Ecology Action Awarded $5.8 Million Energy Efficiency Grant to Support Food Banks in Disadvantaged and Tribal Communities

More than 50 food banks could save nearly $24M in energy costs.

Santa Cruz, California—The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Renew America’s Nonprofits program awarded a $5.8 million grant to Ecology Action. The initial program design will provide no- and low-cost energy efficiency upgrades to 50 food bank facilities in disadvantaged and tribal communities in California, Nevada, Arizona, Washington, and Oregon. This ambitious program will reduce energy costs for these vital community-support institutions, enabling them to invest the savings in their mission-critical work.

Transporting, managing, storing, and preparing food at scale and safely is highly energy-intensive, and the funding will support upgraded lighting, refrigeration, HVAC, controls, and other energy-saving measures to reduce the facilities’ electricity consumption by approximately 20%.

Ecology Action, a national leader in improving the energy efficiency of nonprofit organizations, is partnering on the program with the California Indian Manpower Consortium (CIMC), California Association of Food Banks (CAFB), and Nonprofits Insurance Alliance.

Partners from Renew America's NonProfits

From left to right: Alice C. Lee-Osborne, Director of Development at California Association of Foodbanks (CAFB); Lorenda Sanchez, Executive Director at California Indian Manpower Association (CIMA); Willy Elliott-McCrea, Former CEO at Second Harvest Food Bank; Lauren Lathan Reid, Communications Director at California Association of Foodbanks; Jim Murphy, CEO & Executive Director at Ecology Action


Ecology Action will lead the projects from start to finish, including conducting consultations with food banks, planning and designing projects, managing contractors and installation, securing incentives and financing mechanisms, and overseeing post-installation inspections. CIMC will engage community tribes and identify and recruit suitable facilities on tribal lands. It will also work with local workforce development programs to provide on-the-job training to tribal members, linking trainees to career opportunities.

CAFB will engage and recruit facilities across its network of food banks and ensure that projects are designed to address community needs. The Nonprofits Insurance Alliance will identify nonprofit-owned buildings and engage and educate participating organizations.

Work on the upgrades is expected to begin in 2024.

“Food banks address food insecurity and basic nutrition and serve as a crucial safety net in disadvantaged communities,” said Jim Murphy, Ecology Action executive director and CEO. “This initiative will provide the facilities with more equitable access to cost-saving energy measures, freeing up more of their resources for critical community support activities.”

To see the U.S. Department of Energy’s press release, go to

If you’re a nonprofit food bank or a distributor interested in participating, please inquire using our form here. For all other media inquiries, please send a message to

About Ecology Action

Ecology Action, an award-winning California 501(c)(3) non-profit that’s been inspiring sustainable community actions since 1970. Ecology Action creates and implements innovative programs to help people and businesses reduce their environmental impact, while supporting more resilient communities. Learn more at