Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation partners with solar nonprofit in first-of-its-kind crowdfunding opportunity

Leonardo DiCaprio’s Foundation announced its biggest-ever portfolio of grants, dedicating $20 million to organizations with innovative solutions to combat climate change.

At the top of the list is RE-volv, a nonprofit focused on expanding access to affordable solar energy for nonprofit organizations around the country.

Half of RE-volv’s $120,000 grant from LDF is dedicated to matching contributions into RE-volv’s unique solar crowdfunding platform. That means people’s dollars can go further by partnering with Leonardo Dicaprio to bring the benefits of solar to community-serving organizations.

RE-volv supports solar energy projects for nonprofits that lack access to financing options. An estimated 1.5 million nonprofits in the U.S. face financial barriers to obtaining solar power, as they do not qualify for solar tax credits or are too small to attract traditional investors. RE-volv bridges this funding gap for organizations that provide valuable public services to vulnerable communities, including homeless shelters, schools, community centers, and houses of worship. This is the largest grant to date for RE-volv, a two-time awardee of the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative.

“RE-volv is working to make sure that the benefits of solar can reach everyone, including nonprofit organizations and the people they serve,” said Andreas Karelas, Executive Director of RE-volv. “Thanks to this generous grant from the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, RE-volv will be able to scale its impact and bring solar to even more nonprofits around the country.”

RE-volv’s unique crowdfunding platform is the first to employ a revolving fund. Donors select a specific nonprofit to support and, as the project pays back dividends through a solar lease agreement, the user can then reinvest in new solar projects through the RE-volv platform. This pay-it-forward model helps to accelerate solar energy deployment in local communities while keeping donors engaged in solar projects.

“The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation is excited to support RE-volv,” said Gregory Lopez, Climate Program Director of the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation. “Not only is their work important in deploying solar energy and reducing greenhouse gasses, their unique model provides an introduction of accessible, renewable energy to new communities.”

To date, RE-volv has raised over $300,000 from over 1,000 people in 22 countries. It has crowdfunded ten solar projects (150 kW of capacity) in four states, include Harbor House in Oakland, which serves refugee, immigrant, and low-income families with after-school programs and ESL classes, and Morris Chapel Baptist Church, the oldest African American Church in Philadelphia. Thanks to the solar projects, grantees are expected to save between 15 and 40 percent on their electric bills. In total, these ten nonprofits will save more than $1.5 million over the life of their solar energy systems. RE-volv’s solar revolving fund, the Solar Seed Fund, is now worth $650,000 in future lease payments from these ten projects – payments which will be used to finance at least 20 more solar energy projects.

In addition to financing projects, RE-volv trains college students and community volunteers to become Solar Ambassadors, who in turn lead the on the ground efforts to deploy solar. RE-volv has educated 10,000 people about solar energy through training, outreach, and more than 100 events.

Sources:

Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, leonardodicaprio.org and RE-volv RE-volv.org.

2 Comments on “Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation partners with solar nonprofit in first-of-its-kind crowdfunding opportunity

  1. Pingback: Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation partners with solar nonprofit in first-of-its-kind crowdfunding opportunity | Worm Farm Adviser

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: