Huffpost Green

Giving Back: How You And The Green Community Can Help Struggling Families

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GIVING BACK
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Today, as HuffPost and AOL unite to launch the Huffington Post Media Group, we're celebrating by making a statement about the importance of giving back and helping others.

Led by HuffPost Impact –- The Huffington Post's section devoted to service, causes, and volunteering -- every HuffPost section is featuring a group or individual who is taking action and inspiring others during these pressing times. Like the rest of the world, our hearts and minds are also focused on Japan, and we've created a resource page for everyone wishing to support the emergency relief efforts.

Additionally, we're thrilled to announce that Biz Stone, co-founder of Twitter, is joining the Huffington Post Media Group as Strategic Adviser For Social Impact. Stone will help the company to create innovative social impact and cause-based initiatives.

AOL/Huffington Post Media Group has also issued a 30-day Service Challenge to every one of its employees worldwide, encouraging them to give their time to charities in their local communities and organizing volunteer events in 16 cities.

We hope you'll join us in utilizing the power of online journalism to help people get involved, work together, and bring about real change.

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The organization Green For All redefines the phrase “killing two birds with one stone.” Green For All successfully targets two major challenges facing the U.S. today -- climate change and unemployment. The company throws quite a powerful stone, indeed.

Based out of Oakland, California, Green For All (GFA) is a national organization fighting to lift people out of poverty by providing equal access to clean energy job opportunities.

The company was co-founded by Van Jones, Obama’s former green jobs advisor. Jones was recently featured in the film “Carbon Nation” for his work with parolees installing solar panels on low-income homes, in keeping with Jones's motto: "Green jobs, not jails." GFA’s current CEO, Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins, was recently profiled as HuffPost's Greatest Person of the Day, where she explained, “The reality is [old] industries aren't working for most Americans, and most Americans aren't working for those industries."

Green For All strives to unite workforces, train leaders on green economy practices, and push Washington to offer green job training for vulnerable communities. The company has a heavy list of accomplishments already under its belt:

On a federal policy level, GFA successfully pushed for the 2007 Green Jobs Act to include $125 million per year to train workers in green jobs. During the Climate Bill debate in 2009, Green For All helped to win key provisions increasing access to green jobs for vulnerable communities.

Green For All is also working to shape green job policies in states like Washington, Texas, Massachusetts, and New Mexico. GFA worked on the 2008 Massachusetts Green Jobs Act to provide grant money for training programs to increase access to green jobs. The company also worked on the 2009 Washington Senate Bill 5649 to increase the energy efficiency of 100,000 buildings in the next five years, while guaranteeing low-income and disadvantaged populations access to these jobs.

Lastly, Green For All is working on a local level in over 20 U.S. cities, including Seattle, Los Angeles, Detroit, and Boston. In Los Angeles, GFA is supporting projects including a Clean Trucks program, which replaces dirty fuel trucks with clean-burning vehicles while empowering drivers. In Boston, GFA is supporting the Green Justice Coalition in launching a campaign to bring energy efficient upgrades to the homes of low-income communities.

Through Green For All’s Communities of Practice section, practitioners on the ground are connected and mobilized. Communities of Practice encourages energy-efficient building retrofits, re-entry jobs for ex-criminals, and “Green Pathways Out Of Poverty,” an initiative currently focused on employment opportunities for at-risk youth.

There are many ways to get involved with Green For All. By signing up on their website, you will be informed of news, upcoming events, and involvement opportunities. You can also find a nearby green organization to join or make a donation to GFA. Programs such as Communities of Practice and the Capital Access Program are also ways to get involved.

You can also take a leadership role by hosting a Green Economy House Party, starting a community garden, or organizing a service event.

Green For All’s goals are simple, yet effective: “Green For All is dedicated to improving the lives of all Americans through a clean energy economy.” That dedication is evident in what the organization has already accomplished, and with your help, many more American's lives will be improved while moving our country toward an energy-independent future.

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