LISC’s Black Economic Development Fund hits $250 million goal, makes first catalytic investments in Black-led banks, real estate developers

Author: Local Initiatives Support Corporation 5/26/2021         LISC

NEW YORKMay 26, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — The Black Economic Development Fund (BEDF), managed by the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), has reached its $250 million goal for capital to invest in Black-led banks, anchor institutions, businesses, and real estate developers, and is now rolling out its first investments.

The BEDF, launched last summer, is part of LISC’s Project 10X, a $1 billion strategy to address racial gaps in health, wealth, and opportunity. The private investment fund has raised capital from 11 public and private corporations, with McKinsey and Company recently coming in with $15 million.

“We’re excited about the outpouring of interest from impact investors because it speaks not only to the quality of the fund but to a deepening recognition that access to capital is what facilitates access to opportunity,” noted George Ashton, managing director of LISC Strategic Investments, the fund management arm of Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), one of the country’s largest community finance organizations.

“Impact investors are aligning their treasury strategies with their missions in order to fuel a stronger economic base for their businesses and economic justice for their customers,” he added.

With the BEDF now fully subscribed, LISC also announced the fund’s first five investments this week, with as many as 20 additional fund investments expected by year end. These initial transactions include deposits in two Black-owned banks to help build their capacity, as well as diverse loans to three Black-owned real estate development companies that are building and expanding economic opportunity and jobs in the communities where they operate.

The common thread is that these firms—like so many minority-led enterprises—have not generally had access to the flexible capital they need to grow. LISC’s goal is to provide financing that helps them expand their businesses, while also helping lay the groundwork for other investors to follow.

  • Optus Bank, Columbia, S.C.The BEDF made a $4 million deposit in this century-old bank that makes 90 percent of its loans in under-invested communities and to minority and/or women-owned businesses and homeowners. Optus Bank is a community development financial institution (CDFI) and has a strategy to build $100 million in local Black wealth over the next 10 years.
  • Unity National Bank, Houston: Unity is the only Black-owned bank in Texas (it also operates in Atlanta). The BEDF made a $3 million deposit to help the bank grow its investments in small businesses, especially in minority population centers, and pursue partnerships to finance affordable housing development.
  • Dantes Partners, Washington, D.C.: This privately held firm develops and preserves affordable and workforce housing in Washington, D.C. and the New York City area, delivering more than 2,300 units to date. The BEDF structured a $5 million predevelopment credit facility to help Dantes Partners preserve and build 3,000 additional units of affordable housing in the next few years.
  • Bridging the Gap (BTG), PittsburghBTG is a private real estate development firm focused on advancing healthy, sustainable developments. The BEDF made a short-term $1.5 million predevelopment loan to support a new project called Fifth and Dinwiddie, which when completed will bring 171 mixed-income apartments to Pittsburgh’s Uptown district. The predevelopment financing was the missing piece of the capital stack for this project, which is one of the largest housing development sites in the city and part of Pittsburgh’s “EcoInnovation” plan for the community.
  • Phoenix Adams Rising, Jacksonville, Fla.The BEDF’s $5.3 million bridge loan is helping the project’s sponsor, Eugene Profit, stabilize a six-story apartment building for students at Florida State College of Jacksonville, where approximately one-third of the population identifies as Black American. The project is located in downtown Jacksonville, near to campus, and is part of broader revitalization efforts in the city’s core.

“The Black Economic Development Fund allows us to make an impact by investing in Black and Brown talent who want to be in this industry and ensure they prosper,” noted Buwa Binitie, with Dantes Partners. “The investment represents freedom for us to be who we want to be and own our projects. It allows us to scale in ways that we never quite imagined. In very short order you are going to start seeing ribbon cuttings for the transactions for which this fund is activating.”

“All five of these transactions illustrate the power of inclusive investing,” noted Lisa Glover, LISC president and CEO. “They fuel Black-led businesses and benefit communities of color, and they also contribute to the broader landscape of regional economic opportunity by catalyzing jobs, local income, commercial activity and quality-of-life gains. They are helping build a broadly shared prosperity, well beyond the individual activities supported by each investment.”

Investors in the fund include: Netflix, which helped launch the fund, Paypal, Costco, Square, Inc., Aflac, Wayfair, DuPont, McKinsey and Co., ThermoFisher, HubSpot, and Dicks Sporting Goods.

“Fueling social mobility and opportunity like this was our vision for kicking off the Black Economic Development Fund last summer,” said Aaron Mitchell, director of HR, and Shannon Alwyn, director of treasury, with Netflix. “More and more companies recognize that redirecting capital to Black-led institutions improves equity at the grassroots level, and we invite other corporations to do the same.”

Ashton noted that even though the BEDF is fully subscribed, LISC continues to work with funders and investors on multiple ways to fuel social and economic justice as part of Project 10X. That includes individual grants and loans through LISC’s 37 local program offices and national Rural LISC investment program, as well as vehicles like the Entrepreneurs of Color Fund, local housing and economic development funds, impact-focused Opportunity Zones partnerships, and community investment accelerators that respond to local needs.

“We are using all the tools at our disposal to drive progress for people and communities—especially as we begin to emerge from COVID-19,” Ashton said. “We are being intentional about how and with whom we invest to make sure our capital helps break down barriers to success, supports the financial and impact goals of our investment partners, and helps our economy work better for everyone.”

About LISC
With residents and partners, LISC forges resilient and inclusive communities of opportunity across America – great places to live, work, visit, do business and raise families. Since 1979, LISC has invested $24 billion to build or rehab more than 463,320 affordable homes and apartments and develop 74.4 million square feet of retail, community and educational space. For more, visit

About the Black Economic Development Fund
The Black Economic Development Fund (BEDF) is an impact investment fund built to address economic challenges in Black communities and to help close the racial wealth gap. The fund targets Black-led financial institutions, businesses, real estate developers and anchor institutions with the goal of growing these organizations and strengthening their contributions to Black communities. The fund deploys capital across a diverse set of industries, borrowers and geographies in the United States. The BEDF is managed by the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) Strategic Investments team and LISC Fund Management, LLC, a LISC affiliate. For more information on the BEDF, please visit

Media contact:
Catherine Carlstedt, LISC Strategic Investments
608.217.5008 or

SOURCE Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC)

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ChargerHelp Two Young Black Women Positioned To Become A Player In The EV Charger Industry

Author;Chargerhelp Staff        Published: 6/25/2021        CHARGERHELP.COM


20210428-3N1A9025 copy.jpg
Good business. Good service. Good people. 
Kameale C. Terry

Co-Founder & Chief Executive Officer

Listen in from yourfavorite podcast spots or read the full transcript here.Grey LinkedIn Icon

OUR SPONSOR FOR THIS EPISODE:  BLCK VCa focused community built for and by black investors
Founders Unfound listeners: If you ever thought about getting into Venture, you definitely want to connect up at  or follow @BLCKVC for more about their exceptional programs and events.





It’s rare when a startup can impact one market challenge successfully. And even rarer…two at once. Well, that’s just exactly what Kameale Terry and ChargerHelp! are doing. Kameale’s company is tackling a major pain point in electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure – repair and maintenance. At the same time, she’s committed to workforce development and economic mobility. ChargerHelp! is creating an entirely new career role – part technician, part electrician, part IT support. And she wants to prioritize training those from her own community.

Kameale has the energy, passion, and drive you just want to get behind. The company story is compelling and she’s pretty good at pitching it. So much so that she’s earned hundreds of thousands in grants and pitch competition wins. Now that’s a way to fund a startup! The journey that landed Kameale as a startup CEO is unique and fascinating.

Listen in to hear the story.


“…I am a native to Southcentral Los Angeles.
~ Kameale Terry

In this episode Kameale and Dan discussed:

  • Her persistent desire to make an impact
  • How the need to return home made her career flourish
  • How in 2 years at another startup, she went from customer service rep to leader
  • Why she keeps ending up surrounded by smart black women
  • What attracted her to sustainability and EV


Episode Shout Outs:

Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI)
Grid110 South LA
Startup Grind LA
EV Connect


“Oh, I want to find the best people for these positions. And it just all just so happened to be black women.
~ Kameale Terry






Evette Ellis
Co-Founder & Chief Workforce Off

Workforce Development is weaved into the fabric of our company.  One way any workforce is developed is through the creation of jobs. Another is through enhancing current skills, knowledge and duties resulting in higher pay. We collaborate with our local Workforce Centers and create partnerships with organizations to train and hire from our local communities. In this competitive climate, to attract the best and brightest to our team, we’ve implemented practices and a training curriculum that is designed to ensure all applicants have a fair opportunity to join our team. ChargerHelp! Is overcoming the skills gap and recruiting quality, underutilized, reliable, high performing professionals. Our rapid evolution due to our technology, customer needs, and changing demographics has heightened the demand for a skilled and developed workforce.






Biden Reaches Historic Bipartisan Agreement with Senators for Infrastructure Package: ‘We Have a Deal’

Author: Georgina Tzanetos     Published: 6/24/2021

Mandatory Credit: Photo by SARAH SILBIGER/POOL/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock (12168186b)US President Joe Biden walks out of the West Wing of the White House following a meeting with a bipartisan group of Senators where they reached a deal on an infrastructure plan in Washington, DC, USA, 24 June 2021.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by SARAH SILBIGER/POOL/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock (12168186b)

US President Joe Biden walks out of the West Wing of the White House following a meeting with a bipartisan group of Senators where they reached a deal on an infrastructure plan in Washington, DC, USA.

President Joe Biden and a group of both Republican and Democratic senators reached a compromise Thursday morning on the president’s roughly $1 trillion infrastructure spending bill.

See: Biden Trims Infrastructure Package — What Does That Mean for Jobs and Small Businesses?
Find: When You Can Opt Out of Monthly Child Tax Credit Payments — And Why You Might Want To

One of the largest proposals in recent history, the plan calls for a restructuring of the nation’s roads, transportation systems, railways, ports and ethernet networks, to name a few items on the agenda.

Speaking outside the White House flanked by Sens. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) and Mark Warner (D-Va) Biden stated, “They have my word. I’ll stick with what we’ve proposed and they’ve given me their word as well,” he said, according to CNBC.

“None of us got all that we wanted. I didn’t get all that I wanted. But this reminds me of the days we used to get an awful lot done up in the United States Congress.”

While details of the compromise have not yet been released, the next hurdle before the plan gets signed into law is deciding how to fund it. One of the plan’s biggest challenges, senators have not yet finalized how the proposal would raise revenue. Republicans promised not to touch the tax cuts enacted in 2017 and Biden claimed he will not raise gas taxes or electric vehicle user fees, CNBC noted.

The pushback from Republicans to maintain tax cuts could also potentially see a retreat on Biden’s plans to raise the corporate tax rate.

See: How To Go Back To Work And Still Keep Unemployment Benefits
Find: Here’s a Full List of Unemployment Resources for Your State

With the support of 11 Republican senators and 10 moderate Democrat senators, the bill would surpass the 60 votes needed to overcome a potential filibuster if all Senate Democrats were to vote in favor. If the deal goes through final approval in the Senate, it will then move over to Congress for approval before it can be signed into law. With a Democrat-controlled House, the bill is expected to have an easy passage through Congress.

The current plan is a trimmed-down version of the original 2.3 trillion dollar infrastructure plan the president brought to the table earlier this year. Corporate tax hikes and other taxes on the wealthy, like the tax Biden proposed on those making more than $400,000 a year, are expected to be in the Democrats’ reconciliation bill instead, USA Today reports. The Biden administration has also stated it will not repurpose or re-allocate funds already promised to states and counties as part of the COVID-19 relief package.


FERC gives SEEM utilities opportunity to put the “M” in SEEM

Author: Maggie Sober      Published: 6/7/2021

A contingency of large electric utilities across the Southeast has proposed to form the Southeast Energy Exchange Market or SEEM. While the title suggests the creation of a competitive energy market, the proposal is anything but. FERC responded by noting deficiencies in the proposal and required the utilities to submit updates. If utilities want to really put the “M” in SEEM, they should go back to the drawing board and propose a Southeast Energy Imbalance Market (EIM). Absent this option, FERC could use the update process to at least make sure that SEEM will meet its limited goals in the near term and be a tool to speed the adoption of a regional competitive market over the long term.


Before the SEEM “market” can be set up it first needs to be approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). On May 4, 2021, FERC issued 10 pages of “deficiency letter” questions for utilities to answer in order to flesh out missing or unclear information. Robust utility responses would provide much-needed transparency into SEEM. Intervenors in the FERC case (of which SACE is one with a group of public interest organizations from across the region) will then have the opportunity to further comment.

Timeline of SEEM review at FERC as expected as of June 2021.


FERC’s deficiency letter questions are summarized below. SEEM utilities must respond by June 18, 2021, and that response will constitute an updated SEEM proposal in front of FERC.  FERC asks: 

  • How will SEEM interact with Southern Company’s Market-Based Rate (MBR) Tariff?
  • How transactions between buyers and sellers of power in SEEM will interact with or replace transactions that would occur under other bilateral agreements, and how SEEM will interact with neighboring markets
  • How will SEEM prevent market manipulation, including how will existing auditing and monitoring tools remain sufficient and how will the treatment of unconsummated SEEM transactions help identify market manipulation?
  • Clarify of membership requirements and the standard of review for changes to SEEM
  • Explain SEEM’s use of transmission, such as clarifying contradicting claims about the use of excess transmission, how SEEM transmission use could impact other transmission rates, and how a proposed Network Map of transmission from all SEEM participants will be developed and used.
  • Clarify the roles and authorities of the SEEM Administrator and SEEM Auditor
  • Clarify what information will be provided and who has access, including what will be in business practice manuals, who will have access to the manuals, and data available on the SEEM website


SEEM as proposed is unlikely to deliver on its own promise: small incremental cost savings and marginally reduced renewable energy curtailments. Instead, ratepayers in the Southeast need actual competition, under a neutral administration, with broad participation, market transparency, and accountable governance. SEEM does not even attempt to promise these market essentials. The deficiency response is an opportunity for the SEEM utilities to introduce them so that SEEM is the first step toward a true competitive electric market in the Southeast.

