Byggmeister’s 2024 Charitable Giving: Supporting Mission-Aligned Organizations That Make a Difference

June 2024
by Rachel White

When Byggmeister transitioned to worker-ownership, we committed to donate 5-10% of our annual net profit to organizations that focus on climate change, affordable housing, workforce development in design and construction, and justice and equity. A charitable giving  committee selects recipients from proposals submitted by employees. In 2024, we donated a total of $24,000 to eight different recipients. Read on to learn about the organizations that we’re supporting this year. 

Mothers Out Front - Cambridge, MA

Mothers Out Front is founded on the conviction that women mobilizing to protect their children are an unparalleled force for change. This nationwide organization, with 21 teams in Massachusetts, is dedicated to ensuring a sustainable future for all children. Working at the intersection of climate, racial, and social justice, Mothers Out Front advocates for caregivers and nurturers – insisting that their voices be centered in the fight to secure a livable future for every child. 

Through their Leadership Academy and Member Zone, Mothers Out Front empowers mothers to tell their stories and share their dreams for their children's futures. They cultivate local teams and robust community networks, nurturing a grassroots movement aimed at driving climate action and ensuring accountability among decision-makers at the local, state, and national levels.

Somerville Homeless Coalition - Somerville, MA                            

The Somerville Homeless Coalition (SHC) provides homeless and near-homeless individuals and families with individualized support services and tailored affordable housing solutions. They pursue this mission through various emergency response initiatives, including the Street Outreach to assist the unsheltered, a 16-bed Adult Homeless Shelter, and the Food Assistance Program, Project SOUP. Additionally, SHC works to prevent hunger and homelessness by providing comprehensive housing search and case management, homeless prevention assistance, and wrap-around support to ensure tenancy stability.

“When you have SHC in your life and put things on paper they listen to you and tell you to come every week. If it wasn’t for this place I would still be lost... It is positive and I see other people being positive too. No one gives up.” - Rafael

Founded in 1985, the SHC emerged in response to the escalating crisis of homelessness. Through the collective efforts of neighbors, community activists, university students, faith-based leaders, business supporters, and city officials, SHC opened the city’s first emergency shelter. Today, SHC provides services, support, resources, and housing to over 7,400 individuals and households. 

“I’ve tried a lot of places that said they could help me and it went nowhere. But when I did come here, right away they got me continuous help.” - Chris, housed after 20 years of homelessness

HEET - Boston, MA

The Home Energy Efficiency Team (HEET) is a climate solutions incubator focused on reducing carbon emissions and facilitating an affordable and equitable transition to clean energy. Employing a collaborative approach built on trust, HEET brings together diverse partners to devise solutions grounded in scientific research. They work to accelerate the nationwide transition of gas utilities to thermal utilities, advocate for the detection and rectification of significant gas leaks to diminish statewide methane emissions, and advance building decarbonization, with an eye toward environmental justice. Recently, HEET launched a new, independent nonprofit called HEETlabs to continue the work of incubating new climate solutions while the HEET team continues their current work under a new mission: to drive systems change through an equitable and efficient thermal energy transition.

Nearly 7 years ago, HEET spearheaded the groundbreaking initiative Gas to Geo, which aims to eliminate building methane emissions by converting existing gas infrastructure to networked ground source heat pumps. In February of 2024, HEET awarded $450,000 in grant funding through its Kickstart Mass program to 13 communities to support the development of utility-scale geothermal networks, with nearly 50% of the money going to environmental justice communities to prioritize an equitable transition to a clean energy future.

“There was tremendous interest from a wide range of people, organizations, and communities, and we received a number of outstanding applications. We see these grants as a powerful tool for signaling to decision makers and policy makers that people across the state want equitable access to affordable, clean, local energy.” - Angie Alberto-Escobar, HEET’s Director of Gas-to-Geo Transition

Alternatives for Community & Environment - Boston, MA

Alternatives for Community & Environment (ACE) is a grassroots environmental justice organization based in Boston, MA. Founded in 1994, ACE is dedicated to addressing the interconnected issues of environmental degradation, racial inequity, and economic injustice in low-income communities and communities of color. Through community organizing, advocacy, and coalition building, ACE empowers marginalized communities to fight against environmental hazards, such as pollution from industrial facilities, transportation infrastructure, and urban development. 

