Community service and volunteering are central to our culture at BlueWave. Over my four years with the company, I’ve seen these ideals move from general notions to written mantra. Every year, BlueWavers make commitments to give back to their communities by volunteering their time, making donations, and providing other needed resources. As a company, we take on a community service project each year, and each team participates in additional volunteer events of their choosing. These aren’t just aspirational commitments either, community service is written into performance goals and is part of our annual planning process. We take this stuff seriously and believe that we can make a difference in our communities beyond the service we provide as a solar company.
It’s this commitment to the communities we live in, work in, and serve that underlies our certification as a Benefit Corporation (B Corp). We became a B Corp because we believe BlueWave can use our business as a force for good in the world, and because we are seeking goals greater than profits. Our mission to revolutionize energy with simple, powerful solar solutions includes our company contributing to that positive change. Using business as a force for good is not just good business, it’s the only way we want to do business. And our commitment to volunteerism and community service is one way we do that every year.
Last year we set a new standard for volunteer commitments at BlueWave. As we grew over the year, so too did the time and resources available for community service. We collectively volunteered over 700 hours, supporting over 20 organizations in Boston and beyond. In addition, we donated $26,000 to these organizations to help support their missions well into the new year.
As a company, we accomplished a lot in 2018. We continued to grow, enter new markets, and serve more customers. But I think I’m proudest of these volunteer milestones. Beyond being the right thing to do, these volunteer events allow BlueWavers to connect outside of the office, sharing meaningful experiences together.
Here are some of my favorite examples of the work that we accomplished together last year:
Solar Outreach System, Arlington, MA
BlueWave partnered with SunBug Solar and Aegis Renewable Energy
to design and build a ‘solar outreach system’ (mobile solar trailers). As part of an initiative led Amicus Solar Cooperative
and Amurtel, these trailers are built and deployed to communities around the world impacted by natural disasters to provide emergency power supplies. The trailers have been used in California to aid communities impacted by recent wildfires and in Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in 2017. Big thanks to the Town of Arlington for providing the space and electricity needed to build the trailer.
The Food Project, Lincoln, MA
Our executive team got their hands dirty harvesting fresh vegetables for those experiencing food insecurity in the Greater Boston Area. 1 in every 8 children in Massachusetts doesn't have enough food on a daily basis. The Food Project pilots innovative farming programs across the Boston area to provide healthy, local produce to those who need it most.
Habitat for Humanity, Cape Town, South Africa
BlueWave’s small but mighty team in South Africa participated in a Habitat for Humanity housing project last month (yes, BlueWave has an office in South Africa). They spent the day mixing cement and laying bricks, as part of an effort to build adequate shelter for a woman named November Mbesi. November is a single mother of four living in extreme poverty in the outskirts of Cape Town. Through the amazing work of Habitat for Humanity and other volunteers, November and her family, and many other South Africans living in poverty, will gain access to adequate housing.
All great events, and only a sampling of the impact the BlueWave team had in 2018.
I had a chance to speak with Dean Smithyman, BlueWave's South Africa Development Manager, after his volunteer event with Habitat for Humanity, and he articulated well the feeling we all have after a day of community service, “You leave encouraged that the small contribution was meaningful to one family with a potential ripple effect beyond that, but you also leave with a hole in your gut the size of Texas with the stark realization of your privilege and the enormity of the problems facing so many. It’s only one day and we all wish we could do more, but one day is better than no day and showing up is the first step. How do you make a difference to a seemingly hopeless situation? I guess one brick at a time, one house at a time (and obviously one solar panel at a time!!).”
Thank you to all the BlueWavers and to our partners who gave back to your communities in 2018. Hour by hour, brick by brick, you truly made a difference.