To state the obvious, 2020 has been a very challenging year. Our team left the office on March 23, thinking we’d work from home for a little while and be able to come back together in a few weeks. Yet here we are, nine months later, hunkered down but hopeful. Maintaining grateful hearts throughout these times has been a strong foundation for keeping up the Good work and sustaining each other while serving our communities.
“Regret looks back. Fear looks around. Worry looks in. Faith looks up.”
To that point, our Board chair, Kimberly Lewis, shared this quote from her daily devotion one day last week: “Regret looks back. Fear looks around. Worry looks in. Faith looks up.” Giving thanks is a reminder of all the good we’ve experienced, all the good yet to come, and our responsibility to pay it forward. Giving thanks reminds us of our hopes and faith, and in difficult times, it is a radical act of defiance against the fear and worry that can threaten to overwhelm us. It is a piercing light in the darkness.
As we gather this year (in small household groups and over FaceTime and Zoom), here are three among a beautifully long list of things I am grateful for that will help guide Groundswell into a New Year.
Sharing Power. Groundswell joyfully shares power through community solar with more than 3,500 households, reducing energy burdens by more than $1 million every year. Throughout 2020, we’ve been able to expand the number of people and communities we serve, which is nothing if not a blessing. As a result, we’ll be reporting a lot of new solar construction and people served come 2021.
Expanding SOUL. This year, our Board and staff team completed a new strategic plan together that commits Groundswell to building on our community solar expertise to further reduce people’s energy burdens through energy efficiency and other clean energy programs. SOUL stands for Save On Utilities Long term, and the residents we’re serving in LaGrange, GA — in collaboration with the city’s municipal utility and EEtility — are seeing the benefits in lower energy usage, lower bills, and more comfortable homes. We look forward to sharing more SOUL next year!
Thriving Team. Groundswell has thoughtfully grown this year and has welcomed new team members who bring important new perspectives and expertise to our work, including data science, economics, impact investing, commitment to community, communications acumen, process engineering, project management, social enterprise management, additional language capabilities, and more. We all gather every day as a team at Stand-Up to focus, connect, and share. With many thanks to Kristal Knowles, our team has continued to build a culture of belonging that grows stronger every day.
It’s Thanksgiving. We’re all welcome at the table. Join us in joyful, defiant gratitude that WE ARE HERE, we are getting Good stuff done, and we are going to shine a light in every dark corner we find in 2021 – powered by the sun.