Community Foundation of Jackson County supports effort to help residents with energy use

The Community Foundation of Jackson County recently awarded a grant for $2,000 to the new Jackson County Energy District (JacksonCED), a nonprofit dedicated to strengthening communities by leading the local, fair and clean energy transition. 

The formation of the JacksonCED was enabled by the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque, which obtained grant funding from the Nathan Cummings Foundation to unite communities in grassroots efforts to provide clean, local energy and spark localized energy opportunities. Friends of Jackson County Conservation awarded additional grant dollars to support formation and initial programming of the new energy district. These community partners have joined forces with local leaders to provide the JacksonCED a firm footing as it begins its important work.

“We view the mission of energy districts as a strong partnership to our mission of strengthening communities through growing endowments. ‘Green meets Green,’ the energy district tagline, means that individuals, families, businesses and organizations can save money while also stewarding our natural resources,” said Mary Jo Gothard, Community Foundation of Jackson County executive director. “The energy district will surely impact future generations around Jackson County!”

The JacksonCED is the eighth organization to join the coalition of Clean Energy Districts of Iowa, each creating local clean energy prosperity and climate stewardship in its county. It will offer education around locally-owned clean energy, provide community engagement opportunities and advocate for local, clean and fair energy policy. Further, the JacksonCED will be inclusive in energy planning and technical assistance for all, including homeowners, business owners, institutions and farms — because savings on energy bills means more to spend in the local economy while also reducing carbon emissions. Income-eligible seniors, veterans and disabled individuals will be served first with energy assessment planning and coaching.

The effort to spark an energy district in Jackson County began earlier this year, when local leader and retired Jackson County Conservation Board Environmental Education Coordinator Ann Burns was asked to round up potential energy district champions for a series of Energy District 101 seed planting meetings. The meetings were led by the Clean Energy Districts of Iowa’s new energy district startup coach, Joleen Jansen. Burns helped identify several champions.

“Energy districts can bring energy conservation ideas and expertise to local communities in a manner similar to the assistance Soil and Water Conservation Districts provide land owners who want to protect their soil and water. Often, people and businesses have the interest and desire to take steps to conserve energy and reduce their energy costs, but are unsure where or how to begin. A local energy district will be the resource for those ideas,” said Burns. 

“Helping individuals, businesses and communities save energy costs provides the direct benefit of income retention. Those saved dollars can be reinvested locally through consumer spending or shared to support the families, education, small businesses, parks and other aspects of thriving communities. Taking a longer view, energy conservation is a gift to our grandchildren and great grandchildren. What we don’t squander today will be available to support their futures.”

The JacksonCED’s volunteer board of directors is composed of Chair Bruce Fisher of Monmouth, Vice-Chair Bill Hainstock of Delmar, Secretary Ben Davison of Maquoketa, Treasurer Megan Andresen of Maquoketa and board members Mike Griffin of Springbrook and Jan Kahler of Maquoketa. Click here to reach out or learn more.

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The Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque envisions a vibrant and inclusive Dubuque region where everyone can thrive. Since 2002, we have inspired people to give back to their community, and we turn this generosity into lasting change across our region, increasing access to resources and opportunities that help all people succeed. 

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