NI 1% supports local organizations: Project Warm

By Carrie VanWinkle

Each year, Natural Investments is committed to donating 1% of its earnings to local, national, and global organizations doing work that creates positive change in the world. There’s a richness to the stories of these organizations—and we’d like to share some of these stories with you, since you’re a part of this positive impact as a client of Natural Investments. 

Each Advisor is able to direct how their part of the 1% will be donated. Just Money Advisors, NI’s Louisville based office, has a team of four. The four of us had an equal weight in the decision, and chose six different nonprofit organizations. We were all excited to call the organizations and let them know that we had a gift for them. Each one of them warms our hearts and stokes the fire in our bellies as a part of the change we want to see in the world. 

The Just Money Advisors team contributed to a range organizations. One, Oikocredit USA, has a national reach, and the other five play key roles in our region: Slow Food Bluegrass, Kentucky Labor Institute, the Southern Indiana Asset Building Coalition, Kentucky Interfaith Power and Light, and Project Warm. As a part of sharing the NI life, we’ll be highlighting some of these organizations, so that you can get to know them and the inspiring work that they do. We’ll begin by profiling Project Warm.

CvW group at windowThe story of Project Warm begins with the dedicated leadership of its Director, Frank J. Schwartz. Frank began as a volunteer with Project Warm in 1982, at a time of high unemployment and high utility costs. Volunteers, often laid-off workers, were trained to do simple energy repairs at the homes of seniors. After working on three additional homes they were eligible to receive the same set of weatherization and energy efficiency materials they learned to use. For many years, Frank was the volunteer coordinator for thousands of community volunteers coming through Project Warm. Later, Project Warm instituted community based energy education and he became the education director as well. Frank is known throughout Louisville for his dedication to Project Warm—and for his commitment to living a life that reflects his values of living lightly. He has been an advocate for energy conservation on the household and community levels, and works in the trenches on behalf of affordable housing.

The transportation system is a big environmental, financial, and aesthetic problem for our community; Frank has chosen to view biking, walking, and using public transportation as a first choice before driving his automobile. 

Frank continues to be inspired each day through his work at Project Warm. One of the highlights for him is witnessing the interactions between volunteers and the recipients of Project Warm’s energy efficiency services. Project Warm holds an annual Blitz, which brings together over 600 community volunteers who work in teams to winterize homes for some of Louisville’s most vulnerable community members: seniors and disabled residents. 

Project Warm impacts both the recipients of their weatherization services and the volunteers who come together to make a difference. Countless numbers of volunteers have had an opportunity to be of service to their fellow community members. In Frank’s eyes, “even for just that reason, Project Warm has been worth it. It’s a conduit for people to be engage—to visit a home that they might not ever have entered—to help an older couple, a widow, and other neighbors in need.”  

To learn more about the work of Project Warm, please visit their website.

This article first appeared in the Fall 2013 edition of the Natural Investment News

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Carrie Van Winkle

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