PA IPL ANNUAL REPORT
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.
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 IN THIS PAST YEAR
On the weekend of September 24th, 2010, Pennsylvania Interfaith Power & Light held its inaugural annual meeting in State College. Interfaith Power & Light founder Rev. Canon Sally Bingham and Penn State Professors Raymond Najjar and Petra Tschakert spoke to about 75 attendees. Board members volunteered for service and officers and committee chairs were elected.
Three quarterly board meetings followed on January 22nd, 2011 in Harrisburg, March 26th in Indiana and June 28th in Wayne. Between these board meetings, executive officers met every other week. We hired a part-time executive director in October; she and the board president meet weekly. Bill Bradlee led a two day board retreat in State College on May 9th and 10th.
PA IPL has grown in the communities where there was an established presence (State College, Philadelphia, Johnstown, Harrisburg, Scranton) and has established some presence in new parts of the state (Meadville, Indiana, Altoona, Wayne, Pittsburgh) through its advocacy, membership and energy efficiency efforts. Membership has also grown to 23 congregations and 40 individual members. Since November, 2010, PA IPL has received $750 in memberships, $1,985 in donations and $5,750 in grants.
Our Energy Efficiency Committee has facilitated free walk-through energy audits for houses of worship in exchange for membership in PA IPL. Five audits have been performed in Altoona, Indiana, and Meadville by committee members and certified energy auditors Rev. Bill Thwing and Peter Dugas. Each audit was tailored to the specific needs of each facility and presented as written documents and through in- person presentations to the interested parties of each congregation. This committee has grown in membership over the past year and is currently exploring ways to cooperate with local energy efficiency experts to better serve the energy conservation needs of member congregations. We also hope to utilize the financial incentives created by Act 129 of the Pennsylvanian legislature to encourage energy efficiency measures in congregations.
PA IPL has been active on the Penn State University campus throughout the year. In September the PSU student chapter of IPL participated in the student dinner with Michael Mann. In October PSU-IPL participated in the 10/10/10 global work party. In February PSU-IPL hosted the “Positively Green” student community weatherization work day. PSU-IPL maintains a presence on campus for the new school year and was last seen at the PSU ice cream social at the end of August.
PA IPL has worked throughout the year to promote awareness of environmental degradation and global climate change. In March, board members hosted “Earth Hour Parties” in State College and Indiana to spread awareness of these issues and to raise over $500 for PA IPL. In April, PA IPL was represented at the “Ground for Hope” conference in Philadelphia and at the Earth Day festivities on the Penn State and Indiana University of Pennsylvania campuses. In May, PA IPL was seen at the “Interfaith Green Fair” in Philadelphia, the “Allegheny Mountain Green Fest” in Johnstown and the “Bike or Walk to Worship” weekend. In July, PA IPL was present at the Green Energy Fair in Scranton.
We have actively advocated our political representatives in Harrisburg and in Washington on behalf of concerns about environmental degradation and global climate change. In February we delivered hundreds of letters to our national representatives expressing constituents’ concerns about EPA funding. We encouraged 16 Pennsylvanian congregations to participate with environmental sermons in our first annual “Preach-in”. PA IPL member spoke at EPA mercury hearings throughout the state in May.
WHAT WE HOPE TO DO
PA IPL continues to be very active in certain pockets throughout the state. While our sphere of influence has grown to include new communities, we would like to cultivate deeper relationships within the communities we are currently active and expand into new parts of the state. During our May retreat with Bill Bradlee we specified expanding into western Pennsylvania (particularly the Pittsburgh area) and working with the Roman Catholic community.
PA IPL would like to continue to offer low cost energy audits to interested congregations throughout the state. Our hope is that these audits, whether they are performed by sitting board members or by third party auditors, will address the need for energy efficiency education within Pennsylvanian worship communities while also expanding the congregational and individual membership to PA IPL.
Jonathan Brockopp, associate professor at Penn State, administers a $5,000 grant from the Rock Ethics Institute at Penn State to promote ethics education on climate change. This grant has been renewed for a second year and will be used 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 and environmental bills. We hope to continue to represent the interests of our members who are concerned about environmental issues at local administrative hearings, public forums, and media events throughout the coming year. We will also encourage local communities to explore ways they can save energy and promote transportation alternatives.
Our finance committee continues to explore 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 $10,000 matching grant. We also want to continue expanding our membership base and seek out individual donors.
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, with a goal of reaching a 50,000 dollar budget in 2011-12.