Nation’s First Solar-Powered Community-Based Resiliency Hub Serving Baltimore City Public Housing

Power52 Partners with Living Classrooms Partners to Transform Community Centers into Emergency Resources

In 2016, Power52 Foundation, in partnership with Living Classroom Foundation, was awarded a grant from Institute for Sustainable Communities (ISC) to convert Living Classrooms’ three community centers (POWER House, UA House at Fayette, and Patterson Park House) into Resiliency Hubs, serving public housing communities within the Baltimore Target Investment Zone (TIZ) – a 2.5 sq. mi. area in East Baltimore that encompasses some of Baltimore’s most disadvantaged areas, whose residents are commonly at the highest risk during emergencies. 

Living Classrooms’ Resiliency Hubs have been created to provide an immediate resource and assist residents in the recovery from (1) natural emergency events such as high heat, flooding, hurricanes, coastal storms, earthquakes and high wind conditions, (2) man-made disasters such as fires, explosions, or uprisings, or (3) large-scale service outages. Each hub provides access to electricity, fresh food, water, radios, two-way radios, charging stations, snow shovels, blowers, etc.

 “Our community centers are trusted resources within the communities that we serve and we are grateful to Power52, the city, and our funders for helping us expand our services so we can make sure that our students and families are safe in the event of an emergency,” said James Piper Bond, President and CEO of Living Classrooms Foundation. 

The POWER House is the first solar powered, community-based resiliency hub in the nation. Graduates from the Power52 Energy Institute Baltimore City, based at Living Classrooms’ UA House at Fayette community center, were contracted through Power52 Energy Solutions to install a grid-tied 12.24KW Solar PV and battery storage system on the POWER House. The system is being used as a resource for the community when the grid fails, creating enough clean energy to provide seventy-two (72) hours of sustainable power to the community center. Funding for this innovative project came from Investment Tax Credit, grants, and debt. The tax equity and debt were provided by Power52 Energy Solutions. Grant funding was provided by The Institute for Sustainable Communities (ISC) and the Maryland Energy Administration (MEA), the State of Maryland’s EARN Maryland Grant Program, administered by the Maryland Department of Labor Licensing and Regulation, and France Merrick Foundation.

“Power52 is excited for our organization and graduates to be a part of bringing resiliency to those most vulnerable in the face of disasters,” said Cherie Brooks, Executive Director of Power52 Foundation. “We look forward to expanding our model and footprint to further benefit low-mid income (LMI) communities throughout the country.”

Thirteen (13) Living Classrooms staff and community residents have already completed the 2-day Community Emergency Response Training (CERT). Staff developed and administered a community needs assessment to determine how prepared TIZ residents are in dealing with natural or man-made emergency events. The survey asked specific questions about what people do when there is a flood or loss of electricity. The data collected was instrumental during the development of processes, procedures, protocols, and determining critical needs of the community.

“The residents of Perkins Homes have already experienced a situation where their power was out during one of the hottest days of summer and many took refuge at POWER House while electric service was restored. They are already grateful to have such a resource nearby,” said Colin Jones, Director of POWER House for Living Classrooms Foundation, who grew up in Perkins Homes.

Power52 and Living Classrooms created a workforce development partnership which allows graduates an opportunity to be included in the installation of the solar panels and battery storage. Living Classrooms combined its experience providing workforce training and case management with Power52 Foundation’s solar development experience, accreditations/credentials, and access to a robust energy industry network to provide residents with solar installation training.  Funders include ISC and the State of Maryland’s EARN Maryland Grant Program, administered by the Maryland Department of Labor Licensing and Regulation. To date, 52 individuals have graduated from the Power52 Energy Institute Baltimore City's 11-week Energy Professional training program, the first Clean Energy Private Career School accredited by the Maryland Higher Education Commission.  Living Classrooms career coaches provide work readiness workshops and assist individuals with removing any barriers that could potentially affect their graduating from the training program and securing employment.

"Today we celebrate a critical investment in a community often overlooked when investments are doled out. This investment, which offers the field a scalable model, brings triple bottom-line impact. The trainees’ lives have been transformed – given a solid workforce skill in a rapidly growing industry and using those skills to build a resource for their local community – already providing access to power for neighborhood residents, during an outage, and residents and the community at large exposed to new information and new resources. ISC is proud to be a supporter of this tremendous work said,” Sarita Turner, Director of Inclusive Communities, Institute for Sustainable Communities.

