Our Featured Grantees exemplify vital qualities that we find inspiring: they’re rooted in community, have clearly defined goals and viable plans to realize them, and promote positive change through both their projects and their implementation processes. Each one also addresses two – or more – of our funding priorities.


GRID Alternatives installs solar panels for homeowners in low-income communities that are most affected by changing energy prices and least likely to have funds for alternative energy. They also train job seekers and community volunteers to install solar electric systems.

Every Solar Affordable Housing project generates “triple bottom line” results:

  • Long-term financial benefits for low-income families
  • Hands-on experience for local workers in the growing field of solar installation
  • Environmental benefits by eliminating greenhouse gas emissions and building support for solar power

Founders Erica Mackie and Tim Sears designed GRID Alternatives to be scalable in response to community need. GRID Alternatives is expanding their services nation-wide, with offices throughout California, in Colorado and in the New York/New Jersey metro area. 

Since their inception, GRID has installed over 4,000 solar systems for low-income families, totaling nearly 12 Megawatts of power. Over their lifespans, these systems are expected to save these families over $112 million dollars while preventing over 350,000 tons of harmful carbon emissions. This is the offset equivalent to planting over 8 million trees - or taking nearly 63,000 cars off the road for one year!

Watch the video and hear their story.

  • Renewable energy in California accounts for less than 20% of all power – and solar is less than 1% – but recent legislation requires that by 2020, renewables must account for 33%.
  • Be part of an installation crew.
    Learn More.
  • Volunteer your specialized skills.
  • Like GRID on facebook.
    Check Us Out

The Watershed Project inspires communities to understand, protect, and restore the watersheds around San Francisco Bay, one of the world's greatest estuaries, and the most altered aquatic ecosystem in the U.S.

Watch the video and hear their story.

  • San Francisco Bay is the largest estuary on the West Coast of the U.S., where fresh water from the Central Valley mixes with the salt water from the Pacific.
  • According to the dictionary, the area of land that drains rainwater into a common body of water such as a creek or bay. The S.F. Bay Area Watershed is made up of many small watersheds, and all of the water we use here flows directly to the Bay or the Pacific Ocean.

    But a watershed is something more – the interdependent web of living organisms that inhabit and depend on a shared geographic area for clean soil, air, and water. Everything we do, from mountaintop to marsh, affects the health of local water, soil, air, wildlife, and our families and communities.
  • Love Your Watershed: 10 ways to reduce your plastic footprint.
    Download PDF.
  • Love the rain – grow urban gardens to slow the flow of toxins to the Bay.
    Learn More.
  • Volunteer for a monthly workday: clean up the shoreline or restore creek banks. Help bring oysters back to the Bay. Pitch in for international Coastal Clean Up Day. Learn More.

Farmer-Veteran Coalition helps returning veterans find training and employment on America’s farms. Both veterans and farmers can benefit from working together by growing our green economy, rebuilding our rural communities, and securing a safe and healthy food supply.

Founder Michael O’Gorman advocates for a mentorship model that links veterans with farmers, financial advisers, and other counselors who can assist them in designing business and marketing plans; planting, harvesting, and marketing their first crops; and developing plans for long-term sustainable growth.

Watch the video and hear their story.

  • The average American farmer is between 55 and 58 years old.
  • Two farmers retire for every one entering the field.
  • The percentage of veterans not in the labor force increased from 10% in 2000 to between 15% and 20% today.

Volunteer: FVC needs skilled professionals to mentor veterans in developing individual business, production, and marketing plans:

  • Financial planners, accountants, and others monetary experts
  • Experienced farmers
  • Licensed counselors and other qualified veteran-support staff

" I wanted to do something with my life that would make a difference. I wanted to come to work everyday and be able to touch and feel that I was doing something right in the world."

Erica Mackie & Tim Sears

Co-founders, GRID Alternatives

Location: Oakland, CA



“ In tough economic times, some people give up on smaller organizations, but I believe small organizations can accomplish so much.”

Linda Hunter, Executive Director

"To this day, I say to myself, 'Action, action, action.'"

Location: Richmond, CA



“ Clif Bar was our very first funder and that made a huge difference. There was belief in the idea from the beginning, and steadfast support ever since.”

Michael O’Gorman, Founder and Executive

"The military is not for the faint of heart, and farming isn't either."

Location: Davis, CA