Every day, Clearway employees work to bring us closer to a world powered by clean energy. But beyond our work to expand access to affordable sources of clean energy, Clearway employees are also dedicated to many causes and community service efforts across the country.
We sat down with a few of our leaders to hear more about their work outside of work. Take a look at some of the ways Clearway employees are giving back and consider supporting their efforts or getting involved with a cause that matters to you.
Pipeline Worldwide: Better Housing, Brighter Futures
As the General Manager of DG & Community Solar at Clearway, Will Carleton spends a lot of time thinking about sustainable engineering, but the impact of his innovation stretches far beyond Clearway’s operations. Thanks to his work with an organization called Pipeline Worldwide, Will has impacted vulnerable communities in East Africa by volunteering his time and expertise to projects that deliver access to clean water, sanitation, education, and healthcare based on needs voiced by local leaders. Will’s work with Pipeline Worldwide began about six years ago when he was recruited by the organization after having worked on a volunteer project in Kenya. Fast forward to today, Will has ramped up his involvement and recruited new volunteers, including Clearway Commissioning Supervisor, Jose Cano, who’s now been his partner in service for almost two years.
Will and Jose are currently working on a Pipeline Worldwide project aimed at creating a more sustainable housing solution for doctors and nurses serving in refugee camps throughout South Sudan and Uganda. Currently, medical professionals in those areas face a lack of housing resources and are forced to live in tents throughout their tenure in the camps. By improving living conditions for volunteer medics, Pipeline Worldwide is building a more productive environment for medical staff, which in turn will attract new doctors and help retain the service of those who choose to volunteer. Will and Jose are applying their engineering expertise to transform the bins of medical supplies that are already being shipped to the area into containers that can be repurposed into sustainable housing structures powered by solar panels.
To make things more interesting, Will and Jose have recruited students from the East Valley Institute of Technology and local architecture firms to create a competition to see who can develop the best prototype for the container redesign. The “Getting Better Connected” competition was held in October of 2020. With Will and Jose’s oversight, a team of students and architects collaborated on designing electrical engineering components to prepare their prototypes. Judges selected Will and Jose’s team as the best design, which will be replicated while the current container and two others are sent to the medical camps to begin housing local doctors.
This month, Will will travel to Uganda to put the finishing touches on these containers and welcome their new occupants. During that trip he will also conduct assessments with local leaders for various other projects, which will be completed later in 2021 and beyond.
“This organization is important because we have a chance to directly help refugees by improving the quality of their healthcare while creating an educational opportunity for local engineers and those of us here in Arizona,” said Will. “These prototypes create a better living and working situation for medical professionals, and they’re also valuable educational opportunity and offer blueprints of sustainable engineering that can then be replicated to address other issue areas.”
To learn more about Pipeline Worldwide or to get involved, visit www.pipelineworldwide.org.
Crowdsourcing a Better Life for Our Furry Friends
When Clearway’s Renewable Energy Origination expert, Arati Shah, saw a picture of an injured dog in a Facebook post asking for help from the community, she sprang into action. What began as spending her free time volunteering with local animal shelters has since grown into a six-year-old non-profit organization that connects sponsors with volunteer fosters to create a better life for four-legged friends in need of a home.
Arati founded the Houston-based animal adoption organization, Love And Rescue, in 2012 after she and her mother were both diagnosed with breast cancer. While Arati and her mother received treatment, she was determined to continue serving in whatever capacity she could. Serving as a remote volunteer, she began leveraging the volunteer network she had established during her time spent helping out at local animal shelters in creating foster-based rescues.
“We found that one of the most common limits to people choosing to foster is lack of resources,” said Arati. “We try to bridge that gap by bringing willing fosters together with generous sponsors willing to donate money toward supporting an animal in need. We take pride in the adoption process we’ve created through Love And Rescue. By setting reasonable expectations for adopters and working together with other local shelters and rescue groups, we are ensuring a perfect fit between the humans and animals.”
