Visionary Dinner Celebrates 40 Years of Sustainability
By Pamela Henman
On May 3, 1978 a small group of volunteers organized a rally in Woodruff Park, with a goal to shine a light on the potential of solar power. That rally — one of hundreds of SUN Day events held across the country that day — marked the genesis of a movement in the Southeast.
Long after the crowds dispersed, those organizers continued their work, formalizing themselves as the Georgia Solar Coalition. Founded on the belief that energy consumption and environmental impacts are connected, the organization hosted workshops and trainings on breadbox solar water heaters, thermosiphon air panels, and other emerging technologies. It organized tours of solar-powered homes, and opened its first office in the Little Five Points neighborhood. Over the years the Georgia Solar Coalition would be known as Southface: Alternative Energy Center, Southface Energy Institute, and finally Southface.
What began as a small, volunteer-led grassroots movement four decades ago has evolved to become the Southeast’s foremost leader in sustainability. Today, Southface is the premier resource for sustainable homes, workplaces, and communities, supporting equitable sustainability in the built environment and beyond. The organization’s programs, policy work, and service lines help ensure that resource efficiency is a reality for all, regardless of income, location, or race.
On September 12, Southface hosts the annual Visionary Dinner gala. Visionary Dinner recognizes the innovative people, partners, and peer organizations who’ve made Soutface’s work possible over the last 40 years, and spotlights the dynamic opportunities and initiatives that lay ahead.
Through partnerships, Southface has over the decades spearheaded transformative initiatives that bring us closer to a regenerative economy. With Southface, residents of low-income housing benefit from improved indoor air quality and energy efficiency, and receive assistance with plumbing repair and water conservation; the City of Atlanta can realize its goal of running entirely on clean energy within the next two decades; fellow nonprofit organizations reap significant cost savings through energy- and water-efficiency implementations; and climate-focused, equitable policy advocacy brings renewed focus to intown communities.
At the forefront of Southface’s work is a commitment to promoting sustainable homes, workplaces, and communities through education, research, advocacy, and technical assistance. With strategic growth, strong partnerships, and a commitment to the community, Southface is well-poised for what lies ahead, and will continue to lead the region in championing clean energy, resource efficiency, and social equity.
For a robust retelling of Southface’s past and an inspiring look to its future, attend the Visionary Dinner gala on Wednesday, September 12. For event details and ticketing, visit www.southface.org/events.
Photo cutline: A billboard in downtown Atlanta advertises SUN DAY, the event where Southface originated.