To do that, the following elements should be included in the utilities’ response to promote basic access and transparency:

  1. SEEM needs an independent Market Monitor for the SEEM, similar to the setup in integrated markets and Energy Imbalance Markets (EIM) across the country, to guard against market manipulation.
  2. SEEM needs to remove unnecessary roadblocks to participation. This could be done by having a single pro forma enabling agreement and not allowing existing SEEM members and participants to arbitrarily refuse to enter into enabling agreements.
  3. SEEM’s provisions allowing participants to block energy exchanges with other participants should be removed, or at least very limited criteria should be set for blocks, requiring pre-approval from the market monitor if a participant is not allowed to exchange with another participant.
  4. SEEM data on trades and unconsummated transactions should be publicly reported after an appropriate, short time lag.
  5. SEEM participants should have voting participation in its governance.
  6. SEEM should empower stakeholders to review its effectiveness every two years, with an explicit goal of enabling enhanced competition across the region. Particularly, SEEM should:
    1. Moving away from a “split the difference” price settlement to one based on or similar to locational marginal pricing.
    2. Add a day-ahead hourly market with a resource-sharing construct that removes the inefficiency of each individual utility maintaining its own reserve margin regardless of the availability of resources available within SEEM.
  7. SEEM utilities should pay for an independent, regularly updated study to show that SEEM, with these changes made, provides benefits that outweigh the costs. This includes looking at the impact of SEEM on energy burdens across the region, and the impact of SEEM on carbon emissions. This study should be fully available to the public.
  8. SEEM utilities should join SACE and other intervenors in calling for FERC to hold a technical conference on electric market reforms across the Southeast.


The SEEM utilities use the term “market” in the name of SEEM but claim in their original filing that SEEM is not an EIM. Fun fact: documents obtained by SACE showed that many of the utility staff involved in the development of the SEEM proposal actually started by calling it an EIM.

So while the suggestions listed above would certainly improve on the current SEEM proposal, the utilities should skip the charade and put the “M” in SEEM by making it a true EIM.

Source: VCE and Energy Innovation report

Competitive electric markets are one tool to speed the clean energy transition in a way that saves customers on their electric bills. For example, right now there are countless utilities across the region that have proposed new gas plants in their queues, far more than regions of the country where markets are in place. One key reason for this is that each utility is doing resource planning largely as an island. We’ve shown before that Southeast utilities do not tend to peak at the same time, and a platform for sharing resources across these utilities (i.e. a market) would reduce the need for all that new gas and would make it more economically efficient for complementary clean energy resources to flow across the region.

Source: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory


Stay tuned – SACE will continue to follow the SEEM proposal and other potential market reforms across the Southeast.

Morgan State University Awarded $6.25M in Grants from Leading Tech Giants, Google and Apple, Capping Historic Day of Investment

Author: Morgan University Staff     Published: 6/22/2021       US Dep. of Edu.

Morgan State University

BALTIMORE — Morgan State University, Maryland’s Preeminent Public Urban Research University, today announced two significant grants totaling $6.25 million from leading big tech companies, Apple and Google. Aiming to foster equity in computing education and tech proficiencies at historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and meet the high demands to diversify the STEM talent pipeline, Google by way of its Pathways to Tech initiative awarded a one-time unrestricted financial $5 million grant, and Apple by way of its Racial Equity and Justice Initiative presented Maryland’s largest HBCU with a three-year $1.25 million grant.

Read more about each of the individual grant awards below:

Morgan State University Receives $1.25 Million Apple Innovation Grant To Expand Silicon and Hardware Technologies 

Google Awards Morgan State University $5 Million Grant to Help Create Pathways and Opportunities for Black Students in STEM Fields 

Ossoff introduces solar energy tax credit legislation

Author: Zack Budryk        Published: 6/22/2021  11:53 AM EDT  THE HILL

Ossoff introduces solar energy tax credit legislation

Sen. Jon Ossoff (D-Ga.) introduced legislation that would grant tax credits for solar energy manufacturers at all stages of the supply chain, which the Georgia Democrat called essential to making the U.S. internationally competitive on renewable energy.

In a video press conference Tuesday morning, Ossoff noted that Dalton, Ga., is already the location of the western hemisphere’s biggest solar panel manufacturing plant, the Q Cells facility.

“This legislation will bring more clean energy Jobs to Georgia while creating tens of thousands of clean energy jobs across the country,” Ossoff said on a press call Tuesday morning. “It will help make America energy independent and allow American manufacturers to compete with Chinese solar manufacturers, and it will accelerate our transition to clean and renewable energy sources.”

“My ambition is to make Georgia the national leader in clean energy technology and manufacturing,” he added. “We don’t want to rely on Chinese monopolies to produce this technology.”

On the call, Ossoff said he would strive to ensure the bill was included in the broader Senate infrastructure plan but said he would introduce a standalone bill if necessary.

According to a statement provided exclusively to The Hill by Ossoff’s office, 15 solar industry executives and groups backed the measure.

“It’s critically important for us as a nation to move toward clean energy solutions to protect our environment and create good-paying jobs, and Georgia is perfectly positioned to take advantage of solar as an energy source,” Stan Allen, CEO of Atlanta-based consultant SolAmerica Energy, said in a statement. “We look forward to working with Senator Ossoff to pass this bill and help install solar energy across Georgia and the entire country.”


To truly build back better, we need a Justice 100 solution

Author:  Denise Fairchild   Published:

To truly build back better, we need a Justice 100 solution

The Biden administration has ushered in a new progressive era. Its “build back better” playbook of policies and initiatives address the serious challenges of our generation: climate change, economic recovery, racial justice and a safety net for struggling families. The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) represented a historic $1.9 trillion down payment on the administration’s promise to the American people, and an American Jobs Act (AJA) of equal or larger size may follow.

This is historic. The administration’s agenda has been likened to former President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal in its sweeping investment in rebuilding the American economy, with one notable distinction. Unlike Roosevelt, President Biden has made racial and environmental justice a priority. The Justice40 initiative carves out 40 percent of federal appropriations specifically supporting communities most impacted by environmental and climate racism.

While naturally fraught with issues of definitions, measurements and implementation, Justice40 is unprecedented. Still, it raises a crucial question: What about the other 60 percent?

But can Justice40 deliver on its promises?

First, there are practical concerns around the perceived capacity of long-neglected and under-resourced communities to compete for and manage these investments. This lack of trust opens the door for large national nonprofits or consulting firms to move in and act as  intermediaries — program managers, fiscal sponsors and equity experts — at the expense of local groups with roots in the community.

There is also a growing debate regarding whether the commitment is for 40 percent of “investments” to go into low-income communities or merely that communities will receive 40 percent of the “benefits.” These are substantially different. Regional shopping malls, aquariums and convention centers have all been considered “benefits” worthy of public investment, though their impact on the wellbeing of marginalized communities is negligible — especially when compared to investments in affordable housing, community-serving retail and local business development. But local governments are skilled at stretching the definition of “public benefits.”

The stakes are high, so these are important and worthy challenges to sort out. The hope is that there is authentic community engagement to deliver the solutions, that investments meet community needs, that the predators stay away and that new, frontline and Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) institutions are formed to support this work and build capacity to carry out the long-term agenda of rebuilding  community resilience for on-going and escalating climate challenges. The good news is that the White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council (WHEJAC) and staff are hard at work driving accountability for these outcomes.

Large-scale contractors, business enterprises, labor unions and research and development firms will remain primary beneficiaries of the new climate federalism and infrastructure investments. Investment tax credits for renewable energy, for example, will serve large investors with no commitment to growing community-initiated and owned renewables. But this is the moment to disrupt those energy hegemonies and build community wealth.

Energy Democracy Project, which my organization is affiliated with, and its advocates propose to do that by scaling community-owned renewable energy. We could start by converting the Investment Tax Credit and Production Tax Credit to a cash grant for projects under three megawatts and for projects owned by nonprofit, cooperative, public, tribal, or publicly accountable entities (e.g., community development corporations). We could allow virtual net metering of community-shared renewables and implement additive feed-in-tariffs for community-shared renewable projects that reach low-income households. These are system-level game changers.

Prioritizing unionized labor on infrastructure investments is important for rebuilding the middle class. But, without serious attention to labor’s real and perceived legacy of racial exclusion, we will only exacerbate Black income and wealth gaps. Now is the time to rebuild unionized labor by growing its ranks with BIPOC and women. But that requires proactive and authentic labor-community dialogues and agreements at the local levels to fix historic communication barriers and to build win-win solutions to strengthen careers and business opportunities in the construction sector, particularly for the most underrepresented groups (Blacks and women).

Federal investments in infrastructure projects may include a requirement to utilize small, minority, women, veteran and disadvantaged businesses, but it is meaningless without serious attention to project delivery methods — like Public-Private Partnerships (P3s) – which make it near impossible for them to compete. We must untangle the barriers to inclusive public procurement and contracting, including legacy challenges of capital, bonding and insurance, as well as 21st century barriers to advanced technologies, equipment, materials and project delivery methods.

These are just some of the structural barriers hidden in the infrastructure agenda. Under every rock can be found layer upon layer of toxic soil — public and private policies and practices that reinforce the inequitable status quo. So, while Justice40 may repair the harms of past inequities, we will perpetuate the same institutional structures that created those inequities without careful attention to the other 60 percent of federal spending. To truly build back better, we need a Justice 100 solution.

Denise G. Fairchild is president and CEO of Emerald Cities Collaborative, a national nonprofit organization of business, labor and community groups dedicated to climate-resilience strategies that produce environmental, economic and equity outcomes.

National Black Farmers Association calls for Graham to apologize over ‘racist’ comments

Author: Aris Folley        Published: 3/5/2021         National Association of Black Farmers

John Boyd Jr., the president of the National Black Farmers Association, called on Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) to apologize for comments he made recently taking aim at a provision in the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill that seeks to help socially disadvantaged Black farmers and farmers of color.

During an appearance on MSNBC’s “PoliticsNation with Al Sharpton” on Sunday, Boyd, who has long been an advocate in Washington for Black farmers, criticized Graham for comments balking at the provision’s inclusion in the coronavirus relief bill despite, in Boyd’s words, having “never once used his megaphone to speak out against the discrimination” Black farmers have long faced.

“I lobbied Sen. Lindsey Graham as a congressman. I lobbied him as a senator. I’ve been by his office and asked him to help me fix the problems at the United States Department of Agriculture that caused Black farmers to lose millions of acres of land and address the lack of loans and subsidies, and he’s never once used his megaphone to speak out against the discrimination,” he said.

“But as soon as we get justice here, some 30 years later, his very first words — he said he found it troubling, and in his last part of his statement, he said that we need to check them,” he said.

The Hill has reached out to Graham’s office for comment.

Boyd was referring to comments Graham made in an appearance on Fox News last week about the provision, which seeks to establish a $5 billion fund for debt repayment aimed at helping disadvantaged farmers.

Graham said during the appearance that he was “really” bothered by the provision’s inclusion in the coronavirus bill, blasting it as part of a Democratic “wish list.”

“Let me give you an example of something that really bothers me. In this bill, if you’re a farmer, your loan will be forgiven up to 120 percent of your loan … if you’re socially disadvantaged, if you’re African American, some other minority. But if you’re [a] white person, if you’re a white woman, no forgiveness. That’s reparations. What does that have to do with COVID?” he said.

Due to years of racial discrimination, Black farmers are more likely to have more debt, less land and less access to credit. According to estimates from the Farm Bureau, Black farmers account for roughly a fourth disadvantaged farms that would be eligible for loan relief under the fund program.

However, the provision does not include language that bars white farmers from applying for the benefits.

In his appearance on MSNBC on Sunday, Boyd said the measure “rectifies a wrong for Black and other farmers of color” who have been “shut out of the U.S. farm subsidy program, U.S. farm lending at the United States Department of Agriculture,” among other programs.

He went on to label Graham’s comments as “racist” and said his organization is calling for the senator to issue an apology.

“The National Black Farmers Association is calling for him to apologize. … He needs to apologize not only to our Black farmers but to Black people in this country who struggled for so very, very long, and now we get a chance for a little bit of justice, and he uses his megaphone to play this race type thing when he knows that firsthand that Black farmers have suffered,” he said.

“He has 6,000 Black farmers in his state, and he won’t help us, but he uses his megaphone to try to deny payments from Black farmers,” he added.

During the interview, Boyd also put pressure on Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to “immediately” get debt relief out to “the thousands of Black farmers that desperately need it right now.”

“I spoke to Secretary Vilsack yesterday and urged him to hurry up and put in place the commission and to get the debt relief to not just Black farmers but farmers of color, Native American farmers, Hispanic farmers and other socially disadvantaged farmers. He can’t be the same Secretary Vilsack he was under the Obama years. He’s going to have to take a more aggressive approach to help fix the discriminating culture,” he added.

Black Farmers May Finally Get the Help They Deserve

JWB Jeremy Lange. New York Times 03042021.jpg

A debt-relief program would be a step in repairing more than a century of discrimination by the Department of Agriculture.

By Mark Bittman Mr. Bittman, a former food columnist for The Times, is the author, most recently, of “Animal, Vegetable, Junk.”

March 4, 2021, 5:00 a.m. ET

Many white people have become aware in the last year of the discrimination that Black Americans face in policing, voting, health care and more. Few, however, may recognize that systemic racism led to another grave injustice, one that underpins many other forms of exploitation: More than a century of land theft and the exclusion of Black people from government agricultural programs have denied many descendants of enslaved people livelihoods as independent, landowning farmers.

African-American labor built much of this country’s agriculture, a prime source of the nation’s early wealth. In the years since the end of slavery, Black Americans have been largely left out of federal land giveaways, loans and farm improvement programs. They have been driven off their farms through a combination of terror and mistreatment by the federal government, resulting in debt, foreclosures and impoverishment.

So a program that would pay off United States Department of Agriculture-guaranteed and direct farm loans and associated tax liabilities of Black, Indigenous, Hispanic and other farmers of color would not only be surprising, it would be historic. And yet it looks as though that may happen: Such a measure is included in the pandemic relief package wending its way through Congress.

The story of Black farmers is tragic. The Homestead Act of 1862 initiated the biggest land giveaway in U.S. history, and the beneficiaries were almost exclusively white men. Paired with slavery, the act formed a foundation for wealth-building that overwhelmingly benefited white farmers — and still does.

In the last 100 years, the number of Black-run farms has plummeted by a calamitous 96 percent, from close to a million (one in seven) of all American farms to around 35,000 (or about one in 50). The beneficiaries of that Black land loss? White farmers. By 1999, 98 percent of all agricultural land was owned by white people.