Living Classrooms has partnered with Baltimore City Department of Planning’s Office of Sustainability and the Mayor’s Office of Emergency Management to assist with Baltimore’s existing Preparedness Plan that identifies the POWER House as a Resiliency Hub for the City of Baltimore. As a designated Resiliency Hub, Living Classrooms’ staff will act as facilitators between the community and the City’s emergency management team, connecting with individuals in the community who have the knowledge and resources to best assist in the case of an emergency. Staff will also provide feedback to the City regarding services rendered during each emergency activation. The City will alert Living Classrooms of emergency situations, provide Phase I emergency supplies, and conduct Community Emergency Response Training (CERT).

 

 

NOTE TO MEDIA: A ribbon cutting ceremony to publicly announce the opening of POWER House as a Resiliency Hub is scheduled for Thursday, September 20, 2018 at 10:00am at 316 S. Caroline Street. The Lt. Governor and local dignitaries, the Executive Director of the Housing Authority, Power52 team (including Ray Lewis), representatives from the Institute of Sustainable Communities, and residents of Perkins Homes will be in attendance. A Media Advisory will be sent as a follow up to this Release with further details of the event. 

About Power52 Foundation: In the aftermath of the 2015 riots, a Baltimore-based solar developer, a Real Estate Executive, and an iconic NFL star found themselves talking about how to re-inject hope and pride in underserved, at risk communities across the nation. Over the next year, Rob Wallace, Cherie Brooks and Ray Lewis laid the foundation with three unique and impactful entities and forged Power52 Foundation, a 501(c) 3 non-profit. POWER52 provides career training and job placement opportunities in the renewable energy sector, bringing forth equitable opportunities and inclusion to an underrepresented demographic and population. Like @power52official on Facebook and follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat. For more information: www.power52.org.

About Living Classrooms Foundation: Living Classrooms Foundation is a Baltimore- Washington, DC-based nonprofit that disrupts the cycle of poverty and makes our community safer, stronger, and healthier by meeting individuals where they are and giving them skills for life. We inspire children, youth, and adults to achieve their potential through hands-on education, workforce development, and health and wellness programming, using urban, natural, and maritime resources as "living classrooms." Living Classrooms Foundation has been proudly serving the community since 1985. 

About the Baltimore Target Investment Zone (TIZ): Living Classrooms Foundation has launched the Baltimore Target Investment Zone, a comprehensive strategic community initiative that concentrates core education, workforce development, health and wellness, and violence prevention programs within a 2.5 square mile area of East Baltimore, focused on disrupting a cycle of generational poverty. The TIZ is home to over 40,000 people, 9,100 students in 18 schools, and over 2,200 public housing units that span five communities and 122 acres, including Pleasant View Gardens and Perkins Homes, and neighborhoods surrounding Patterson Park and Johns Hopkins Hospital,  Oldtown /Middle East, Fayette Street Corridor, and McElderry Park. These neighborhoods experience high poverty, high-density crime and recidivism rates, chronic health problems, low educational achievement, and high unemployment. 

A key strategy of this approach has been the establishment of Community Hubs in East Baltimore including two early childhood education centers, two workforce development centers, a public charter middle school, and three community centers. Living Classrooms has successfully worked with the community to create, renovate, and manage several inviting, accessible neighborhood facilities that are providing comprehensive multigenerational and supportive services to residents of all ages. Living Classrooms uses its performance management system, LivingClassrooms.Stat to measure, monitor, and evaluate the quality and efficacy of all programs and services. 

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POWER52 LIVE! "After Five"

MEDIA ADVISORY

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Rochqual Ford at Rochqual@power52.org

Power52 Foundation

Power52 Media Hotline: 410.203.1255

Ray Lewis to Host Power52 Live “After Five” Fundraiser Event

BALTIMORE, MD — Ray Lewis and the Power52 Team will host their second annual fundraising event to promote and support the Power52 Foundation, a not-for-profit organization based in Maryland. The event will be held on Thursday, May 3, 2018 at Power Plant Live at 7:00 pm, and will feature a live auction, DJ, great networking, endless hors d’oeuvres and lots of fun. A VIP Cocktail Reception will start at 6:00pm with a limited number of ticket holders joining Ray for an hour of cocktails and conversations.

