by Dr. Reginald Parker
The federal government is using $2.4 trillion to build the country’s infrastructure and to reduce the pandemic generated recession through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Legislation and Inflation Reductions Act. Further, the Whitehouse has institute Justice 40 which is targeting 40% of those funds to underserved communities. Because HBCUs have been historically underfunded since they were established, we developed an initiative to take advantage of this huge opportunity for HBCUs and their surrounding communities. Dr. Taj Eldrige of Include Ventures remarked that our proposed Initiative is a chance to avoid an “Economic Juneteenth”. Thusly, it is the goal of the Initiative to leverage Green for Economic Emancipation with the “Accelerating the Climate Resiliency and Renewable Energy at 40 HBCUs Initiative” or “ACRRE @ 40 HBCUs”.
Dr. Anthony Kinslow (CEO of Gemini Energy Solutions) is a partner and member of Dream.org’s Business Council shares “The work begins with cutting electricity waste and then cutting the cost of electricity. Together this will save electricity usage, cost, and the planet. The second step is to leverage the success at HBCUs by reaching out to nearby multifamily facilities and faith-based organizations. This creates a larger impact led by the HBCU.”
To date, 14 underserved organizations have teamed up to deliver solutions in support of the Initiative. Timothy Webb (General Partner at Green Power Ventures) says that “The partners are all BIPOC and bring climate predictions, investment grade energy auditing, solar installation, energy management, HVAC engineering and optimization, EV charging solutions, and more to the table. We are bringing BIPOC excellence to BIPOC excellence.” Other organizations that are equally interested are financial institutions including US Bank, Nugreen GO, Leyline Renewables, Green Power Ventures, Freedman Green Bank & Trust, as well as technical assistance organizations such as HBCU Green Fund, Dream.org, xxx.
Most people would think that this is a no brainer. Felicia Davis (CEO of the HBCU Green Fund) shares “HBCUs have become skeptical of groups bringing solutions as some of them have not ended well for them. I would say that the difference this time is our team, the government incentives, and the need for the HBCUs are all unique for doing it now because this opportunity will not be here in the future. Our schools deserve this type of solution and should not miss out on the opportunity. Everyone stands to win, especially the students.”
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