This trend has been spurred by exclusion from the federal programs that help make farming profitable and by well-documented racism at the U.S.D.A. The department’s discrimination has reached down to local loan officers, who often determine access to credit and therefore survival. Black farmers understandably have called the U.S.D.A “the last plantation.”

The actual scope of the discrimination may be unknown. So many injustices have been hidden that few in the field trust the U.S.D.A.’s version of the story. We do know, according to the most recent agriculture census, that Black farmers receive about $59 million in government payments; white farmers receive about $9 billion. Per capita, that’s $1,208 for Black farmers and $2,707 for white farmers.

As early as the 1940s, U.S.D.A. economists documented “deplorable economic conditions facing African-Americans in the rural South,” but Southern congressmen (including the namesake of a U.S.D.A. building, Jamie Whitten) blocked efforts to help Black farmers. By 1965, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights found that the U.S.D.A. discriminated against Black farmers. In 1999 and 2010, the government announced settlement agreements for billions of dollars in cash and debt relief and tax payments to Black farmers.

Yet the payments fell far short, the department continued to discriminate, and the erosion in the number of Black farms — and the near impossibility for Black, Indigenous people and other people of color to get into farming — endured.

This historical pattern explains the collective moan when Tom Vilsack — a disappointment to Black (and many other) farmers and their supporters during his tenure as secretary of agriculture in the Obama administration — was nominated for the cabinet post again. But he seems to be responding positively to the shifting political climate and the general tone of the Biden administration, as the imperative for redressing insults and injuries to Black farmers is driving developments quickly.

It started in the run-up to the election, when an informal working group of leaders of the Black farming community helped presidential candidates develop policy.

After the election, Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey introduced the wide-ranging Justice for Black Farmers Act. The bill, which was reintroduced in February, would have paid off the U.S.D.A. debt of some Black farmers, and extends to Black farmers more of the benefits of the Homestead and Land-Grant College Acts of 1862. Those acts distributed land and funded public colleges focusing on agriculture, but by default they were programs for whites only, who were understood to be the “farmers” of the time.

Now a confluence of events — the newly Democratic Senate, perhaps even a newly responsive Mr. Vilsack, whose detractors wasted little time scorching his feet — is bringing about the much-needed change.



U.S. Department of Energy Announces Prize to Accelerate More Equitable Solar Deployment and a New Matchmaking Tool for Clean Tech Innovators

Author: SETO Office Staff     Published: 6/14/2021               SETO

U.S. Department of Energy - Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

Tool Connects Makers with Resources to Help Them Address Challenges to Solar Deployment

Washington, D.C. — Today, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced $5 million for the American-Made Solar Prize Round 5, a competition designed to accelerate the commercialization of products needed for widespread, equitable solar energy deployment and domestic manufacturing. DOE also announced a new tool that connects innovators with support from DOE’s national labs, business incubators, and other entrepreneurial resources in the American-Made Network to advance their technologies.

“By fueling connections between the nation’s most creative and forward-thinking entrepreneurs, the 17 national labs and the broader DOE ecosystem, universities, and the private sector, we are catalyzing the best of American ingenuity and creating an innovation engine for America,” said Acting Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Kelly Speakes-Backman. “This is how America will decarbonize the energy sector and lead the $23 trillion global clean energy market.”

The new tool uses artificial intelligence to expand and develop the American-Made Network’s capabilities, helping fast-track development cycles. This tool will lower barriers to market entry for entrepreneurs by matching innovators to the exact resources they need, right when they need them.

American-Made Solar Prize Round 5

For the first time, the American-Made Solar Prize will have two tracks—one for hardware innovations and one for software innovations—a recognition that both are needed to advance the solar industry. The software track will have a particular focus on enabling underserved communities to overcome systemic barriers to solar energy. To further incentivize this focus, competitors can win $300,000 in additional funds through a Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) Contest. The two tracks of the competition will focus on hardware and software components separately, with the goal of enabling more entrepreneurs to compete in the solar space.

The hardware track builds on the previous four rounds of the Solar Prize by soliciting ideas for hardware products that can be manufactured in America. Over the course of the previous four rounds, the Solar Prize supported 80 teams with $11 million in cash prizes and $3.4 million in technical support. The Solar Prize Round 5 hardware track will support as many as 20 new teams, who will compete for up to $3 million in prizes as they advance their technologies with the support of the American-Made Network.

In the software track, DOE seeks software concepts that will help address the non-hardware costs of solar, like customer acquisition, financing, and grid integration. Software track competitors can receive up to $2 million in prizes, using advances in communications and information technologies to rethink how to solve solar deployment challenges.

To augment Round 5 and the JEDI Contest, NREL is launching a Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Advisory Committee to help attract, recruit, and support a broader, more diverse group of Solar Prize applicants.

To compete in the Solar Prize, apply by October 5.

The prize program and the American-Made Network are funded by DOE’s Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) in the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and are administered by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

For details about the Solar Prize Round 5, register here for an informational webinar on July 13 at 3 p.m. ET.

Where is the Green Economic Development Plan for African Americans in The Implementation of Biden’s Green Infrastructure Plan?

Author: Ronald Bethea     Published: 6/11/2021        NABS




Where is the Green Economic Development Plan for African Americans in The Implementation of Biden’s Green Infrastructure Plan?

Executive Order 13985 Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government.


Date to be solicited by

Date: June 21, 22, 28, or 29, 2021

Time: 11: 00 AM -12: 30 P.M. EST.


Introduction of Speakers Moderators – Ronald K. Bethea, President of NABS and Tracy Woods VP AABE

Written Statements and Presenters

  1. Ronald Bethea, President of NABS Introduction and Overview (written statement) Moderator 10 minutes

2. Will Shirley President of SunDial Solar US and VP of NABS Review of Disparities in the Solar Industry  Guidance on funding the operations of NABS 5 minutes

3. Mayor Johnny Ford ………… The need for funding of NABS with voluntary support from the World Conference of Mayors written statement 5 minutes

4. Lilia Abron…………………… 5 Year HBCU Green Sustainability Plan (written Statement) 5minutes

5. Mark Davis ………………………… D.C. Solar for All Program Expansion and Expansion of Solar Job Training via HBCU’s written statement Speaker 5 minutes

6. Efrem Jernigan ………………………The Sunny Side Solar Project – Barriers and many Roadblocks (written statement) Speaker 5 minutes

7. Tracey Woods AABE VP of Operations Moderator (Introduction of US DOE Secretary Jennifer Grandholm) 5 minutes

8. S. Department of Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm (20minutes presentation) 20 minutes

9. Q and A US Department of Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm (15 minutes Q and A) Moderated by Tracey Woods

10. Ronald Bethea ………………………. Closing Remarks 3 minutes

We have provided Secretary Grandholm with a copy of each speaker’s five minute written statement so she can prepare her responses. The statements are listed below with this symbol * next to the name of the person speaking.

                                                     What’s In Biden’s Infrastructure Plan?

            Author: Alicia Parlapiano and Jim Tankersley, March 31, 2021, New York Times

 President Biden on Wednesday released his $2 trillion plan to shore up the nation’s infrastructure and create jobs. The sprawling proposal would be paid for with 15 years of higher taxes on corporations. Here’s how the spending breaks down:


Among the proposals: Modernize 20,000 miles of highways and roads; repair 10,000 bridges; and, by 2030, build a network of 500,000 electric vehicle chargers.

The goal: To revitalize the aging or crumbling corridors that get American people and products from place to place, while reducing the sector’s reliance on fossil fuels that drive climate change. Estimated cost in billions: Electric vehicle incentives $174 Roads and bridges, $115 public transit, $85 passenger and freight railways, $80 Disaster resilience, $50 Other, $35 Airports, $25 Improve road safety $20 underserved communities, $20 Waterways, and ports $17

Buildings and Utilities

 One of the largest investments includes more than $200 billion in tax credits and grants to improve and build affordable housing.

 The goal: To make homes and commercial buildings more energy efficient; reduce the lead hazards of old water pipes; bridge the urban-rural digital divide; and modernize the electrical grid for greater reliability and wider deployment of low-carbon electricity.

Estimated cost in billions

*Affordable housing $213

*High-speed broadband $100

*Electric grid and clean energy $100

*Public schools $100

*Water systems $66

*Eliminate lead pipes $45

*Childcare facilities $25

*Veteran’s hospitals $18

*Community colleges $12

*Federal buildings $10

 Jobs and Innovation

 The plan goes beyond physical infrastructure, proposing more than $500 billion to invest in the manufacturing sector, worker training and research and development.

The goal: The president has said that he wants to position America to compete against China and other rivals in the race to build and dominate industries of the future, like semiconductors and advanced batteries.

Estimated cost in billions

*Domestic manufacturing $52

National Science Foundation $50

*Supply chain support $50

Semiconductor industry $50

*Work force development $48

*Clean energy manufacturing $46

*Research infrastructure $40

New dislocated worker program $40

*Climate technology $35

*Small-business support $31

Research and development $30

Pandemic preparedness $30

*Research at H.B.C.U.s $25

*Community investment $20

Innovation and competitiveness $14

*Underserved communities $12

*New rural partnership program $5

In-Home Care

The plan also includes $400 billion to expand access to caregiving for those who are older and those with disabilities, and to improve pay and benefits for caregivers.

The goal: Broadens the traditional definition of “infrastructure” to include the provision of in-home care. From an economic standpoint, administration officials say, it is as much about the workers providing that care as it is about the patients. The money would help those workers, disproportionately women of color and low-paid, to earn more.

Source: The White House


  • * Dr. Lilia A. Abron, PEER Consultants, P.C.: The Biden Administration will comply with the Paris Accord. This is going to require a trained workforce to meet these goals. Initiative 5 of the Equitable and Just National Climate Platform calls for the creation of new programs to deliver benefit to the EJ communities. HBCUs are located in EJ communities. They must be an integral part of the training of this workforce. A 5-year Sustainable Development Plan is already prepared, and it calls for the requisite training of this workforce in the classroom and hands-on training using the HBCU campus facilities as the laboratory. $5,000,000 is requested to pilot and then implement this program at 5 HBCUs.

Vicky A. Bailey, Chairman of The U.S. Energy Association, former President of PSI Energy, Inc.: Vicky A. Bailey has over thirty years of high level, national and international, corporate executive and governmental expertise in energy and regulated industries. Most recently, in the private sector, she has been involved as an entrepreneur and principal of BHMM Energy Services LLC, a certified minority owned energy facilities management organization, as well as the president of the Anderson Stratton International LLC management consultants in domestic and international energy industries. Ms. Bailey’s executive experience includes President and board member of PSI Energy, Inc., Indiana’s largest electric utility and subsidiary of the holding company Cinergy Corp., now Duke Indiana. Ms. Bailey’s governmental career included presidential appointments by President George W. Bush as the first Assistant Secretary for both Policy and International Affairs (2001-2004) of the U.S. Department of Energy and an earlier appointment by President Bill Clinton to the office of Commissioner (1993-2000) on the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)

Chuck Banks Software Engineer and Solar Consultant: Contact:202-766-3330 – Charles Banks <>

Donnel Baird CEO  BlocPower Partnership & Investing Opportunities: BlocPower partners with city, state and federal governments, energy utility companies, tech companies, corporations, nonprofits, and financial institutions to address issues at the intersection of climate change, workforce + diverse supplier development, economic impact, health, and environmental justice.    Contact Us

*Ronald K. Bethea President of PCPC LLC and NABS Moderator: NABS is a non- profit public policy organization addressing the specific needs of African American-owned solar installation, engineering & design, and solar workforce development companies in the U.S.  Topic of Discussion:  What does The JUSTICE 40 INITIATIVE mean to the African American Community in the form of investment from the public sector into African American – owned Institutions.  In President Biden’s Executive Order 13985 he stated the following: “Energy Justice and Equity Communities of color and low-income communities have incurred disproportionate environmental and health impacts due to pollution from our Nation’s energy system. These communities also have disproportionately high energy burdens and face barriers to accessing the benefits of solar electricity. Solar technology produces energy without fuel cost or emissions and is a key component of delivering energy justice. We work to make the benefits of solar energy available to all. We support efforts to deliver 40% of federal climate investment benefits to disadvantaged communities. Our office’s operations prioritize improvements to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). For example, we publicize new employment and funding opportunities in cooperation with minority-serving groups. Our staff cultivates an inclusive atmosphere, with formal training and recognition for DEI work. We promote DEI in our external interactions. For example, SETO events seek to include diverse and equitable representation of speakers and participants. Our funding opportunities encourage leadership and participation from underrepresented groups. We include an emphasis on equity in all our funding announcements. We also provide funding for workforce development projects to promote a more equitable solar industry. We sponsor workforce training efforts and fellowships that specifically target underserved groups”.

 The Goals of The Green Economic Development Plan for African Americans are as follows:

NABS is targeting African American-owned institutions, such as our HBCUs, Banks, Businesses, Churches, Farmers, and property owners, along with working to research and identify targeted funding for African American-owned agricultural, commercial, and residential properties nationally, through the Property Assessed Clean Energy Program (PACE) and The Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). The program will help with the development of manufacturing, solar and wind projects nationally, which will help combat climate change in African American communities nationally.  The Biden administration is planning to invest 1.7 trillion dollars of these resources over his first term to combat climate change.

Community engagement over the last 12 years to educate the African American community about climate change and the solar industry with its many benefits has been a major problem. Community engagement in getting the solar industry, city, state, and federal government to invest advertising dollars with African American owned media to educate African American communities has been a major issue nationally. The NABS will be solicitating funding from the public and private sectors to pay for syndication and broadcasting costs with the Urban One Radio Network of radio programs such as “Solar Now and the Future With its Economic Impact on Black America.” The program educates the black community locally and nationally about the economic impacts of climate change and provides environmental education to the black community. Through syndication, the program will be heard in 76 markets nationally, which will help drive public opinion in reaching our stated goals which the following:

A. Increasing the market share for African American solar design, installation, and work force development companies. The NASB will work on public policy issues with stakeholders from the public and private sectors such as the following:


  1. African American Mayors Association
  2. Public service commissions and African American members of those PSC Commissions, nationally
  3. African American state legislative caucuses and their members, nationally
  4. African American city council members, county commissioners, nationally
  5. Other non-profit organizations advocating for equity for African American communities in the solar industry.