Co-Founded by Cherie Brooks, Ray Lewis, and Rob Wallace, the Power52 Foundation’s mission is to help strengthen communities and inspire people to achieve their potential through hands-on job training in the energy sector. Power52 in partnership with Living Classrooms launched their Energy Professional Training program in October 2016 bringing workforce development, resiliency, and clean energy solutions to low and medium income communities. In addition, Power52 is working with Living Classrooms to convert their community centers into resiliency hubs, offering disaster relief support to their neighboring communities. 

Sharing a passion for Baltimore and the future of its youth, and in an effort to change the way the city is viewed by the outside world following the 2015 protests, Lewis, Wallace and Brooks agreed that they had the means and the responsibility to impact the community. “Power52 will not only give young people opportunities to successfully enter the workforce” notes Ray Lewis, “but it will also educate people so that they can understand the importance of energy independence.” Adds Rob Wallace, “We will train, we will place, we will provide scholarships. We will teach our students how to fish so that they can fish and in turn support their families and our community”.  

Power52 Energy Institute Baltimore City & Living Classrooms honor New Solar Energy Professionals in Graduation Ceremony

Media Advisory

For Immediate Release – January 23, 2018

At-risk Baltimore Adults Receive Industry Certification and Jobs in Fastest Growing Sector

Who: Power52 Energy Institute Baltimore City and Living Classrooms Foundation welcome families and supporters to celebrate 15 students from the second graduating class of the Power52 Energy Professional Training Program. Keynote address from Brian M. White, Executive Vice President, LifeBridge Health

What: Energy Professional Training Program Graduation Ceremony

When: Thursday, January 25, 2018 at 10:00 am

Where: Frederick Douglass-Isaac Myers Maritime Park, Third floor Founders' Room,  1417 Thames Street, Baltimore, 21231

 In partnership with Living Classrooms' Workforce Development Team, Power52 Energy Institute Baltimore City provides the first Clean Energy Private Career School specializing in Solar PV installation to be approved by the Maryland Higher Education Commission. Power52 Energy Institute Baltimore City enrolls unemployed and at-risk adults in an accredited eleven-week comprehensive training program and wraparound services to ensure that the trainees are successful.  Through paid on-the-job training both in the field and in the classroom at UA House at Fayette operated by Living Classrooms, the program provides OSHA-10 Safety Certification, PV Associate Installer Certification, and job placement assistance upon completion. Much like the power itself, the future and opportunities of those it benefits should be sustainable too.

In December of 2017, Power52 Energy Solutions employees and graduates of the inaugural class were contracted to install solar panels on Living Classrooms' three community centers in East Baltimore, turning them into the nation's first urban community-based resiliency hubs through a partnership with the Baltimore City Office of Sustainability. Patterson Park House and POWER House community center located in Perkins Homes, the largest public housing community in Baltimore, are now equipped to offer disaster relief to their neighboring communities in the event of major emergencies or natural disasters. The addition of small solar panels with battery storage will allow Living Classrooms' resiliency hubs to provide a few days of support to neighbors to charge cell phones, store medicines and provide residents resources such as fresh water, food, radios, snow shovels etc. In spring 2018, UA House at Fayette operated by Living Classrooms will be the third center to be equipped with solar panels, providing the same services to residents of Pleasant View Gardens and surrounding neighborhoods.  These systems will also be installed by graduates of the Energy Professional Training Program.

In November of 2017, Power52 Foundation hosted Operation Sleigh Bells Energy Networking Event/Toy Drive to establish strategic industry relationships with the hopes of creating further employment opportunities for participants of the program. On January 18, 2018 Power52 Energy Institute Baltimore City hosted “speed” interview sessions and headshots for the trainees. Many of the companies at the “speed” interview session were strategic relationships formed at Operation Sleigh Bells: Energy Networking Event/Toy Drive. Three trainees were offered an employment opportunity on the spot. Beginning in February 2018 the recent Power52 graduates will have an opportunity to work with leading solar development companies for paid on-the-job training. 

The long-term community development strategy of the partnership between Living Classrooms Foundation and Power52 Foundation is designed to break the cycle of poverty, unemployment, under employment, and incarceration that exists within the Baltimore Target Investment Zone (a comprehensive Living Classrooms' initiative focused on a targeted area of East Baltimore that suffers from extreme poverty, unemployment, high crime, low graduation rates, and chronic health problems), while simultaneously advancing communities resilience through a holistic sustainable strategy.