ACE promotes sustainable and equitable solutions that prioritize the health and well-being of residents while challenging systemic inequalities that disproportionately impact frontline communities. Their work encompasses a wide range of issues, including air and water quality, climate resilience, transportation justice, and land use planning. By amplifying the voices of those most affected by environmental injustices, ACE strives to create a more just and sustainable world for all.

Somerville Community Corporation - Somerville, MA

The Somerville Community Corporation (SCC) is a membership organization committed to improving the quality of life for residents of Somerville, MA. Established in 1969, the organization works to create and preserve affordable housing options, promote sustainable development practices, and support local businesses and entrepreneurs. 

SCC also provides valuable services to residents, including financial literacy workshops, job training programs, and assistance for first time homebuyers. Their dedication to community-driven solutions and social justice has made SCC a trusted partner and advocate for the people of Somerville.

ZeroCarbonMA - Brookline, MA

ZeroCarbonMA is a coalition of organizations and individuals striving to achieve net-zero carbon emissions in Massachusetts. Working with over 75 municipalities, ZeroCarbonMA brings together diverse stakeholders to advocate for ambitious policies and initiatives that will rapidly transition MA to a carbon-neutral future. 

ZeroCarbonMA is currently spearheading efforts to adopt the Opt-in Specialized Energy Code, which builds on the efficiency and clean energy improvements in the updated Stretch Energy Code. Additionally, they champion the expansion of the Ten Community Fossil Fuel Free Demonstration Program, a pioneering initiative aimed at showcasing the feasibility and benefits of transitioning to all-electric buildings. Participating municipalities may adopt zoning ordinances requiring new construction and major renovations to be fossil-fuel  free. Through grassroots organizing, advocacy campaigns, and policy research, ZeroCarbonMA is driving tangible progress towards a carbon-neutral future.

Requity Foundation, Carver House Program - Baltimore, MD

Founded in 2020 by former Carver Vocational-Technical High School student Sterling Hardy and his mentor, Coach Michael Rosenband, Requity is a nonprofit organization with a mission to dismantle barriers between vocational education and the workforce, empowering students to pursue their dreams and shape their destinies. Situated in the heart of the Greater Rosemont community in West Baltimore, Requity also provides comprehensive support and resources to address the formidable challenges facing residents in their community. 

The Carver House program is a pioneering initiative to enhance vocational education with a cutting-edge, interdisciplinary curriculum focused on energy-efficient building construction. This program bridges the gap between classroom theory and practical experiences by engaging students in designing and renovating vacant and dilapidated row houses across from the school. Students gain specialized knowledge and hands-on training that prepare them for careers in high performance construction. Carver House not only addresses workforce needs, but also contributes to environmental sustainability and community well-being, serving as a model for inclusive and forward-thinking education and urban development initiatives in Baltimore and beyond.

Newton North High School Carpentry Program - Newton, MA

Newton North High School in Newton, MA, boasts a distinctive Career & Technical Education program that empowers students to explore and cultivate vocational and technical skills across various fields, including carpentry. This spring, Lead Carpenter Michael Gimbrere and Production Manager Josh Menard worked with carpentry students to construct a high-performance tiny home for the Shattuck Cottage Community, situated on the former site of Shattuck Hospital in Boston. Administered by the Commonwealth Care Alliance (CCA), this community has provided temporary housing for individuals previously residing at the intersection of Massachusetts Avenue and Melnea Cass Boulevard. The tiny home built by the carpentry students was intended to be used as a meeting space. Recently, however, the Shattuck Cottage Community announced that, due to the end of federal funds put in place during COVID, they would be closing this summer. The students are continuing their work while the carpentry teacher, Garrett Tingle, actively seeks a new location for it.

"In our fight against the looming problems of climate change and housing insecurity we are grateful for the generosity of companies like Byggmeister. Your support provides the catalyst for not only our "TinyHouse," but the hope that we will go on to build bigger and bigger change." - Kaj Snyder, Carpentry Technology Junior

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