B. Negotiating a position with major corporations to serve as off takers for NABS Member Projects on their books.

C. Achieving a National Solar Consultancy for African American Institutions, municipalities, counties,


D. To utilize African American owned farmlands and HBCU campuses to develop capacity and initiatives for solar installation projects to bring down unemployment and under employment of young black men and women nationally.

E. To encourage HBCUs to inter into more public/private partnerships with solar companies and private investment companies to set up more solar farms on African American owned farmlands and HBCU campuses nationally.

F. To encourage HBCUs with schools of business, communication, and engineering to develop better working relations with local solar companies in the area to develop local advertising programs to target the African American community to get the word out on programs such as the Energy Smart DC Solar for All Program.

G. To encourage HBCUs with Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) to help identify students majoring in business administration at HBCUs to assist local solar companies in writing proposals targeting local and federal grants to develop training programs, reducing the time and resources needed for smaller solar companies in their marketplace to complete the application process for grants.

H. To open negotiation with the U.S. DOE Solar Training Network to establish a National Solar STEM Program, as well as establishing Solar Job Training Centers at Selected HBCUs and other locations around the country.

I. To open Negotiation with training platform owners to standardize solar job training in the African American communities nationwide through NABS members and partnerships.

J. To target the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU’s) to become North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) continuing education certificate training providers through their continuing education and workforce development programs working in conjunction with African American Solar and workforce development companies to provide online training in their local area marketplaces for interested candidates.

K. To encourage HBCUs with workforce development programs to work in conjunction with local solar companies in their marketplaces to help them develop apprenticeship training programs for individuals successful in completing the NABCEP continuing education or work development training programs.

L. We are requesting full funding for a national HBCU Five – Year Green Economic Development Sustainability Plan developed by the Positive Change Purchasing Cooperative, LLC. and PEER Consultants, led by their CEO, Dr. Lilia Abron. CEO, Dr. Lilia Abron, P.E., BCEE receives the highest professional distinction accorded to an engineer, as an inductee of the National Academy of Engineers Class of 2020.

M. We are also requesting US DOE becoming a national signature sponsor for “Solar Now and The Future with Its Economic Impact on Black America” national syndication on black talk radio.

N. Funding the operations for The National Association of Blacks in Solar (NABS) to work in collaboration with our CDC’s, HBCU’s and SBDC’s to launch these initiatives.


  • Therese Bridges, (Tougaloo College Solar Agriculture) The goal of this program is to reach socially disadvantaged and veteran farmers and ranchers to improve their participation in USDA programs.


  • John Boyd, Jr, PRESIDENT OF NBFA: The National Black Farmers Association (NBFA) is a non-profit organization representing African American farmers and their families in the United States. As an association, it serves tens of thousands of members nationwide. NBFA’s education and advocacy efforts have been focused on civil rights, land retention, access to public and private loans, education and agricultural training, and rural economic development for black and other small farmers.


  • Cherie Brooks President and CEO of In the aftermath of the 2015 riots, a Baltimore-based solar developer, a Real Estate Executive, and an iconic NFL star found themselves on the phone together talking about how to re-inject hope and pride in their community. From their deeply rooted faith, the three shared a vision of strengthening communities from the inside and the pride that comes when one builds his future with his own hands. Over the next year, they laid the foundation with three unique and impactful entities. With the vision of Cherie Brooks, they forged Power52 Foundation, a 501(c)3 non-profit foundation dedicated to training and employing at-risk individuals in the Clean Energy Industry. Their timing is fortuitous. The underlying effort is the fundamental belief that our calling is to empower communities to build their own hope-filled future. 443-766-0988 “Our mission is not about Power, it’s about Empowerment”



  • Ron Butler has served as the CEO of the HBCU CDAC since 2010 or Larry K. Salley Chairman of Board, The HBCU Community Action Development Coalition (CDAC): The HBCU Community Action Development Coalition (CDAC) was developed to help bring stakeholders together such as HBCU’s, MSI’s (minority-serving institutions), CDCs (Community Development Corporations), and the Community Economic Development Industry.  By connecting these organizations, HBCU CDAC helps build long-term economic opportunities for the HBCU/MSI students, small businesses near the campuses, and the broader surrounding community. Our organization tackles programs like financial education, green energy, opportunity zone funding, and helping small businesses thrive in financially underdeveloped corridors around HBCUs and MSIs.  But we need the support of individuals, corporations, government agencies, and foundations to continue this vital work.


  • Gilbert G Campbell III, Antonio Francis Founders of Volt Energy: With a national presence in ten cities, Volt Energy is a minority-owned renewable energy firm that finances and develops solar projects through Solar Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) for private and public sector clients. Utilizing innovative clean technology, Volt Energy provides design, engineering, and implementation of energy storage solutions. Volt Energy’s mission is to uplift communities through the opportunities and benefits provided by clean technology. 1705 Pennsylvania Avenue NW Washington DC 2006 202-729- 8150 Gilbert Campbell on solar power’s diversity problem



  • Sabrina Campbell, Acting Budget Director in the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE): As Acting Director, Sabrina Campbell oversees budget planning, development and execution in the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE). Prior to joining EERE, she served in the Under Secretary of Energy Office where she chaired budget development oversight and all fiscal-related matters of 12 program offices.  Additionally, she provided expertise on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), and other issues.


  • Jason Carney, Founder and CEO ofEnergy Electives:  At Energy Electives, we endeavor to eliminate energy bills with energy efficiency and renewable energy.Internally, we are building a sustainable, inclusive environment with fiscal, ethical, moral, and social responsibility. A native of Nashville, Tennessee, Jason Carney became the first African-American in the entire state to obtain the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) certification. Carney worked as the former Clean Energy Program Manager with the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy and moved forward to create Energy Electives, an energy company that provides the materials and services to help homeowners save money, improve comfort, and conserve energy. Over several years, Carney has given guest lectures about clean energy, accompanied students on field trips to nearby Music City Solar, the local utility’s community solar project, and started a solar project at Whites Creek High School, a majority-black, majority-low-income public school that is a seven-minute drive from his home in north Nashville. Read NPR’s special on Jason Carney: A Mission To Bring Solar Energy To Communities Of Color


  • Lenwood Coleman, VP Solar Development & Operation: Groundswell builds community power through equitable community solar projects, clean energy programs that reduce energy burdens, and pioneering research initiatives that help light the way to clean energy futures for all. Groundswell has clean energy programs and projects in place in six states, including the District of Columbia, and serves more than 3700 income-qualified customers with more than $1.85 million per year in clean energy savings. Our vision is a clean energy economy that equitably serves all people with a diverse supply chain that is free of representation and wage gaps and generates wealth, work, and savings for all the communities it serves. During 2020, Groundswell’s entire team worked together to complete a new Strategic Plan that defines our goals, how well reach them, and how we’ll measure our progress. It takes about 15 minutes or so to flip through it, or a bit longer to read it word for word. 240-303-2944


  • Richard Corley, Retired Engineer and Developer: Andrew P and Angie K Corley Solar Farm in Chester County South Carolina With meager beginnings, William Edward King, my grandfather bought 127 acres of land in Chester County, South Carolina more than 90 years ago.    The land was passed down to my mother and dad with the intention to have it developed one day into something that the community could enjoy, possibly a farm, which could possibly now be fittingly a solar farm. We do not take it for granted that we have the opportunity to do something on this land, 127 acres, as we direct our attention to solar and supplying electricity to the community and also being a part of the energy revolution. We teamed up with a black solar developer, PEER Consulting who brought together a team to develop a solar farm on the land.  We reached out to our local HBCUs to see if they are interest in a workforce development program on the proposed farm.   This will be a key ingredient to the overall success of the project. We know that blacks have not been able to be a part of this energy revolution and we hope that we can use this land to not only train a new generation of young folks but also to have black folks employed in this lucrative industry, estimated to generate.




  • Mark Davis, Owner and Founder of WDC Solar: WDC Solar, Inc., is a minority-owned and operated solar installation Engineering, Construction and Procurement (EPC) company located in Ward 8 of Washington DC, a thriving community known as Anacostia. Since 2009, WDC Solar has been bringing solar power to low-income homes and businesses in the Washington DC area. WDC Solar, Inc. was created with the intention of providing access to solar energy to all socioeconomic classes in Washington, D.C. Ten years ago, Mark Davis, President and Founder of WDC Solar, Inc. created a low-income solar program in conjunction with the District of Columbia Department of Energy and Environment. The program called Solar for All, offers free solar systems to low-income residents who meet certain income requirements. The SFA program allows low- income residents to obtain a state of the art solar system at no cost to the homeowner. The program guarantees the homeowner a 50% reduction on their monthly utility bill. The money that low- income families save, can then be used for other household expenses such as food, medical bills and transportation. The program has been a tremendous success. WDC Solar has installed solar systems to over 500 homes in the District of Columbia.


  • Felicia Davis, Co-founder, HBCU Green Fund; Coordinator, Sustainability at Clark Atlanta University: The HBCU Green Fund is an advocate for HBCU sustainability in all aspects of that word with a focus on infrastructure and operations.  We have worked (with little success) to increase investment in HBCU energy and water retrofits.  As we all know, HBCUs are significant economic anchors and major influencers within the Black community, if there is a real or even slight commitment to equity and development of disadvantaged (under-invested) Black communities, HBCUs are the most logical vehicle and yet there is a tremendous need to build capacity and readiness.  Our major initiative is providing support for investment grade audits and this is a project that we would like DOE to support (technical and financial).  We are also working to establish a baseline calculation of the collective HBCU carbon emissions.  If I am included on the agenda I will provide brief written remarks for your review as requested.  I assume that this is being conveyed late and I wanted to get it in for consideration. We coordinated the BIPOC Climate Justice Dialogue and report.  It is not our primary focus but may be of interest.  http://bipocscholars.orgI am most interested in financing for actual projects and making sure that we don’t miss the boat. HBCU Green Fund Leads the Way to Energy Efficiency on Campus with an emphasis on cutting-edge technology and community activism, historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) can lead the way for American higher education institutions providing a sustainable, Earth-friendly education for their students. Relying mainly on grassroots support and crowdfunding for resources, the HBCU Green Fund will finance campus projects that cut energy and water usage—and thus, energy costs–on HBCU campuses. The Fund will, in turn, reinvest the savings it gains back into its sustainability program to finance additional projects. Our three-pronged approach will help sustain the HBCU legacy for generations to come.



  • Ray Douaire, Chief Executive Officer Trusted Solutions Group: Trusted Solutions Group (TSG) provides a wide range of construction services since 2002 that includes labor staffing, DC DOES First Source Solutions, and general contracting. TSG is a Washington, DC CBE, a certified airport contractor, and an SBA certified HUBZoneTSG has performed hundreds of construction projects throughout the Washington, DC Metropolitan area ranging in sizes from small projects to multimillion-dollar contracts.Turning Opportunities into Careers” The TSG mission is to recruit, train and employ people from underemployed communities in the inner city of Washington DC. TSG has been able to realize its mission having employed well over 1000 men and women who live in DC communities and HUBZones. TSG was awarded the HUBZone of the Year award by the HUBZone Contractors National Council. TSG jobs are created through its construction projects in and around Metro Washington. 3921 S. Capitol St SW Suite 3 Washington, DC 20032 202-563-3530


  • Ugwen I. Eneyo, Co-Founder & CEO of  SHYFT Power Solutions: SHYFT Power Solutions is an award-winning, venture-backed energy technology company that is pioneering the use of IoT, software and big data to improve access to clean, reliable and affordable energy solutions in markets that struggle with grid resiliency.As a former Stanford MS/PhD student in Civil & Environmental Engineering, Ms. Eneyo’s studies explored how we use tech to create ‘grids of the future’ but particularly in emerging markets. She’s given talks on the nexus of energy and sustainable development to global thought leaders, including the World Bank.   Read Forbes: This Entrepreneur Shines A Light On The Power Of Female Deeptech CEOs



  • Denise Gray, CEO/President of LG Chem Power, Inc. : LG Chem is one of the world’s largest makers and suppliers of automotive batteries for electric vehicles. As of 2015, Denise Gray is the CEO of the U.S. arm in Detroit, MI and has integrated their battery systems into an impressive array of cutting-edge vehicles, including the Chevrolet Bolt and Chrysler Pacifica hybrid-electric vehicles. Prior to her role as Chief of LG Chem, she had spent five years with a couple of specialty suppliers in the growing EV space and 29 years rising though General Motors on the powertrain-engineering side, eventually becoming the Director of energy-storage systems. Forbes: LG Chem Power Chief Focuses On Making EV Batteries Affordable


  • Paula R. Glover, President Alliance to Save Energy: Former President of American Association of Blacks in Energy (AABE) which is a non-profit professional association whose focus is to ensure that African Americans and other minorities have input into the discussions and development of energy policy, regulations, and environmental issues. Mrs. Glover leads a 2000-member association with 40 chapters nationwide. Prior to her current role, Ms. Glover served as the association’s Vice President of Operations and served as the organization’s Director of Communications. Ms. Glover’s experiences include 15 years in the energy industry for both electric and natural gas distribution companies. Read Forbes: AABE President & CEO Paula Glover Issues Bold Challenge To Industry To Tap Into Its Creativity



  • Johney Green Jr., Associate Laboratory Director for Mechanical and Thermal Engineering Sciences at NREL: In his role as deputy laboratory director for Science and Technology, Green is responsible for NREL’s science and research goals, strengthening the laboratory’s core capabilities, and enhancing NREL’s research portfolio. In addition, he oversees the Laboratory Directed Research and Development Program, NREL-university interactions, and the postdoctoral research program. Green’s prior leadership experience includes serving as president of the Materials Research Society, with members from more than 50 countries, in 2006. He has been a member of a number of advisory boards for the national academies, national laboratories, scientific journals, and universities. National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)


  • Mayor Johnny Ford, (World Conference of Mayors): The World Conference of Mayors, Inc. (WCM), founded and organized in April 1984, is a non-profit, non-political world conference of Mayors, Inc., (WCM). The World Conference of Mayors, Inc., is comprised of mayors, former mayors, and other elected and appointed local public officials. OUR MISSION: A combination of technical assistance, professional governmental training and dedication. The World Conference of Mayors, Inc. has been a crucial facilitator for collaboration and promotion.