Note to Media: Media are invited to attend the ceremony for photo, video, and interview opportunities. Please contact Michelle Subbiondo or Brandy Jackson in advance if you plan to attend.

Contact: 

Michelle Subbiondo, Living Classrooms Foundation

msubbiondo@livingclassrooms.org, (443) 465-4193

Brandy Jackson, Power52 Foundation 

Brandy@power52.org 530.375.0302

About Living Classrooms Foundation: For over 30 years, Living Classrooms has worked to strengthen communities and inspire children, youth, and adults to learn skills for life and achieve their potential through hands-on education, job training, and health and wellness programs using urban, natural, and maritime resources as “living classrooms.” Our effective programs serve over 25,000 youth and young adults annually in Baltimore and Washington, DC and the surrounding metropolitan areas, and have a special emphasis on serving disadvantaged and at-risk populations. More information: www.livingclassrooms.org

 

About Power52 Foundation:

In the aftermath of the 2015 riots, a Baltimore based solar developer, a real estate executive, and an NFL icon were brainstorming on how to restore hope back into our communities. Rob Wallace, Cherie Brooks, and Ray Lewis formed Power52 Foundation. Power52 Energy Institute Baltimore City, owned & operated by Power52 Foundation, provides an intensive 11-week employment training program for at-risk adults, returning citizens, and at-risk individuals living in Baltimore City and surrounding counties that prepares participants for careers in the solar industry as well as other green job opportunities. For more information: www.power52.org 

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PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

November 6, 2017
Brandy Jackson, Director of Marketing/Community Outreach
media@power52.org
Media Hotline: (410) 203-1255

The First Clean Energy Private Career School with a Specialty in Solar PV Installation Approved by the Maryland Higher Education Commission

Power52 Foundation is the second non-profit to ever receive Private Career School approval by the Maryland Higher Education Commission.

 

Baltimore, Maryland—During the Maryland Higher Education Commission’s (MHEC) October 17, 2017 Board of Trustees meeting, private career school applicant—Power52 Foundation, was approved. This approval establishes Power52 Foundation as the first Clean Energy Private Career School specializing in Solar PV installation to be approved by the Maryland Higher Education Commission.

Co-Founded by Cherie Brooks, Ray Lewis, and Rob Wallace, Power52’s mission is “to strengthen communities and inspire people to achieve their potential through hands-on job-training in the energy sector. Power52’s long-term community development strategy is designed to break the cycles of poverty, unemployment, under employment and incarceration in our Urban Communities across the nation while simultaneously advancing communities resilience through a sustainable strategy”.

Power52 Foundation in partnership with Living Classrooms launched their training in January 2017 bringing workforce development, resiliency, and clean energy solutions to low and medium income communities. In addition, Power52 Foundation is working with Living Classrooms to convert their community centers into resiliency hubs, offering disaster relief support to their neighboring communities. This project is forecast to be the first completed of its kind in the country. 

Sharing a passion for Baltimore and the future of its youth, and in an effort to change the way the city is viewed by the outside world following the 2015 protests, Brooks, Lewis, and Wallace agreed that they had the means and the responsibility to impact the community.  “The Power52 Foundation Career School will provide its trainees with credentials that will make them marketable in the energy sector”, says Cherie Brooks. “Power52 will not only give young people opportunities to successfully enter the workforce” notes Ray Lewis, “but it will also educate people so that they can understand the importance of energy independence.”  Adds Rob Wallace, “We will train, we will place, we will provide scholarships.  We will teach our students how to fish so that they can fish and in turn support their families and our community”. 

Power52 Foundation has expressed its intention to open in Ellicott City, Maryland in the Winter of 2018. Power52 Foundation is committed to building a pool of talented, motivated individuals who are ready to change the dynamics of the world, starting with their local communities.

 

POWER52 is a Maryland based 501(c)(3) established to provide hands-on job-training in the energy sector for individuals in disadvantaged communities that are struggling financially. Power52’s long-term community development strategy is designed to break the cycles of poverty, unemployment, under employment and incarceration in our urban communities across the nation while simultaneously advancing communities resilience through a sustainable strategy. Like us on  Facebook and follow us on  Twitter, Instagram  and Snapchat.

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