida’s Gulf Coast by holding conservation agreements and owning nature preserves, educating for responsible land stewardship, and collaborating with individuals, organizations, and communities.

Visit website

Forty Carrots Family Center

Mission: Forty Carrots Family Center is a nonprofit organization dedicated to strengthening families through educational programs for parents, children, and professionals in the field.

Visit website

Girls Inc. of Sarasota County

Mission: Inspire all girls to be strong, smart & bold.

Visit website

The Glasser/Schoenbaum Human Services Center

Mission: To be the leader of a collaborative community providing high quality, accessible facilities, and resources for the local human services nonprofit sector.

Visit website

Marie Selby Botanical Gardens

Mission: To provide an oasis of inspiration and tranquility, while furthering the understanding and appreciation of plants, especially epiphytes

Visit website

Mothers Helping Mothers

Mission: Mothers Helping Mothers is committed to supporting families in need and fostering resiliency, self-sufficiency and family stability in our local community.

Visit website

Project 180

Mission: Project 180 seeks to reintegrate formerly incarcerated citizens into community life.

Visit website

Save Our Seabirds

Mission: We rescue, rehabilitate, and release sick and injured birds, while educating our community about avoiding injuries and preserving habitats.

Visit website

Wildlife Center of Southwest Florida

Mission: To protect and preserve Southwest Florida’s native wildlife through educational outreach, and to rescue, rehabilitate and release sick, injured and orphaned wildlife to their native habitat whenever possible.

Visit website


Mission: WSLR+Fogartyville is a center for creative expression and community engagement that amplifies the voices of our diverse community and promotes peace, sustainability, democracy, and economic, environmental and social justice.

Visit website

Photo credit: Mothers Helping Mothers

The Partners

The Partners for Green Places program is a collaboration between Sarasota County Sustainability, the City of Sarasota Sustainability, Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation, the Gulf Coast Community Foundation, the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, and the Selby Foundation. This grant is funded by the generous contributions of the Barancik Foundation, Gulf Coast Community Foundation, Community Foundation of Sarasota County, and the Partners for Places matching grant program, a joint project of the Funders’ Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities and the Urban Sustainability Directors Network. The Science and Environment Council of Southwest Florida and the Suncoast Partnership to End Homelessness are valuable partners in reaching their networks of nonprofits with program information and education. We also are grateful to DreamLarge for investing their expertise in creative strategy and vision into this initiative.

Learn More

Read more about the Partners for Green Places grant program here. To learn more about the Partners for Green Places community-wide initiative that will carry forward beyond the grant program, visit the Partners for Green Places website.



Posted: June 2, 2020

Category: Conservation, Home Management, Money Matters, Natural Resources, Water, Work & Life
Tags: Audit, BecomeAPartner, BecomeTheChange, Conservation, DriveTheMovement, Efficiency, Energy, Grant, Nonprofit, P4GP, PartneringForAGreenerFuture, PartnersforGreenPlaces, Pgm_Sustain, PGP, PGPMovement, PGPSarasota, Upgrade, Water

Subscribe For More Great Content

IFAS Blogs Categories