  • Kristal Hansley, President of WeSolar Energy: WeSolar’s mission is to bring under-resourced communities affordable access to local community solar and to assist commercial properties with energy efficiency. WeSolar launched in Baltimore and will expand to other cities in the future. Through WeSolar, electricity consumers can purchase shared solar from a local project without having to install any equipment in their homes. In turn, residents save hundreds on their electricity bills. In Maryland, lawmakers passed legislation that states 50 percent of its electricity must come from renewable energy sources by 2030. The CEO, Kristal Hansley, and her team are disrupters who advocate that communities of color and low-income communities be included in this shift and have a healthy environment in the future.


  • Lisa Jackson, P. of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives at Apple, former EPA Administrator: Lisa Jackson was the first African American woman to serve as Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, serving under President Obama from 2009 to 2013. She worked to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, take action on climate change, and expand outreach to various communities on environmental education. Now, as Vice President of Environment, Policy, and Social Initiatives at Apple, she works to decrease Apple’s environmental footprint by advancing renewable energy and energy efficiency and promoting more sustainable processes. Jackson has a Master’s Degree in Chemical Engineering from Princeton University and a Bachelor’s Degree in Chemical Engineering from Tulane University.



  • Ellsworth James is the managing director of JVJ Consulting Group, A U.S conglomerate with companies in Project Management, Renewable Energy, and Solar Power Generation and Research.The following is a list of current Energy Sector Projects, Economic Development and Renewable Energy Minority-owned renewable energy power plants were established in Alabama and Mississippi.

The Gateway Energy Group has established in Green County Alabama.

A 3000 ton per day renewable energy facility is being developed on the Tom Bigbie River. This plant will generate p to 95 megawatts (MW) gross of electricity, enough to power the equivalent of more than 55,000 homes.  This plant will employ a Zero Waste methodology for a state-of-the-art recycling facility capable of eliminating or reusing 80% of the municipal solid waste currently going to landfills.  The renewable energy power and recycling plant will provide 800 permanent full-time jobs and return 6M to the local business community. The project budget is currently set at $485M and is projected to generate up to 18M annually by year 3.

The DMEG was established in the Mississippi Delta near the Mississippi River in Rosedale.

A mirror of the Alabama plant will take in 3000 tons per day and is being developed near the Mississippi River.  This plant will generate up to 95 megawatts (MW) gross electricity through waste to energy and an additional 200 MW through a second-generation solar technology radiant energy utility station.  This plant will also employ a Zero Waste methodology for a state-of-the-art recycling facility capable of eliminating or reusing 80% of the municipal solid waste currently going to landfills.  The renewable energy power and recycling plant will provide 1200 permanent full-time jobs in the combined waste to energy and solar power plant and return 8 to 10M annually to the local business community for supplies and services. The project budget is currently set at $785M and is projected to generate 25 to 30M annually.



  • Efrem Jernigan, Organization (South Union CDC, Houston, TX): The South Union Community Development Corporation is a 501c3 non-profit organization established to help develop the South Union community and surrounding areas of Houston. Our mission is to “sow seeds of success” into youth through exposure to science, technology, engineering and math careers and seniors through fellowship, food, fun and fitness. Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Architecture, Agriculture and Math related professionals, speakers, presenters and instructors for our Saturday program titled. The STEM Foundation. Sunnyside 70 MW Solar Farm Project.



  • Mayor Darryl Johnson, Historic Black Towns and Settlements: The mission of the Historic Black Towns and Settlements Alliance, Inc. (HBTS) is to work collaboratively to actively preserve and promote the heritage, history and culture of these historic places by utilizing their human, environmental, built, arts, and humanities resources to nurture economic development and to support an enhanced quality of life for their residents, neighbors and fellow Americans. A group of America’s most representative historic Black towns and settlements, each more than one hundred years old, have formed an alliance (HBTS) to leverage historic preservation to protect their respective communities, educate their residents and the public at large, and generate economic development individually and collectively: Tuskegee, Macon County, Alabama (Mayor Johnny Ford) – c.1833, settled; incorporated 1843; 181 years Grambling, Lincoln Parish, Louisiana (Mayor Ed Jones) – settled c.1865; incorporated 1953; 149 years Hobson City, Calhoun County, Alabama (Mayor Alberta McCrory) – settled c.1865; incorporated 1899 – 149 yrs Eatonville, Orange County, Florida (Mayor Bruce Mount) – settled 1881; incorporated 1887; 125 yrs Mound Bayou, Bolivar County, Mississippi (Mayor Darryl Johnson) – settled c.1887; incorporated 1898; 116 years Since April 1, 2014 the mayors of each town have completed the following: •Weekly conference calls for coordination, planning, and information updates. • Each town is recruiting and appointing local residents to serve on respective historic preservation committees. • Site visits to Tuskegee and Mound Bayou. The mayors will visit Hobson City for its 115 Founders Day celebration between August 14 and 17. A visit is scheduled to Grambling for Constitution Day activities to be held September 14-16, 2014. • Five major collaborative historic preservation grants have been prepared for the HBTS since April.


  • Van Jones, President & Co-Founder of Dream Corps: Green for All: Dream Corps: Green for All is a national NGO that uplifts the voices of low-income families and people of color in the climate movement through empathy-based communications and storytelling. They advocate for strong, resilient, and healthy neighborhoods through policy work that ensures that as the clean economy grows, it brings good jobs, better health, and opportunity to underserved communities. As part of the Clean Energy Corps Working Group, Green for All launched a campaign for a Clean Energy Corps initiative which would create 600,000 ‘green-collar’ jobs while retrofitting and upgrading more than 15 million American buildings. Van Jones is a social entrepreneur, best-selling author, CNN political contributor and host of The Van Jones Show on CNN. He was appointed the green jobs advisor to President Barack Obama in 2009, where he helped run the inter-agency process that oversaw $80 billion in green energy recovery spending.



  • John Wainaina Karanja, President of Melanin Solar: Melanin Solar, is driving sustainable energy access across Africa, through our Blockchain based distributed solar energy solution called the Melanin Smart Box(MSBX); This MSBX solution will enable efficient solar microgrid eco-systems to be deployed across our target markets. Through our Melanin Academy which is hosted at BitHub Africa our Blockchain hub in Nairobi, Melanin Solar targets to train 2,000 Blockchain Engineers who will contribute to the development and deployment of Melanin Solar and other solutions. Melanin Solar enables communities to produce their own solar energy for consumption and sell excess energy through a peer-to-peer model to under-served neighbors. This will enable the deployment and distribution of efficient solar micro-grid eco-systems across Africa.We are doing this by building out Africa’s distributed solar energy infrastructure which includes a set of tools, protocols and applications. At the same time through our Academy we intend to reduce the huge shortage of engineers; who can be leveraged to develop, deploy and maintain our solution across Africa which has a high pool of potential talent with its huge youthful population.


  • Ed Love, President of Alternative Lighting & Power Houston, Texas: At the highest quality, AL&P delivers state of the art, innovative and dependable solar, wind, indoor/outdoor architectural lighting and power generating products and systems.  From the initial customer consultation to the final system commissioning and post installation analysis, we are focused. Our innovative systems, technical expertise, and commitment to client satisfaction make us a great choice in lighting, power, solar and wind integrators for a broad customer base.  AL&P raises the bar for industry standards by opening doors for the artistic side of function by pursuing relationships with companies from around the world by posing the question, “What If?” AL&P partners with top quality manufacturers of products worldwide whose workmanship goes above and beyond industry standards to ensure our customers receive the very best in the technologies we offer. 832–356-4660



  • Jessica O. Matthews, Founder and CEO of  Uncharted Power : Uncharted Power is apower access company, paving the way for smart and sustainable infrastructure development. The Uncharted System specializes in creating a resilient, upgradable, and cost-effective “Internet for Decentralized Energy” by connecting energy sources and applications like sensors, edge devices, and ICT hardware right under our feet. Uncharted Power has raised $7 million, the largest Series A ever raised by a black female founder. Jessica is not only founder and CEO but CTO, too, as well as a multiple patent holder for the software stack, hardware elements, mesh design, and AI-based protocols inside the MORE (Motion-based, Off-grid, Renewable Energy) technology. Read Forbes: Uncharted    Power Founder Jessica O. Matthews On Building The Anti-Silicon Valley Energy Startup


  • Congressman A. Donald McEachin | Representing the 4th … Jurisdiction includes: National energy policy; fossil energy; renewable energy; nuclear energy; nuclear facilities; the Department of Energy; the Nuclear Regulatory Commission; the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission; synthetic and alternative fuels; energy conservation; energy information; energy security; utility issues; interstate energy compacts; energy generation, marketing, reliability, transmission, siting, exploration, production, consumption, efficiency, cybersecurity, and ratemaking for all generated power;  , including pipeline safety aspects as they relate to the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration; all laws, programs, and government activities affecting energy matters; environmental justice as it relates to the above-referenced jurisdiction ; and  all aspects of the above-referenced jurisdiction related to the Department of Homeland Security.



  • Rose McKinney and James Mc Kinney James & Associates Managing Principal Energy Works Consulting LLC: Rose McKinney-James is a long-term advocate for clean energy and climate policy. She is the former CEO of the Corporation for Solar Technology and Renewable Resources (CSTRR), a former Commissioner with the Nevada Public Service Commission, and Nevada’s first Director of the Department of Business and Industry. She is the Managing Principal of Energy Works LLC, McKinney-James & Associates and Advocacy BL/ACK. Her firms provide consulting services in legislative advocacy and strategy in public affairs, clean energy policy, sustainable development and diversity, equity, and inclusion. She is a member of the Board of MGM Resorts International, Toyota Financial Services Bank and CLEAResult. Ms. McKinney-James also serves as the Board Chair of the Energy Foundation and is the immediate Past Chair of the American Association for Blacks in Energy (AABE).





  • Jacqueline Patterson, Director of the NAACP Environmental and Climate Justice Program: has led the NAACP’sPower to the People campaign which cites the disproportionate exposure of African American children to coal plants and higher average costs that Black households pay for energy services as motivations to transition away from the fossil fuel industry. Since 2007 she has also served as coordinator & co-founder of Women of Color United. Jacqui Patterson has worked as a researcher, program manager, coordinator, advocate and activist working on women‘s rights, violence against women, HIV&AIDS, racial justice, economic justice, and environmental and climate justice. Power to the People campaign




  • Tony G. Reames, Director of the Urban Energy Justice Lab: The Urban Energy Justice (UEJ) Lab at the University of Michigan School for Environment and Sustainability (UM SEAS) was established in 2015 to study energy-related topics through a justice lens, primarily in an urban context. Their research focuses on the production and persistence of spatial, racial, and socioeconomic disparities in accessibility and affordability of energy services, technology, and programs. UEJ provides grants, invests in renewable energy projects, and has a service-learning program that gives college students from around the country the opportunity to spend their vacation week installing solar in underserved communities. Dr. Tony Reames is an assistant professor for Climate + Energy at the UM SEAS. His research agenda seeks to connect the areas of technological advancement, the policy process, and social equity. His research extends the environmental justice scholarship to focus on energy justice. He is currently exploring disparities in residential energy generation, consumption, and affordability- focusing on the production and persistence of inequality by race, class, and place. Read: Energy access is not created equal. This Ann Arbor organization is trying to change that.


  • Jerome Ringo President of Zoetic Hydrokinetic Technology Washington DC: A leader in impactful solutions targeting energy, water, food security and healthcare. Zoetic is the culmination of Mr. Ringo’s dedication to promote sustainable development through the use of clean technology solution. He is an internationally recognized thought leader on global environmental issues and has led two of the largest environmental organizations in the world, the 6-million-member National Wildlife Federation and the Apollo Alliance, which was a 19 million member organization during his tenure. As climate change has moved front and center into the public consciousness, Mr. Ringo offers a unique perspective based on his years in the oil and gas industry, environmental advocacy and now renewable energy development. He has participated in climate talks from the start and has provided testimony to the US Congress and addressed leadership at the UN and the African Union. Of critical importance is the inclusion of developing nations in all climate discussions as Africa suffers a disproportionate impact from climate change. Mr. Ringo is the Goodwill Ambassador to the Pan-African Parliament for Trade and Investment, he attended the CFTA (Continent Free Trade Area) signing, and aided the country of Sudan in the lifting of sanctions. 202- 821-1836



  • Congressman Bobby Rush Chairman: United States Representative Bobby L. Rush is a transcendent and influential American leader who keeps his legislative and policy interests focused on the needs of his constituents in the 1st Congressional District of Illinois, with an emphasis on the most vulnerable and the communities that feel left behind.  He believes deeply in the redemptive power of the human spirit and in human ingenuity and tenacity.  In office since 1993, Rush stands on the shoulders of a long line of patriots and public servants who have gone before him and who are ardent believers in our Constitution.  His life is an example of our nation’s fundamental promise and his work reflects a deep determination to bend the arc of government resources and innovation towards the needs of every American — whether they live on our nation’s main streets or its side streets.  Rush fights every day for his constituents; to improve their lives, grow the economy, bring jobs to the district, and build a stronger middle class. Chicago and its surrounding communities are a snapshot of the diversity that is found across America.  While large parts of Rush’s district include communities that house world-class health and educational institutions and a diverse array of businesses, there are others where youth unemployment and acts of violence are far too common.  Rush has focused on providing a public policy approach to creating jobs, tackling gun violence, and making communities safer.  Rush is an honorably discharged veteran of the United States Army and an ordained minister with a Master’sDegree in Theology.  Rush has honorary doctorate degrees from the Virginia University of Lynchburg, Roosevelt University, and the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT).  In addition to his Congressional responsibilities, Rush is the pastor of the Beloved Community Christian Church of God in Christ in Chicago.  Rush listens to his constituents with a pastor’s ear and acts on their needs through hard work, empathy, and a commitment to public service. Rush was married to the late Carolyn Rush for 37 years and recently married Minister Evangelist Paulette Rush. Energy and Commerce Committee Leaders Introduce Bipartisan Solutions to Enhance Cybersecurity for U.S. Energy Infrastructure


  • Al Sharpton, President /CEO National Action Network: National Action Network: Is one of the leading civil rights organizations in the Nation with chapters throughout the entire United States. Founded in 1991 by Reverend Al Sharpton, NAN works within the spirit and tradition of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to promote a modern civil rights agenda that includes the fight for one standard of justice, decency and equal opportunities for all people regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, citizenship, criminal record, economic status, gender, gender expression, or sexuality. NAN platform which address the following issues: Criminal Justice Reform, Police Accountability, Crisis Intake & Victims Assistance, Voting Rights, Corporate Responsibility & Pension Diversity, Youth Leadership, and Bridging The Digital Divide.


