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2.12.21 - PAYS® Project is Finalist for $10M 2030 Climate Challenge

A Pay As You Save® Project is One of Five Finalists Selected for $10 Million Climate Challenge to Reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S.

  • We're delighted to be one of the finalists for the #2030ClimateChallenge award on a team led by Solar United Neighbors with Clean Energy Works, National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), and Resource Media! Learn more about our proposed project for the First Statewide Virtual Power Plant: Equitable Transition to Clean Energy here: Official press release below describing all finalist:

  • Chicago, IL, February 9, 2021 – Today, Lever for Change announced five finalists for the 2030 Climate Challenge, a $10 million award launched last year to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the buildings, industry, and/or transportation sectors in the U.S. by 2030. The Challenge, sponsored by an anonymous donor, will fund proven, data-driven solutions ready to serve as a model for change in communities across the country.

  • The U.S. currently has the second highest amount of greenhouse gas emissions in the world. Three-quarters of these emissions derive mainly from four energy sectors: electricity, transportation, buildings, and industry. As the U.S. makes progress in decarbonizing the electricity sector, the other three key sectors—transportation, buildings, and industry—currently account for more than half of the national greenhouse gas emissions.

  • “While the world is rolling out a rapid response to the coronavirus pandemic, there is no vaccine for climate change,” said Cecilia Conrad, CEO of Lever for Change. “The global nature of this threat requires a similar sense of urgency and commitment to significantly reducing our greenhouse gas emissions. The solutions proposed by the finalists for the 2030 Climate Challenge are a promising start.”

  • The five finalist projects are:

    • Building with Biomass: Using Buildings to Sequester Carbon at Gigaton-Scale: The Carbon Leadership Forum at the University of Washington, in partnership with Endeavour Center, University of Colorado Boulder, and Building Transparency, proposes to convert buildings to carbon sinks by storing carbon in buildings using biogenic materials and reducing carbon emissions in all other building materials.

    • Decarbonizing U.S. Industry with Renewable Thermal Energy: World Wildlife Fund, Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, and David Gardiner and Associates will harness collective corporate demand through the Renewable Thermal Collaborative to drive investments in technology, markets, and policy to double industrial renewable thermal energy by 2025 and triple it by 2030, slashing industrial thermal emissions by 30% over the decade.

    • First Statewide Virtual Power Plant: Equitable Transition to Clean Energy: Solar United Neighbors, in partnership with Liberty Homes, Clean Energy Works, National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Resource Media proposes to push the pedal to the floor on an inclusive financing tool that enables home energy upgrades to reach mass scale by assuring all households can participate regardless of their income, credit score, or renter status. It will create the first demonstration for the nation of full statewide residential sector decarbonization and creation of a statewide virtual power plant—all through equitable energy transition.

    • Scale Zero: Healthy, Zero-Emission, Affordable Housing for All: RMI, in partnership with Emerald Cities Collaborative, NYCEEC, Association for Energy Affordability, and Enterprise Community Partners, will decarbonize the nation’s building sector through a two-pronged campaign focused on policy and retrofits of multifamily, affordable housing in five states.

    • Turning Point: Driving Southeast Transportation Electrification: The World Resources Institute, Electrification Coalition, EVHybridNoire, and the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy will drive Southeast transportation electrification, increasing Electric Vehicle market share to 50% and reducing transportation emissions by 50 million tons per annum by 2030.

  • Lever for Change is featuring the finalists for the 2030 Climate Challenge in its Bold Solutions Network. This Network seeks to match outstanding nonprofits and social enterprises from Lever for Change competitions with additional donors and funding.

  • Sixty-eight proposals were evaluated during a three-month process that included peer reviews, as well as a final review by an expert panel of more than 45 philanthropic and civic leaders, and climate experts. Applications were evaluated based on four criteria: whether they were impactful, feasible, scalable, and durable.

  • Over the next three months, the finalists will work with a team of technical experts to strengthen, revise, and re-submit their proposed solutions for the $10 million award.

  • Donors interested in supporting 2030 Climate Challenge finalists projects may contact Dana Rice, Vice President of Philanthropy at Lever for Change.

  • A final grant recipient will be announced in the summer of 2021.

  • More information on the 2030 Climate Challenge can be found at

  • Lever for Change, a nonprofit affiliate of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, helps donors to find and fund solutions to the world’s greatest challenges, ranging from racial and gender equity to economic development and climate change. Building on the success of the MacArthur Foundation’s $100 million competition, 100&Change, Lever for Change customizes and manages open and transparent competitions for donors. In addition, we match donors with nonprofits and social enterprises in our Bold Solutions Network whose solutions to significant social challenges were highly ranked after rigorous evaluation in one of our competitions. Currently, Lever for Change is managing nine competitions, ranging in size from $10-to-100 million, awarding $295 million to grant recipients and strengthening dozens of top organizations. For more information, visit

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