PA IPL ANNUAL REPORT 2010
WHO WE ARE
Pennsylvania Interfaith Power & Light is a community of congregations, faith-based organizations, and individuals of faith responding to climate change as a moral issue, through advocacy, energy conservation, energy efficiency, and the use of clean, renewable energy. As a new IPL, our specific goals are:
· growing our organization to reach more communities in Pennsylvania and more congregations within the communities where we are already active
· promoting energy conservation and energy efficiency among our members and congregations
· working with our members on educational projects that emphasize climate change as a moral issue
· advocating with local, state and national representatives for energy efficiency legislation and comprehensive climate legislation
· providing a firm fiscal foundation for PA IPL to ensure its survival and growth in the coming years.
WHAT WE HAVE DONE SO FAR
In October, 2009, the Rock Ethics Institute of Penn State University sponsored a conference on “Stewardship or Sacrifice: Religion and the Ethics of Climate Change” made possible by a generous grant from the Tanker Family Foundation. The Rev. Canon Sally Bingham gave one of the keynote speeches, and at the end of that conference, about 40 attendees agreed to consider starting a PA chapter of IPL. An interim steering committee was elected at a first meeting on November 15, 2009.
On March 21, 2010, about 25 individuals gathered in State College and approved the wording of the mission statement and the covenants for both individuals and congregations. Since then, 10 congregations/faith-based organizations have covenanted with PA IPL and 40 individuals have joined as charter members. A fiscal sponsor, the Religion and Society Center in Harrisburg, agreed to take on PA IPL as a project, thereby extending its non-profit status to our fledgling organization. The Center for Ethics and Religious Affairs at Penn State has generously provided an office, and a Penn State student group has also started up.
Over the summer, the steering committee wrote and approved bylaws for the organization and applied for some grants, including a $2,000 grant from national IPL to promote Energy Efficiency Resources Standards – during that campaign, we gathered over 400 signatures on postcards that we then delivered personally to Senators Casey and Specter. We also undertook our first energy audits and gave public testimony at the EPA’s coal ash hearings in Pittsburgh. Importantly, we decided that our finances were solid enough to hire Cricket Eccleston Hunter as our executive director on a part-time basis. Finally, we have worked to make a public splash with our kickoff events this weekend.
WHAT WE HOPE TO DO
PA IPL is particularly active in State College, Harrisburg and Philadelphia, with important congregational and individual members in several other communities. We want to grow, but need to do so in a way that maintains the gains we have made thus far. In the three communities mentioned above, we have benefitted from the work of previously existing interfaith organizations (Creation Care Coalition of Centre County, Interfaith Coalition on the Environment in Harrisburg, Philadelphia Interfaith Network on the Environment). We hope to encourage the health and growth of these organizations while also helping to found new networks, especially in the western part of the state.
PA IPL has received a small grant ($750) from the Centre County Community Foundation to run a pilot program to promote energy efficiency in two congregations in Centre County. Rev. Thwing, a certified energy auditor, will complete these audits at cost, and PA IPL will follow-up with the congregations to help them make changes to their buildings over the coming year. We hope that this project will be a model for the development of similar projects across the state.
PA IPL has also received a $5,000 grant from the Rock Ethics Institute at Penn State to promote ethics education on climate change. This grant money will be administered by Jonathan Brockopp, associate professor at Penn State. We intend to use this grant to fund a host of programs around the state, designed specifically for congregations. These small scale events will introduce congregations to PA IPL and bring them in contact with Penn State experts on climate, ethics and energy efficiency.
We plan on continuing to lobby our representatives in Harrisburg and Washington for immediate action on pending climate change bills. We will also encourage local communities to explore ways they can save energy and promote transportation alternatives.
Our finance committee has been exploring various grant-writing opportunities, particularly with the Heinz Family Foundation and with other local community foundations. We will make at least one major funding application in the coming year and we will ask IPL national to support our efforts with a $5,000 seed grant. PA IPL has already been fortunate to receive substantial private support as well, with two individuals making gifts at the Leader level ($500) and one Leadership congregation ($1000). If we are to meet our goals as an organization, PA IPL must become a true community, one that works together across denominational and religious lines. While the task before us is daunting, our combined voices and hands will help make it possible. The strength and vitality of our organization is dependent upon our ability to energize and develop all the gifts of our members, not only their monetary support. Yet developing a strong financial base is fundamental to everything we want to do. To this end, we hope to double our annual operating in each of the coming years, hopefully reaching a 50,000 dollar budget in 2011-12.