  • Daanen Strachan, PhD President and CEO Alternatives Renewable Solutions, LLC: Alternatives Renewable Solutions, LLC (ARS Energy): Is a minority-owned, renewable energy systems integration company headquartered in Washington, DC. As a utility services provider, we design, install, and maintain the highest performing energy systems in the industry. Our services include the financing, design, and construction of solar photovoltaic (PV), solar thermal, greywater recycling, porous asphalt pavement, and rain harvesting systems. ARS Energy provides maintenance and monitoring services to meet our clients’ production goals and sells solar renewable energy certificates (SRECs). As a proud member of the Maryland-District of Columbia-Virginia Solar Energy Industries Association (MDV-SEIA), ARS Energy is dedicated to providing the Airports Authority safe and effective products and accurate information about our services. 1725 I Street, NW, Suite 3 email: 1800- 759 -7813 Managing Pattern Washington, DC 20006 3196 Westover Drive SE, Washington, DC 20020 202- 909-6790


  • Robert L. Wallace President and Founder: Bithenergy: Is an award-winning energy engineering and technical services consulting firm that maximizes the business value and efficiency of each unit of energy produced and consumed. We offer our government and corporate clients intelligent strategies, advanced information systems, innovative technologies, full implementation services for managing energy consumption, smart grid infrastructure build-outs and the development of renewable energy systems. Bithenergy has successfully developed, financed and integrated over 33MW of solar projects both nationally and internationally. Under the project development group, Bithenergy provides services in renewable energy financing, construction financing, PPA negotiations and Debt/Equity structures for multi-megawatt utility-scale projects. Bithenergy’s national network of contractors consists of over 50 strategic partnerships, joint ventures and teaming arrangements that encompass a range of services. Bithenergy’s projects demonstrate our strong financial stability, proven solar technological solutions, effective design and construction practices with established project management talent and methodologies. Located 113 West Monument Street 410-962-1188 x27 Baltimore, Maryland 21201’


  • Carmen J. Walters: …………………………… Need for HBCU solar project funding by hiring Black Owned Solar, Engineering, and job training resources.


  • Christian Warren – Founder, Chief Executive Officer Bio and Mark Randall – Founder, Chief Operating Officer – Midflare Cooperation: Was founded in 2009 and is a minority certified renewable energy company based in Atlanta, GA. As a commercial and utility-scale solar project developer, we provide clean electricity to mid-market companies and large energy buyers, as well as utilities


  • Venus Welch-White, PhD, National Rural Energy Program Specialist USDA Rural Energy Business -Cooperative Services Energy Division: To assist rural communities in creating prosperity so they are self-sustaining and economically thriving through investments that create ladders of opportunity, build regional resilience, and support the growth of emerging markets. cell 202-768- 0590 office 202-720-0400


  • Cora Williams, President & CEO Ideal Electrical Supply: Ideal Electrical Supply Corporation is a privately-owned corporation established in 1991 as a full-service wholesale electrical distributor for complete lines of electrical, lighting, industrial, data and telecommunications networking products, wire and cable, tools and safety equipment. Ideal Electric is 100% owned and operated by its founders, Cora Williams, President and Ken Rogers EVP (Ret.), Member, Board of Directors. Ideal Electric has over 25 years of direct experience in MRO type contract support. We have established long-term relationships and contracts with major utilities whose MRO support requirements are critical to the ongoing operation of services on which clients depend. These companies include utilities such as Exelon Corporation, First Energy, PSEG, Baltimore Gas & Electric, Potomac Electric Power Company, Washington Gas, Southern Company and SMECO. We understand mission critical requirements. Ideal is constantly working within the distribution industry to gain access to information, training, and resources necessary to maintain the highest standard of customer satisfaction with the delivery of supplier services. Ideal Electric is located in Washington, DC with satellite offices in Chicago, IL and Philadelphia, PA. We have a 25,000sf distribution center at the headquarters location in Washington DC. Our success has come by finding and servicing niche customers who need special attention and handling. In addition to being a one-stop shop for most of our customers, we have also become our customers’ problem solver for many supply chain issues. We are an active member in several professional organizations such as, the National Association of Electrical Distributors (NAED), the American Association of Blacks in Energy (AABE) and the Utility Supply Management Alliance (USMA). 3515 V Street N.E. Washington DC20018 O:202-526-7500 ext.100 202-271-8841

Copyrighted:  June 4,2021 All Rights Reserved:  National Association of Blacks in Solar (NABS)


U.S. Department of Energy Announces Prize to Accelerate More Equitable Solar Deployment and a New Matchmaking Tool for Clean Tech Innovators

Author: US DOE Staff       Published: 6/11/2021         SETO

Energy dot gov Office of Energy Efficiency and renewable energy

Tool Connects Makers with Resources to Help Them Address Challenges to Solar Deployment

Washington, D.C. — Today, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced $5 million for the American-Made Solar Prize Round 5, a competition designed to accelerate the commercialization of products needed for widespread, equitable solar energy deployment and domestic manufacturing. DOE also announced a new tool that connects innovators with support from DOE’s national labs, business incubators, and other entrepreneurial resources in the American-Made Network to advance their technologies.

“By fueling connections between the nation’s most creative and forward-thinking entrepreneurs, the 17 national labs and the broader DOE ecosystem, universities, and the private sector, we are catalyzing the best of American ingenuity and creating an innovation engine for America,” said Acting Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Kelly Speakes-Backman. “This is how America will decarbonize the energy sector and lead the $23 trillion global clean energy market.”

The new tool uses artificial intelligence to expand and develop the American-Made Network’s capabilities, helping fast-track development cycles. This tool will lower barriers to market entry for entrepreneurs by matching innovators to the exact resources they need, right when they need them.

American-Made Solar Prize Round 5

For the first time, the American-Made Solar Prize will have two tracks—one for hardware innovations and one for software innovations—a recognition that both are needed to advance the solar industry. The software track will have a particular focus on enabling underserved communities to overcome systemic barriers to solar energy. To further incentivize this focus, competitors can win $300,000 in additional funds through a Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) Contest. The two tracks of the competition will focus on hardware and software components separately, with the goal of enabling more entrepreneurs to compete in the solar space.

The hardware track builds on the previous four rounds of the Solar Prize by soliciting ideas for hardware products that can be manufactured in America. Over the course of the previous four rounds, the Solar Prize supported 80 teams with $11 million in cash prizes and $3.4 million in technical support. The Solar Prize Round 5 hardware track will support as many as 20 new teams, who will compete for up to $3 million in prizes as they advance their technologies with the support of the American-Made Network.

In the software track, DOE seeks software concepts that will help address the non-hardware costs of solar, like customer acquisition, financing, and grid integration. Software track competitors can receive up to $2 million in prizes, using advances in communications and information technologies to rethink how to solve solar deployment challenges.

To augment Round 5 and the JEDI Contest, NREL is launching a Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Advisory Committee to help attract, recruit, and support a broader, more diverse group of Solar Prize applicants.

To compete in the Solar Prize, apply by October 5.

The prize program and the American-Made Network are funded by DOE’s Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) in the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and are administered by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

For details about the Solar Prize Round 5, register here for an informational webinar on July 13 at 3 p.m. ET.

Solar for All Summer Solstice Recruitment Event – Friday, June 18

Author: DOEE Staff       Published: 6/11/2021       DOEE Solar For All

Soalr For All

Sign up for free community solar in person with DOEE on Friday, June 18. Visit one of the ten outdoor stations listed below to sign up for Solar for All and learn about other opportunities to conserve energy and save on utility costs. Please bring a copy of a recent Pepco bill.

  • Columbia Heights Civic Plaza, 1400 Park Rd NW:  2PM – 7PM
  • Latino Economic Development Center, 1401 Columbia Rd NW: 2PM – 7PM
  • Georgia Ave/Petworth Metro Station: 2PM – 7PM
  • Turkey Thicket Recreation Center, 1100 Michigan Avenue NE:  2PM – 7PM
  • Langdon Park Recreation Center, 2860 Mills Avenue NE:  3PM – 7PM
  • Southwest Public Library, 900 Wesley Place SW:  2PM – 6PM
  • Ridge Road Recreation Center, 830 Ridge Road SE:   2PM – 5PM
  • Minnesota Ave & Benning Rd Family Success Center, 4020 Minnesota Ave NE:  3PM – 7PM
  • UPO Petey Greene Center, 2907 Martin Luther King Jr Ave SE:  2PM – 5PM
  • Savannah Apartments Courtyard, 3238 13th St SE:  2PM – 7PM

Ready to go solar today? You can also apply right now:

Solar for All celebrates the successes and documents the challenges of the first two years of implementing Solar For All, Mayor Muriel Bowser’s initiative to provide 100,000 low-to-moderate income families with the benefits of locally generated clean energy. One of the most progressive solar mandates in the U.S., #DCSolarStories exhibits how the District is using innovation and the concept of equity or “equal access” to local, clean energy to slash resident’s utility burdens and protect underserved communities in the face of the changing climate.

Solar for All aims to bring the benefits of solar energy to 100,000 low to moderate income families in the District of Columbia. The DC Department of Energy and Environment is partnering with organizations across the District to install solar on single family homes and develop community solar projects to benefit renters and residents in multi-family buildings. All Solar for All participants should expect to see a 50% savings on their electricity bill over 15 years and can be proud to have gone solar!  In order to be eligible, residents must meet the income guidelines below.

4 Steps To Going Solar Info Sheet

How to Apply

Solar for All Community Solar:

Solar for All Single-Family Solar:

Grid Alternatives Mid-Atlantic is offering no-cost installs to single-family, income-eligible households through Solar Works DC, the District’s solar systems installation and job training program. To see if you qualify, please call Solar Works DC at 866-921-4696 or 202-602-0191. See Solar Works DC website for more details.

Contact Us

For more information about Solar for All, contact the DOEE Solar for All hotline at (202) 299-5271 or

For current Solar for All Subscribers
Groundswell has received a grant from DOEE to provide engagement and support to Solar For All subscribers. Their mission is to build community power, and develop and manage community solar programs that connect clean power with economic empowerment. They are a 501c3 nonprofit founded in the District in 2009. Learn more >>

Solar for All subscribers who need help with their subscription and benefits can reach Groundswell by phone at 202-681-3692 or by email at


Washington DC residents can participate in Solar for All single family solar or community solar options if the household income is below 80% of the area median income (AMI) threshold, as listed below.

Persons in
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
$70,600 $80,650 $90,750 $100,800 $110,900 $121,000 $131,050 $141,150 $151,200 $161,300

Household income amounts listed in the eligibility table are effective as of 04/01/20, but may change.
Please visit the US Dept of Housing and Urban Development website for the most up-to-date numbers.

Community Solar

Community solar provides the benefits of solar to residents who can’t install systems on their home, including renters and homeowners whose rooftops are shaded or need repairs. A community solar project is not located on the home, but offsite, and the benefiting household receives a credit on their Pepco electricity bill each month. Read more>>

How can I participate in Solar for All’s community solar projects?

Several organizations are a part of the DOEE Solar for All community solar initiative. Two programs currently have open applications. District residents interested in participating should reach out to those organizations directly using the contact information provided below.

Additionally, in late 2019, DOEE plans to open enrollment for select income-eligible District residents to benefit from new community solar projects, including a proposed project under development at Oxon Run.

Authorized Solar For All Vendors
Enflection transparent logo 1200x420.pngSave Solar

To verify whether a solar developer / contractor is operating a DOEE Solar for All program, please email or call 311.

Additional Information

DOEE is working with the DC Sustainable Energy Utility Solar for All in 2019-2020. This program has the potential to save customers up to $500 per year on their electricity bills. Local solar contractors are working to install solar at no cost to income-qualified District residents. Read More>>

File Income Verification Guidance – 763.2 KB (docx)
PDF icon Community Solar One Pager – 5.9 MB (pdf)
PDF icon Solar for All One Pager – 7.0 MB (pdf)
PDF icon Four Steps To Going Solar – 241.2 KB (PDF)
Contact TTY:

Utility Affordability Programs

Author: DOEE Staff            Published: 6/11/2021   Department of Energy & Environment

Utility Affordability Programs

ALERT: With Mayor Bowser adjusting the District’s operating status in response to coronavirus (COVID-19), all non-essential agency events, gatherings and meetings are postponed until further notice. DOEE remains open. All staff will work remotely, except in limited cases. All DOEE operations and services remain unchanged unless otherwise stated. For operating status of DC Government and more information on response, please visit

ALERT: DOEE is not accepting appointments for utility assistance applications at this time. Please visit the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program page for more informationupdates.

DOEE has financial assistance, discounts, and energy efficiency programs to help District residents with their utility bills. Please see below for services available to District residents.

Services for Income Eligible Residents

Customers who receive assistance with their energy bills through LIHEAP are automatically eligible to receive a free Home Energy Kit from the DC Sustainable Energy Utility (DCSEU). Home Energy Kits include six energy-efficient LED light bulbs, a smart power strip, and a bathroom faucet aerator, and will help you reduce your energy use and your carbon footprint. Request a Home Energy Kit.

Additional Resources for Residents

Additional Resources for Businesses:

series of photos of DC families
Request for Policy Advisory Council members:

Are you interested in energy efficiency and helping families stay safe in their homes? Consider joining the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Branch (EECB) Policy Advisory Council (PAC) to advise the Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE) on issues related to the administration of EECB programs.

PAC obligations:

  • Attend quarterly conference calls
  • Meet in-person twice a year
  • Serve a two-year term
  • Review and provide feedback on program manuals, standard operating procedures (SOPs), the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) State Plan, department web page, and other materials used for program administration.

If you are interested in participating, please contact to Lawanda Jones at

Contact TTY:

Virginia and U.S. Lawmakers Convene for Powhatan County School Solar Energy Unveiling, Highlight Expected 8% Growth in Clean Energy Jobs Across Commonwealth

Author: Monique Hanis     Published: 6/8/2021       AEE

Screen Shot 2021-06-09 at 9.49.37 AM

Today, business group Virginia Advanced Energy Economy (Virginia AEE), its member, Virginia-based solar developer Sun Tribe, and BrightSuite Solar, a subsidiary of Dominion Energy, hosted Virginia and U.S. congressional lawmakers for the unveiling of Powhatan Elementary School’s recently completed solar energy rooftop array. The project illustrates the impact of Virginia’s Clean Economy Act and growing advanced energy employment across the Commonwealth, expected to increase by 8% according to AEE’s latest jobs fact sheet. The solar arrays at Powhatan County Public Schools were developed through a partnership between BrightSuite and Sun Tribe.

