Powering Up California Indigenous Communities -The San Francisco Foundation

The San Francisco Foundation’s Bay Area Community Impact Fund (BACIF) is proud to announce the closing of a $1.5 million, five-year loan to help GRID Alternatives launch its Energy Resilience Fund (ERF). With this fund, GRID will finance commercial, clean-energy projects to benefit disinvested communities and tribal nations. SFF’s loan will be targeted to Bay Area-based projects. This loan is a great fit for BACIF, given SFF’s dedication to centering Indigenous communities and helping them build economic sustainability.

With deep expertise in building clean-energy projects and strong partnerships with tribal nations, GRID helps tribes build resiliency and sovereignty by:

  • Building Community Wealth. Projects financed by the Energy Resilience Fund build wealth for community nonprofits and tribes by creating ownership in clean-energy assets and lowering energy costs. For example, GRID partnered with the Santa Rosa Band of Cahuilla Indians to build the Santa Rosa Community Solar Project. This was California’s first, fully dedicated community solar array located on tribal land to benefit communities living on low incomes. Over the project’s 30-year lifespan, it will save up to $6.9 million for the 200 subscribers with low incomes. With 38 tribal members participating in the program, the total savings for these Indigenous participants is estimated to be $1.6 million over the life of the project.
  • Supporting Workforce Development. All Energy Resilience Fund’s financed projects incorporate job training or apprenticeships for diverse, local community members. Trainees work on real-world solar installations and are connected with permanent, living-wage job opportunities. This creates local employment in disinvested communities and on tribal lands and contributes to a diverse clean-energy workforce.

SFF is proud to be one of the first investors in the Energy Resilience Fund and we look forward to partnering with GRID Alternatives to “power up” more California tribal communities. Energy Resilience Fund is seeking additional program-related investments and grants to scale this impactful work.

“Investing in the Energy Resilience Fund is an investment in economic and environmental justice communities,” said Joel Blaine, Director, Business & Project Development at GRID Alternatives. “The generous support from the San Francisco Foundation helps the Energy Resilience Fund step in where other funders are not investing. Together, we are supporting community-centered solutions and a just transition to clean energy that benefits everyone.”

SFF uses a variety of tools to advance racial equity and economic inclusion in the Bay Area. One of these tools, the Bay Area Community Impact Fund, uses foundation and donor advised funds to provide nonprofits with long-term loans, helping them grow their impact in the community and create a racially equitable, inclusive Bay Area.

Please consider an investment in the Bay Area Community Impact Fund. For more information about investing in the Bay Area Community Impact Fund, contact the Philanthropy and Gift Planning team at (415) 733-8590 or email donorservices[at]sff.org.

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