Energy Savings Increase Accessibility at Maquoketa YMCA

Scott Warren, executive director of the Maquoketa YMCA, knows that his organization can only achieve its mission if it can get people in the door. 

“One of our major goals is to become more affordable and accessible to everybody,” says Warren. “While our membership rates and fees are among the most affordable in the state, we found there were still good, hard-working people in our community who couldn’t afford it.”

Warren is now one step closer to his goal thanks to a $45,365 grant from Grants to Green (G2G). G2G is a Community Foundation grant program that pays up to $50,000 for energy improvements to help a nonprofit save money on utility bills and strengthen operations. 

“These grants are all about energy and cost savings on utility bills. We want nonprofits to save money that they can use to further the mission of their organizations,” says Eric Coffman, executive director at Trailhead Energy, which partners with the Foundation on G2G. “‘Greening’ organizations is not only good for the environment; it also makes nonprofits more economically sustainable.”

The grant allowed the Maquoketa YMCA to replace lights throughout its building, cutting electrical usage in half. It also added an ultraviolet system to the pool and a variable frequency drive to the pool pump.

These upgrades led to big savings for the nonprofit, which translated into savings for members. The dollars Warren saved on electricity bills allowed him to drop the $42 youth baseball fee and $29 youth soccer fee to just $20 each. 

“By reducing program rates, we’re finding more kids coming in from outside areas,” says Warren. “It really has been a blessing for us and we are very thankful for the grant.”

Since 2014, G2G has awarded over $700,000 to 23 nonprofits for energy-improvement projects. The first round of six grantees saved a combined $80,644 in energy costs in the first year—a 17% reduction in annual energy use equivalent to removing 217 cars from the road for one year. 

In March, CFGD announced five new G2G grant recipients:

  • Alverno Apartments ($50,000)
  • Four Mounds ($36,374)
  • Holy Family Schools ($50,000)
  • Opening Doors–Maria House ($6,677) 
  • TASC: Training Advancement Skills in the Community ($18,939)
  • Wartburg Seminary ($28,250)

To donate to Grants to Green, visit www.dbqfoundation.org/G2G.

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This story originally appeared in the 2016 Spring Giving Matters (pdf).


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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. 

Connect with us to learn about the many ways we are building a strong, thriving Greater Dubuque for all.