“Today is an exciting moment for Powhatan County Public Schools and Virginia’s Seventh District, and I am thrilled to help celebrate Powhatan Elementary School’s installation of this solar array. In the U.S. House, I am focused on making sure the conversation surrounding clean energy and infrastructure includes new opportunities for investments in these critical technologies — and I look forward to building on our region’s recent successes and finding new ways for Central Virginia to become a leader in the clean energy space,” said U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger (Va. 7th Congressional District). “As our nation looks to tackle the climate crisis and make smart investments to combat the challenges we face, solar energy is a key part of a climate-smart future. The continued growth of this important sector in Central Virginia and across the Commonwealth is creating high-paying, secure jobs for many of our neighbors — and I’m proud to see our communities embrace new ways to create affordable, sustainable energy sources.”

“I am delighted that this recently completed project highlights the growing success of the Virginia Clean Economy Act (VCEA) within just one year of its implementation. The VCEA, which passed with bipartisan votes in both Chambers during the 2020 legislative session, has put the Commonwealth’s electric utilities on a path to fully decarbonize by 2045,” said Virginia State Senator Ghazala Hashmi (Va. 10th District) “The VCEA also made Virginia the first state in the South to set a 100% clean energy standard. It’s exciting to provide our schools, businesses, and other organizations with this opportunity to save on utility costs, implement green energy, and help us to collectively reduce carbon emissions.”

“This project at Powhatan Elementary demonstrates the possibilities of solar energy generation at our public-schools and represents a perfect incremental addition of renewable resources to our electricity needs,” said Virginia State Delegate R. Lee Ware (Va. 65th District). “I commend Sun Tribe for completion of its initial project here and applaud Powhatan County Schools for participating in a project that will benefit our entire community.”

“Powhatan County Public Schools is proud of our partnership with Sun Tribe. This solar power project has provided real cost savings and invaluable hands-on learning opportunities to our teachers and students,” said Powhatan County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Eric Jones“More importantly it sends a clear message that we value renewable energy in our community.”


“Projects like the ones we’ve built in Powhatan County show why a growing number of school divisions throughout Virginia are embracing solar: because it provides a chance to save money while opening educational opportunities for more young people,” said Rich Allevi, Vice President of Development at Sun Tribe. “Thanks to Power Purchase Agreements, educational, local government, and non-profit leaders will continue to have the ability to access affordable clean energy which will benefit their organizations and their communities.”


“The collaboration between BrightSuite and Sun Tribe reduces emissions and costs for schools. Students benefit greatly from both,” said Todd HeadleeDirector of Customer Energy Solutions, Dominion Energy. BrightSuite, a subsidiary of Dominion Energy, has partnered with Sun Tribe to bring solar energy to 27 schools across Virginia. “Renewable energy projects like these also contribute to advancing Virginia’s clean energy economy and provide clean energy jobs, a goal we all share as we work collectively to build a sustainable energy future.”

“More than 93,000 Virginians work in advanced energy across the Commonwealth – more than all of the folks employed in business and management consulting. We expect this figure to grow by 8% this year alone as we recover from the pandemic and continue to implement the Virginia Clean Economy Act,” said Harry Godfrey, Executive Director of Virginia Advanced Energy Economy. “Thanks to the VCEA, we will see more projects like this one that create good-paying careers and annual savings for customers and taxpayers.”

As part of the unveiling, visitors also had the opportunity to see the array on Powhatan Elementary School thanks to a tour of the rooftop of Powhatan Middle School, which is directly next door and affords a view of both solar systems. The 511 kilowatt (kW) Powhatan Middle School array and Powhatan Elementary School 450 kilowatt (kW) array both emphasize the larger impact of good-paying solar jobs for the Commonwealth. Completed in the Spring of 2020, the projects helped sustain local solar jobs amidst the COVID-19 crisis.

*AEE offers free, complimentary access to its PowerSuite online platform tracking all federal and state energy legislation and regulatory filings to credentialed media. Sign up for a free trial and contact Monique Hanis ( for permanent access.

Background Materials

Climate Change Hits Poor and People of Color Hardest

Author: Danielle Parenteau-Decker Published: 10/ 2/ 2020   Sierra Nevada Research Institute

“America is segregated along racial lines even in 2020 and so is pollution,” said Robert Bullard of Texas Southern University during an Ethnic Media Services teleconference. (Screenshot captured by Michael J. Fitzgerald / Richmond Pulse)

People of color and the poor are the hardest hit by the effects of climate change, a panel of experts said Friday.

And buyouts and programs of assistance to help people impacted by climate change-related disasters generally favor the wealthy and white communities in the U.S., not the people who need it the most.

“America is segregated along racial lines even in 2020 and so is pollution,” said Robert Bullard, professor of urban planning and environmental policy at Texas Southern University. And all types of pollution clearly have a bigger negative impact on communities of color, he added.

“Disasters, resources, recovery dollars — money follows money, money follows power and money follows whites. Buyouts leave poor people behind,” Bullard said.

Ballard, often described as the “father of environmental justice,” made his comments during a one-hour teleconference with journalists sponsored by Ethnic Media Services.

The teleconference highlighted the complicated and cumulative impacts of climate change, particularly when coupled with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. During recent hurricanes in the Southern U.S., many people had to deal with serious flooding.

The federal government’s advice was for people to “shelter in place,” Ballard said. “But people in those communities that got 6 to 7 feet of water in your house, you’re gonna drown,” he said. And packing into community shelters dangerously increases peoples’ exposure to COVID-19.

In discussing the ongoing intense wildfires in the Western U.S., LeRoy Westerling, a UC Merced professor of management of complex systems said “climate change is definitely the primary driver” of the blazes.

“Climate change in not a one-off thing that happens, and now you’re done and now you have a new normal,” he said. “There will be no new normal.”

The fires this year — as in years past — are the result of too much fuel in forested areas, an increase in the number of people living on the wildlife-urban border and our increasingly warming climate.

“We need to everything we can to slow down the pace of climate change,” Westerling said.

One way to lower the impact of fires would be to manage landscapes more intensively to reduce the vulnerability of communities, he said.

The absence of water because of the erratic rainfall in California is also a major factor. Just two major late fall or winter storms, or the lack thereof, can mean the difference between a wet weather year or a drought.

Ironically, wet weather can make fire seasons more intense because additional water encourages plant growth.

The teleconference also included some ominous predictions from Rajendra Shende, chair of the TERRE policy center in India and former director of the United Nations Environmental Program.

Shende said he is concerned how easily the coronavirus brought most of the world to its knees in January while nations continue to deal with climate change.

“I must say we had shamefully unprepared health systems and unrealistic knowledge management,” he said.

Nations that boast of having nuclear arsenal of incredible destructive power “cannot kill an invisible enemy of a few million microns,” Shende said, referring to a unit of measurement equal to one millionth of a meter. He warned that the coronavirus is showing the ability to quickly mutate.

“And as always, in global disasters, the poor suffer the most,” Shende said.

Republican infrastructure “plan” is another story—and Democrats shouldn’t touch it with a 10-foot pole

Author:Theresa Landrum       Published: 6/8/2021       Evergreen  Action


Hey friends,

I’ve lived my entire life in one of America’s most polluted ZIP codes: 48217, on the southwest side of Detroit.

My neighbors and I have been breathing in benzene, sulfur chloride, and hydrogen sulfide for years. Why? Because of racist policies that force majority-Black neighborhoods like mine to bear the brunt of pollution. I’ve seen neighbors in their 20s die of cancer. I lost my mother and my father to cancer. I am a survivor.

In 2020, Joe Biden won the support of Black voters in part because of his promise to cut pollution and direct 40% of environmental investments toward communities hit first and worst by the climate crisis. Now, with the American Jobs Plan, Congress has a chance to make good on those promises.

The unserious, unacceptable Republican infrastructure “plan” is another story—and Democrats shouldn’t touch it with a 10-foot pole. The GOP plan would do nothing to fight the environmental racism that’s harmed the health of my family and my community, and it would increase pollution for all Americans (regardless of ZIP code).

The GOP infrastructure plan would perpetuate environmental injustices

Will you help me spread the word about how unacceptable the Republican plan is? Share Evergreen’s graphic with your friends and family on social media today.




Thank you,

Theresa Landrum
Evergreen Advisory Board Member

U.S. US DOE Office of SETO Recently Issued a Request for Information (RFI) Deadline 6/14/2021

Author: US SETO Staff     Published: 6/7/2021              SETO

Energy dot gov Office of Energy Efficiency and renewable energy

                Solar Energy Technologies Office


PV End-of-Life Deadline Graphic

The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office recently issued a request for information (RFI) to gather stakeholder input on sustainable, cost-effective end-of-life practices for photovoltaic (PV) systems. The deadline to respond is June 14 at 5 p.m. ET.

The goal of the Technical Research Opportunities for PV System End-of-Life Management RFI is to obtain insights on current end-of-life practices in the United States and discover areas of research needed to support the recovery, reuse, recycling, and disposal of these systems.

We look forward to reading your responses.

GW’s DC Entrepreneurial Instruction & Mentorship Network Receives Funding for Pilot Program

Author: GW Today Staff Writer    Published: 1/17, 2021          GWToday

Pilot Program

Led by grantor Wells Fargo Bank, with support from the Washington DC Economic Partnership and Pepco, the new program offered by the GW Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship supports diverse startup owners in Washington, D.C.


OIE’s latest program will support diverse startups in Washington, D.C., with entrepreneurial instruction, mentorship and networking.
January 17, 2021

For over a decade the George Washington University Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (OIE) has delivered instructional and mentoring programs around innovation and venture creation for the school’s faculty and students.

This includes GW’s inclusion as part of a founding participant in the elite National Science Foundation (NSF) I-Corps program for technology commercialization among others. Now, thanks to a grant from the Wells Fargo Foundation, and the Washington DC Economic Partnership, via generous support from Pepco, OIE, in partnership with the HU2 I-Corps program at Howard University, soon will offer a new program serving the broader Washington, DC, startup ecosystem with its proven programs.

Supported by the $75,000 grant from the Wells Fargo Foundation, and additional grant funding from the Washington DC Economic Partnership, via $30,000 from Pepco, OIE’s Entrepreneur Development Network of D.C. (EDNDC) pilot program is set to launch in the spring 2021 semester. It will provide District-based entrepreneurs, universities, accelerators and economic development organizations access to instructional programs at no cost to supplement their existing resources to support the local economy.

“The Wells Fargo Foundation is proud to support the Entrepreneurial Development Network, a partnership between George Washington University and Howard University,” said Anna Bard, Wells Fargo Senior Vice President & Community Relations Manager. “DC entrepreneurs will benefit from curriculum pertaining to their business stage, expert university faculty and supportive mentors who have personally experienced the joys and challenges of owning a business. This is a critical addition to D.C.’s small business ecosystem, and I can’t wait to watch participating businesses thrive.”

Over the term of the pilot program, 75 entrepreneurial teams and small business owners from diverse backgrounds, including emerging neighborhoods and underresourced communities, will receive business counseling and strategic assistance from industry experts. Teams will receive an introduction to the Lean Startup method of business model development, including the customer discovery process, which helps businesses scale and adapt their business models based on interviews with potential customers.

OIE, which hopes to draw representation from local founders of color, women entrepreneurs and minority business owners, is leading the effort in partnership with Howard University, the Washington DC Economic Partnership and the D.C. Small Business Development Center.

“Creating new pathways to success for diverse businesses in the District is even more vital now as the health and economic security of our local small business community continues to feel the effects of the pandemic,” said Donna Cooper, Pepco region president. “Through our support of the WDCEP, Pepco is honored to partner in supporting the EDNDC program which will assist the District’s most promising businesses and innovators with proven business development resources and access to the unique market opportunities of these unprecedented times.”

The program will work with its partners to recruit early-stage companies that need business development and go-to-market strategies or who need to pivot strategy or offer new products due to interruptions and risks caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. While the application is open to all, those that do not qualify will be directed to a variety of free resources provided by community partners.

“Entrepreneurs are a critical element fueling job growth in the U.S. economy and will play a central role in the economic recovery post-pandemic. Their participation has grown increasingly important in the DC ecosystem over the past decade.  This partnership between George Washington University, Howard University, Wells Fargo, WDCEP and Pepco will help activate and catalyze entrepreneurs throughout the District and position the region for continued economic growth with a particular focus on identifying and supporting underserved and under-resourced entrepreneurs.”, said Grant Warner, Director of HU2 I-Corps.

The new EDNDC program is adapted from GW’s work in the NSF I-Corps and Mentor-in-Residence programs, the Virginia Innovation Commercialization Assistance Program (ICAP) and the Startup Saturdays program at Howard University. “These programs use Lean Startup principles and a structured approach to business mentoring to help scientists, inventors and entrepreneurs take the right first steps in bringing new technologies and innovations to market,” said Bob Smith, director of I-Corps at GW.

GW entrepreneur development programs have resulted in dozens of successful company launches with over $150 million dollars in funding, while GW’s efforts in the Virginia ICAP have helped build a network of 14 universities, five regional business accelerators and 11 state and regional economic development agencies and served over 500 diverse entrepreneurial teams throughout the commonwealth, raising over $22 million in capital. Mr. Smith said, “OIE plans to create similar alliances in DC through EDNDC.”

“WDCEP is committed to identifying innovative ways to collaborate with local organizations to help expand the District’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, while providing much needed resources for our city’s emerging business owners. Together with local universities and partners, we believe the EDNDC program will be a catalyst to support residents across the city,” said Keith Sellars, President & CEO, Washington DC Economic Partnership.

Beginning in January, up to 75 EDNDC start-up teams will attend a free virtual workshop introducing Lean Startup principles and the process of customer discovery. Program lectures will focus on customer definition and segmentation, building industry networks, developing and testing business concepts and planning for entering the market.

Following this introductory program, participants will receive dedicated business support from industry experts who will provide individualized business advice based on the teams’ ideas and stage of development. Based upon these sessions, selected teams will be invited to participate in an intensive two-week customer discovery workshop where they will be guided through the completion of at least 20 customer interviews to test the viability of their business ideas.

