The Energy Alliance Group of Michigan (EAG) had many great days in the last year, but April 28 ranks right near the top. That day, EAG leaders visited Kids’ Food Basket in Grand Rapids and Cascades Humane Society in Jackson to donate 10 percent of 2014 EAG profits to those charitable organizations.
Checks for $2,103 were delivered to each of the organizations, which graciously hosted tours for EAG’s Scott Ringlein, CEO; Curt Monhart, vice-president of sales and marketing; Kerry Kilpatrick, social media director; and Nancy Clay, communications director. EAG, an energy solutions company, has offices in Ann Arbor and Grand Rapids, but provides energy services throughout the state.
“When we formed our company in late 2012, we decided then that we wanted to donate 10 percent of our profits to charity. Each year members of the EAG team name his or her favorite charity, and this year we drew these two charities from those suggestions,” Ringlein says. “This is just the right thing for us to do and we really enjoy helping and visiting these organizations.”
Kids’ Food Basket attacks childhood hunger, making sure that lunch is not the last meal of the day for more than 6,000 children at 34 schools in Grand Rapids, Muskegon and, most recently, Holland. Volunteers pack and deliver Sack Suppers, well-rounded evening meals that provide nutrition critical to the children’s mind and body development.
Cascades Humane Society, a no-kill animal shelter, saves more than 800 animals a year, providing shelter, quality food, health/veterinarian care, and the opportunity to be adopted. Its vision statement reads: A community in which all pets have loving homes and are treated with compassion and respect.
At Kids’ Food Basket, each Sack Supper contains one serving each of fruit and vegetables, meat or cheese sandwich or tortilla rollup, juice box or water, two healthy snacks like trail mix, granola bar or cheese stick. According to statistics, about one of every four Michigan children struggles with hunger, which impacts their ability to function well in schools.
According to Jenny Jordan, development specialist, about 60 percent of the food is donated by grocery stores, food vendors and/or collected in food drives, and about 40 percent is purchased through Feeding America West Michigan Food Bank, which sells food for 16 cents a pound. Kids’ Food Basket distributes more than 25,000 pieces of food a day and has a waiting list of schools they would like to add to the program.
More than 175 volunteers work each day, all year, to prepare, pack and deliver Sack Suppers, to children in elementary schools where more than 80 percent of the children qualify for the free-reduced price school lunch program. Meals are delivered in paper bags, which are often decorated by volunteers from schools, churches, service clubs and businesses.
In the summer, the meals are delivered to children’s summer programs and special bags containing extra food and snacks are sent home with children before school holiday breaks, Jordan said.
Cascades Humane Society, once known as the Animal Welfare League of Jackson, is one of Jackson’s oldest non-profit organizations. It operates the Cascades Humane Society Shelter and Adoption Center, which was opened in 2003 after a $1.8 million community capital campaign.
Heather Leszczynski, executive director, and Sue Chambers, director of operations, hosted the facility tour, both greeting most of the animals by name. “It’s clear to see how much the people who work here really care about these pets,” Ringlein said.
“Our goal is to get all of our pets adopted, so we conduct a behavioral assessment during intake to be sure the animals are adoptable,” Leszcynski says. Chambers stressed how careful Cascade is with new animals, making sure all are healthy, up-to-date on vaccinations and are parasite free before they are moved in areas with other animals.
She also explained how frequently the shelter is cleaned and the animal bedding changed. “We do at least five loads of laundry every day,” she said, pointing to large commercial washers and dryers. Volunteers play a large role at Cascades, walking dogs, keeping the shelter and grounds clean and helping to care for the animals.
Cascade also offers low-cost spay and neuter services to privately-owned pets and has built an off-leash dog park for Jackson County residents and their pets.
Cascades also provides a winter home for Rock, a 52-pound, 17-year-old tortoise, that lives outdoors in Michigan’s summer but has outgrown its owner’s home for the winter. Rock has free run of the shelter, with a few exceptions, and adds a lot character to the facility.
The Energy Alliance Group of Michigan is an energy solutions company, assisting its clients in identifying energy efficiency improvements and operational cost recovery through its “Four Cores” of service, technology, financing, and incentives. It’s also a leader in Michigan Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) project development.
EAG works with owners of commercial and industrial buildings to plan and implement holistic and comprehensive energy efficiency improvements. With this holistic approach, EAG can offer its clients solutions that may not have been considered due to lack of capital or long payback periods.
With Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE), EAG connects businesses with 100% financing to pay for energy improvements. PACE allows qualified property owners to finance projects using long-term loans that are repaid through a voluntary property tax assessment. This innovative method of energy efficiency project financing eliminates the need for up-front capital and provides property owners with immediate and steady positive cash flow.