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Helping Those Who Help Coloradans

April 19, 2011

DENVER - A couple of Colorado nonprofit groups are getting extra help in "going green" just in time for Earth Day, which is coming up this Friday. They've received grants from the Nonprofit Energy Efficient Program (NEEP), sponsored by Energy Outreach Colorado. The Boys and Girls Club of Denver is one of the recipients: the grant money has allowed them to retrofit lighting fixtures in one branch, and to install weatherstripping and a new, more efficient boiler to heat water.

Kim Davidson, facilities director for the Boys and Girls Club, says the grant has been a life-saver.

"Oh, it's been fantastic for us. We just wouldn't have the resources to do that. They've come forward and helped us. We've gotten the upgrades that we've needed in our facilities."

In total, the improvements came to more than $100,000 worth, and now energy costs are down about 20 percent. Similar fixes were made at the Food Bank of the Rockies with a NEEP grant. The Energy Outreach Colorado grants are cosponsored by the City of Denver and utility company Xcel Energy.

Jennifer Gremmert, Energy Outreach Colorado deputy director, says the program helps groups to be able to use their fund-raising dollars for charitable purposes instead of to pay high energy bills.

"We wanted to do something to help improve the energy efficiency of their facilities, which in turn would reduce their energy costs and increase the amount of funds that they're able to target back to the clients that we all care about and serve."

She's hoping they can expand the NEEP program beyond the Denver area, to help nonprofits around the state.

Kim Davidson says the benefit from the grant is twofold.

"That's basically money that we don't have to spend on energy, that we are able to spend on programs for our kids."

He says they applied for, and got, additional grants this year, to update and weatherize five more of their buildings.

Information on NEEP can be found at www.energyoutreachcolorado.org

Kathleen Ryan, Public News Service - CO