Throughout the process, participants will be evaluated by their mentors and instructors for participation in more intensive programming. Teams that record their first 20 interviews will enter the EDNDC mentorship program where they can work with the instruction team on their business model and go-to-market strategies for up to two years, provided they continue to demonstrate progress.

Throughout the program, all EDNDC participants will remain connected to partnering organizations in the District, such as the Washington DC Economic Partnership and DC Small Business Development Centers, investment programming, accelerators or partner banks that can help them reach the next stage of development in their business.

“EDNDC will leave all participants with a better understanding of their market opportunities and stronger integration into the DC entrepreneurial ecosystem as they take the first steps in their business development,” Mr. Smith said.

Employment Opportunities

Author:  Staff U.S. Department of Education      6/6/2021      White House Initiative on HBCUs

Upcoming Virtual Events

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U.S. Department of Energy

U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) will be hosting and featured in a number of events in the upcoming weeks.  We invite you to register for the following events:

BETO recently held an informational webinar on a Biomass Analysis Technologies (BAT) Direct Funding Opportunity (DFO). With funding from BETO, the BAT team is overseeing a DFO to collaborate with NREL on analytical methods for mixed carbohydrate, lignocellulosic, and organic waste streams. For more information, including how to apply, check out the BAT DFO website

June 17, 2021, 3 PM – 4 PM ET “Webinar: Waste-to-Energy Technical Assistance Program”  Join U.S. Department of Energy Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) Technology Manager Beau Hoffman to learn about opportunities for U.S. local governments to receive waste-to-energy (WTE) technical assistance. This BETO-funded technical assistance program, run by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, addresses knowledge gaps, specific challenges, decision-making considerations, planning, and project implementation strategies related to WTE. During this webinar, Mr. Hoffman will discuss what the program currently offers and where it is headed.

OPM Logo

Free Webinars Hosted by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management

If you or someone you know is interested in working for the federal government, then the following webinars will be of interest. All sessions are free. However, they are limited to 1,500 participants each. All times are Eastern. Thanks for sharing with your network.

Writing Your Federal Resume: Interested in a Federal Government job and learning from the experts? The staff of the Recruitment Policy and Outreach (RPO) division at the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) will present an in-depth webinar that provides attendees with the tips and tools needed to write a competitive Federal resume.

Thursday, June 24, 2021 @ 1:00 p.m. –REGISTER

Navigating USAJOBS – Finding and Applying for Federal Jobs: Join the staff of the Recruitment Policy and Outreach (RPO) division of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), for an in-depth webinar that provides a step-by-step process for navigating USAJOBS. We cover job searching, creating your account/profile, reviewing Job Opportunity Announcements, applying, and application status.

Tuesday, June 8, 2021 @ 11:00 a.m. –REGISTER

 Interviewing: Join the staff of the Recruitment Policy and Outreach (RPO) division of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), for an in-depth webinar on the Federal Government interview process. It explains the types of interviews, delivery methods, common questions, responding using the S.T.A.R. (Situation/Task, Action, Result) method and preparing for an interview.

Thursday, June 10, 2021 @ 3:00 p.m.- REGISTER

Thursday, June 17, 2021 @ 11:00 a.m. REGISTER

Student Opportunities

The Wilson Center

Esports & Education: How HBCUs are Leveling the Field

Friday, June 4, 2021 12:00 PM –  4:00 PM ET

Millions of people worldwide participate in the growing phenomenon of esports, the activity where video games played competitively, much like traditional sports. Thousands of students nationwide are participating in esports, both in K-12 and the collegiate scene. Yet how esports is fitted into educational environments varies. Esports in education can range from treating it as part of the athletics program, an extracurricular activity, a community-based effort, or aligning it to core curriculums.

What remains consistent is the lack of diversity for both those who play esports and the spaces in which esports occurs. Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) are trying to change this by supporting the growth of clubs and teams on their campuses; creating curriculums around esports and promoting academic success; and reaching beyond their campus to support young K-12 students.

This programming will focus on how HBCUs are engaging with esports: What does it mean to “do” esports today for HBCUs? What is informing the shape of esports programming on HBCU campuses, and what does the future hold for esports? How can we make esports more diverse? In doing so, we hope to highlight ways to build capacity by showing what is needed to launch an esports program.

The event will be livestreamed; follow for more information.

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International HBCU Xchange

International HBCU Xchange Upcoming Events: June 2: Join iHBCUx for a virtual series to promote dynamic global exchange and travel just for HBCU students! Hear from HBCU alumni who have studied internationally; launched international careers; and get those coveted application tips for reputable international programs like Fulbright, Boren, Critical Language Scholarship and Gilman.

June 2 at 6PM Eastern/5PM Central

HBCU Panel: Careers Abroad

Learn about dynamic career opportunities abroad for students who participate in international exchange programs.


Employment Opportunities


Appalachian Regional Commission

RFP for Access in Appalachia Pilot Project – Deadline to submit proposals is June 15 ARC is seeking proposals from consultants to determine how accessibility metrics from our Access in Appalachia report can best be used for state-level decision making regarding transportation. Read the RFP and respond by Tuesday, June 15.

ARC is seeking candidates for the following positions:

Financial Analyst Program Manager [Broadband] Human Resources Coordinator Program Analyst [Economic Development] For more information, visit


U.S. Department of Labor

NEW HIRING SURGE DOL Career Opportunities now open!

*Upcoming DOL Career Fair – June 16, 2021 – Check it out & feel free to forward/share!




Women’s Bureau

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U.S. Department of Justice

OJPs Funding News & Opportunities


See All Opportunities

National and Federal Opportunities


U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

24th Annual Examining Conflicts in Employment Laws Training Conference (EXCEL)

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) invites you to register for our 24th Annual Examining Conflicts in Employment Laws (EXCEL) Training Conference. EXCEL is being held virtually June 15-17, 2021.

EXCEL is the premier training conference for equal employment opportunity and human resource professionals, employment law attorneys, and alternative dispute resolution professionals in both the private and public sector (including federal, state, and local) communities.

This highly informative and interactive training conference, featuring EEOC senior leaders and some of the nation’s most sought-after experts in EEO, offers nearly 40 live, simulated live, and on-demand workshops. In addition to access to a robust agenda of workshops on popular and emerging topics in EEO, conference attendees will have the opportunity to network and participate in live forums.

Registration for this much-anticipated three-day virtual training conference is priced moderately at $900 per person.  Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), Human Resource Certification Institute (HRCI), Federal EEO Investigator, and Federal EEO Counselor Refresher credits will be provided.  Additionally, application will be made with the Virginia State Bar for Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credit and support will be provided for conference attendees to apply for CLE credit in other states.  For a copy of the agenda and to register today, please visit the EXCEL registration page.

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Health and Human Services

Apply Now! Funding for Health Equity Researchers at Minority-Serving Institutions

Administered by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Office of Minority Health (CMS OMH), the Minority Research Grant Program (MRGP) is proud to release a notice of funding opportunity for researchers at minority-serving institutions (MSIs). The funding opportunity allows researchers at MSIs to build their portfolios while funding studies pertinent to the health care needs of racial and ethnic minorities, people with disabilities, sexual and gender minorities, and rural populations. Two awards up to $250,000 will be made to one or more eligible institutions to further health equity research and help CMS better meet the needs of minority populations. Review the notice of funding opportunity CMS-1W1-21-002. The deadline to submit applications is Friday, June 11, 2021, at 3:00 pm ET. Eligible minority-serving institutions include:

  • Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs)
  • Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs)
  • Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institutions (AANAPISIs)
  • Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs) 

To learn more about CMS OMH and the MRGP, watch the MRGP overview video, or email

State Department

U.S. Department of State

Virtual Student Federal Service Info Sessions,SFS – Be a Virtual Visionary!

The Virtual Student Federal Service (VSFS) invites all U.S. government employees and contractors to participate in the 2021–2022 virtual internship cycle and to check out our new look!  This is an opportunity to have an intern work remotely an average of 10 hours per week on a project for your office.  The project proposal submission period opens May 1, 2021, on, and projects must be submitted by June 18, 2021, using a .gov or .mil email.  U.S. citizens in college apply via between July 1 and July 31, 2021.  August is a matching month; mentor interviews and selects from the students who applied to their projects.  Selected interns will start in September 2021 and complete the projects in May 2022.

All work must be unclassified because selected students will not have security clearances and will not have access to OpenNet.  Student application numbers have soared since the beginning of the pandemic; students need virtual opportunities #nowmorethanever.  In the directive, please review paragraph two for VSFS informational sessions schedules and paragraph nine for instructions on submitting project proposals.

Background and Selection Overview:  VSFS has become an invaluable resource for U.S. government agencies.  Since 2009, over 10,000 U.S. college students have worked on more than 4,000 projects during their academic year for more than 70 federal agencies.  Offices wanting to participate are encouraged to review the following information and submit project proposal requests at: for one or more VSFS interns between May 1 and June 18, 2021. Project Examples:  Descriptions of all 750 plus projects submitted last year are available at:  Current examples include:

  • Uncovering social media manipulation in the PRC Infosphere.
  • Analyzing and mapping environmental defense efforts.
  • Building out data analytics and visualizations capabilities.
  • Developing iOS/Android Apps.

Program Management:  The Bureau of Information Resource Management’s (IRM) Office of eDiplomacy is responsible for management and support of VSFS, and it has developed guidelines, best practices, testimonials, helpful tips, and FAQs for employees and teams participating in VSFS internships.  VSFS also offers information sessions about the program and how to write a project proposal that will appeal to students. Questions concerning this cable or the VSFS program should be directed to IRM’s Office of eDiplomacy VSFS team at: The deadline for your office to submit projects is June 18, 2021, and all projects must be unclassified.

SSA logo

Social Security Administration

SSA is Seeking Your Input to Guide Social Security’s Evidence-Building Activities & Research

We are seeking your input on potential research topics for our Fiscal Years 2022-2026 Learning Agenda, an evidence-building plan specified in the Foundations for Evidence-Based Act of 2018. The Learning Agenda will identify priority questions relevant to agency programs, policies, and regulations, and it will describe the data and methods that we will use to develop the priority questions.

Priority questions cover a variety of topics and could include specific questions related to: service delivery methods; the way the agency communicates with beneficiaries, stakeholders, and the public; the way we administer our programs; changes to regulations, policies, and procedures; program stewardship; or other areas that you believe we should explore.

We also seek priority questions regarding how Social Security can address the President’s priorities, especially on racial equity and inequities in the economy.

For more information, please review the request for information (RFI) notice published on April 20, 2021 and submit your suggestions using the submission instructions specified in the RFI. The RFI is open for comment until May 20, 2021; however, we encourage early submissions.

We value your input on potential topics for our Fiscal Years 2022-2026 Learning Agenda.  Our goal is to seek input from groups representing all demographics, so we encourage you to share this information with your members, colleagues, affiliates, and other interested parties.

Thank you for your interest in Social Security programs and your commitment to serving the American people.

U.S. Department of Energy logo

U.S. Department of Energy

Announces $61 Million for Biofuels Research to Reduce Transportation Emissions

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Bioenergy Technologies Office  (BETO) just announced a $61 million funding opportunity, Bioenergy Technologies Office Scale-Up and Conversion Funding Opportunity, to research biofuels research to reduce transportation emissions.   The application process will include two phases: a concept paper and a full application. Concept papers are due on April 30, 2021, and full applications are due on June 21, 2021.  The announcement is below.

DOE’s BETO is focused on developing technologies that convert domestic biomass and other waste resources into low-carbon biofuels and bioproducts. This research has led to significant cost reduction of the process by approximately 45% to date. BETO is turning its attention to reducing risk of commercialization by partnering with industry to demonstrate technologies at large scale. Biofuels are produced by converting biomass—made up of recently-living organic materials like crop waste, food waste, and algae—and other waste resources into a liquid fuel, which can serve as a low-carbon equivalent to fossil-based fuels such as gasoline, jet, and diesel fuel. This is an opportunity for your stakeholders to explore opportunities to support clean energy technologies.

In addition, BETO will be hosting a webinar on Topic One of the funding opportunity announcement.  Go to Bioenergy Technologies Office Scale-Up and Conversion Topic Areas | Department of Energy to learn more about the other Topic areas.


National Institutes of Health

Notice of Intent to Publish a Research Opportunity Announcement for RADx-UP Return to School Diagnostic Testing Approaches (OT2 Clinical Trial Optional)

The purpose of this Notice is to alert the community that NIH plans to publish a Research Opportunity (RO) as part of the Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics for Underserved Populations (RADx-UP) initiative to solicit research on COVID-19 diagnostic testing approaches to safely return children and staff to the in-person school setting in underserved and vulnerable communities. The RO will consist of two phases: 1) a targeted solicitation to rapidly accelerate ongoing research already in place in the school setting; 2) an open solicitation to start new cohorts or approaches to gain data related to safe return. The targeted solicitation will be by invitation only and will include programs currently in place in the school setting; applications will be accepted through early March 2021 for FY21 funding with the goal to make awards no later than April 2021. The open solicitation is expected to be published in mid-April and we will accept applications through early May 2021 for FY21 funding. The goal is to make awards by June 2021 for planned implementation in the 2021-2022 school year.

Awards under this funding opportunity will be issued as Other Transaction Agreements (OT2), which are not grants, contracts or cooperative agreements. Other Transactions awards will involve active NIH program management. Furthermore, the OT funding mechanism provides NIH with the flexibility to design unique collaborations with private sector entities that may not have experience with commonly used assistance mechanisms such as grants and cooperative agreements.

To read more on this notice, click here.

Justice in 100 Scorecard

Author: Staff of Initiative for Every Justice       Published: 6/6/2021              IEJ 

What can we each do to advance equity and justice in our field of work? The Justice in 100 Scorecard answers this question specifically in the context of renewable energy standards, a policy framework now central to the transition to renewable energy. We offer this scorecard to evaluate equity in state and territory 100% laws for a few reasons:

  1. 100% laws are necessary (but not sufficient) for a just, transformative, and holistic transition to a regenerative economy;
  2. These laws vary a lot, particularly in terms of their successes and failures in advancing energy justice, and a tool for more consistent comparison and drawing lessons is valuable; and
  3. Advocates and policymakers need tools to design and implement 100% laws that truly foreground equity in the transition to renewables.

The Justice in 100 Scorecard is a rubric for evaluating 100%
laws passed by states and territories. In the summer of 2021, IEJ will release scores for 10 states and territories that have made 100% clean energy commitments.