October 14th, 2011 - It’s ironic how individuals who often go into the non-profit sector don’t like money or have great indifference towards it but land in organizations who are forced to talk about money all the time.
Money makes much of non-profit work possible and although Development never was my interest, neither corporate giving, I sure am thankful for their existence and interest in generating funds for essential community work.
I go to work everyday thinking about Maria, Joshua, or Geary and how I am going to make sure they are going to get Calfresh benefits. I think about the challenges of poverty and ways to eliminate barriers to social services. I get caught up debating about how to best advocate for those who have the smallest voice and dream about solutions to public health problems like obesity through nutritional assistance.
That’s why I am there. But I can’t ignore what’s making all these dreams and the dedication possible. There are dollars fueling the work that I do and they make every print job, every pamphlet, and every hour possible. And finally, they also keep on the lights and make my computer run. When it gets real hot in Southern California, it even keeps our air conditioning running so we don’t get too uncomfortable working. More importantly, at a food bank like the one I work for, electricity pays for our cold storage; 53,000 cubic square feet of refrigeration and freezing that allows us to distribute up to 3 million more pounds of food and enables us to distribute more diverse foods like lean meats, dairy products, and additional fresh fruits and vegetables.
Needless to say, that electricity bill is expensive. And every moment our lights are on or that air conditioner kicks in, I can’t help but think about those precious dollars disappearing when, especially in this economy, each dollar is vital. It means supporting a family through the Calfresh process, it means coming to work with lights on, and it means healthy food for hungry families.
This is why I know solar energy has the power to affect lives; my own and the people I fight for. Solar energy that saves businesses money on energy costs not only helps for profit company’s bottom lines, it has the power to help fuel the work that all of us in the non-profit world are doing for our communities. And this time, the fuel is clean, money is used wisely, and we can feel better about those disappearing dollars.
I didn’t start working for community based organizations to think about money. That’s the last thing I wanted. But I know how important it is and even more so, I know how essential it is to find innovative solutions to help those in poverty in days where the need is greater and the resources even more scarce.
Written by: Jennifer M. Seneor