Organization’s Social Mission:
JARC is a Michigan-based non-profit organization dedicated to enriching the lives of men, women and children with disabilities.
Description of Organization:
Erasing Barriers, Enriching Lives and Sustaining the Environment
JARC is a trailblazer in creating sustainable practices for non-profits
JARC is a 40 year-old (Farmington Hills, Mich.) non-profit organization that serves people with developmental disabilities and their families in a variety of ways, from housing to in-home respite care, to advocacy in and around Detroit, Mich. JARC is a national leader in serving people with developmental disabilities and continues to find ways to distinguish itself as leaders in the green movement, among non-profits, by creating programs and projects that help sustain the environment.
For example, this past November, six women, ages 30 to 70, moved into a barrier-free green home (in Farmington Hills, Mich.), designed by JARC from the ground up, with 40 years experience in what people with disabilities need in day-to-day living. The home, known as “The Nusbaum Home,” was designed to be equally functional and aesthetically pleasing for anyone who lives there. We believe this home is one of the first barrier-free green homes in the United States.
Our design goals were: To create a functional, efficient and fully accessible group home; to employ as many green construction principles as possible within budget constraints; and, provide the ability to incorporate the future addition of solar and wind technologies.
Features of the home include: geothermal heating/cooling; water-conserving landscaping; bamboo flooring and window treatments; and, recycled drywall and joint tape. Among other green features, the home incorporates green products whenever possible, and if not possible, we used locally produced materials to limit the use of gasoline and pollution due to their transport. The design also provides a southern exposure for elevation to lend itself to future solar paneling and features indigenous flora and fauna from Michigan. Designed and built by The Frankel Organization, it also features donated furniture and home products from local companies. This home serves as a model for how people living with disabilities can live green and productive lives, while reducing their carbon footprint.
In addition, most of JARC’s other homes are 20 to 40 years of age and need considerable maintenance and updates. JARC has made a conscious choice to make all future renovations as sustainable as possible – lessening our environmental footprint on our neighborhoods, our communities and our world. While sustainable renovations may be more expensive initially, they will lessen our energy, fuel and water consumption and waste, saving JARC dollars in the long run by decreasing, in some cases dramatically, our utility bills.
JARC also has embarked on an exciting new venture with a local Michigan-company to be one of the first to install solar-cell roof shingles, as JARC homes require re-roofing. A formal announcement of this project will be forthcoming as details are being worked out.
JARC is committed to doing business as a fiscally, environmentally, and socially responsible organization, not just in our group homes, but in our administrative offices as well. An active “Green Committee” made up of members of all departments of JARC, reviews current practices and institutes energy and resource-saving measures. These include:
- Recycling organization-wide
- Using scrap paper and making two-side copies when possible
- Recycling toner cartridges
- Using energy efficient light bulbs at our headquarters and in our homes
- Posting manuals & forms electronically
- Using environmentally-safe cleaning products
- Using reusable grocery bags in every home
- Installing solar assisted hot water and geothermal heating and cooling in two homes, thus far
Finally, each spring, JARC involves the community and invites people to plant flowers at each JARC home.
By implementing green initiatives JARC helps to erase barriers and enrich the lives of those it touches. Through community engagement and environmental sustainability JARC does its part to help its staff, volunteers and the people it serves live enriching lives, while making enormous contributions to the community in which they live, work and play.
As Earth Day marks its 40th Anniversary, so too does JARC. Just as Earth Day evolves, JARC has become one of the leading non-profits in not just being green, but living green and thinking green. It is for these reasons that JARC is a green leader and a trailblazer for people living with developmental disabilities.