Nationally, 8,000,000 pets enter shelters each year and 55% of the dogs and puppies in shelter end up being euthanized. There are an estimated 1,200,000 dogs and puppies living on the streets of Houston. In the six years since Arati founded Love And Rescue, she’s been able to take over 250 dogs off the streets by removing financial obstacles to support fosters who are willing to adopt.
Arati attributes her organization’s success to the level of access it provides for the broader community to get involved. “You don’t have to donate money. You can donate your time and love to these animals that need it. Everyone has their own way of giving. Founding Love And Rescue made it possible for me to bring resources together and work something out for everyone involved that was for the greater good.”
To learn more about Love and Rescue and to support their work, visit www.loveandrescue.com.
A Food Bank That’s Fueling the Future
As the Director of Commercial Optimization at Clearway Energy Group, Ahmed Haque has dedicated his professional career to making an impact. However, Ahmed’s commitment to serving his community goes above and beyond his work in the clean energy industry through his work with the Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank.
Ahmed began working with the San Diego Food Bank in 2014 and since then has served the organization as a volunteer, board member, fundraiser, and advocate. The organization caught his attention for not only its incredible impact on food insecurity, but also its work to address community needs that are intersectional to their core mission.
Ahmed shared that he’s learned a lot working with the San Diego Food Bank – especially through his involvement with the North County Food Bank location, where he’s learned more about the populations being served. “Many of us hold a stereotype of an individual that is food insecure or facing challenges getting enough to eat,” said Ahmed. “And I think often that image is of someone that is homeless or unemployed. But a majority of people who are food insecure are employed and a disproportionate number are children. And they can be found even in relatively affluent communities like those in North County San Diego.”
In collaboration with the North County Food Bank, the San Diego Food Bank feeds over 350,000 people a month – a number that rose to over 600,000 people a month during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. In its efforts to expand access to resources for families in need, the San Diego Food Bank recently established a “backpack program” for children who only have access to meals during the school week. This program distributes backpacks to youth in need filled with enough prepared food to last the weekend. The San Diego Food Bank also recently launched a Diaper Bank program which supports low income families by providing diapers to ensure their children are healthy and can attend daycare, without which parents are forced to miss work.
Ahmed has championed the recruitment of his fellow employees to get involved with the work, even arranging multiple trips for the whole office to volunteer at the food bank.
To learn more about the San Diego Food Bank, visit www.sandiegofoodbank.org.
The Katherine Norton Toy Drive
As a Human Resources Analyst supporting Clearway’s talent management and technology operations, Trevor Norton spends much of his time helping people and problem solving. He has supported awareness and fundraising for an important and personal cause, childhood cancer. Trevor’s cousin was diagnosed with cancer when she was a freshman at James Madison University, where she was enrolled in the School of Education. She loved children and once she graduated, her dream was to become a kindergarten teacher. When she was diagnosed with Alveolar Rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare form of childhood cancer, she remained undeterred in that pursuit and continued distant learning classes throughout her rigorous chemotherapy and radiation treatment, even completing assignments during treatment.
Before she passed away, Katherine became passionate about doing whatever she could to bring a smile to the faces of the younger children in the cancer wing. She loved seeing how excited kids became when they were able to choose toys from the treasure chest at each milestone in their treatment. When she saw that the toy chest was running low, she decided to do something about it, and started to collect DVDs and toys for the Children’s Oncology Unit and ASK Childhood Cancer Foundation.
After she passed away, Trevor and his family continued her positive spirit of giving by creating the Katherine Norton Toy Drive. “It’s a very personal cause because it was something that gave Katherine so much joy as she was battling her own diagnosis. When she passed away, we decided to keep her legacy alive, as well as bring awareness to childhood cancer. Childhood cancer is severely unfunded, only receiving 4% of total cancer research funding. I see this one way to change that and raise money for the cause.”
Because of the outpouring of support and toys, Trevor and his family have been able to expand outside the cancer unit to other children’s units such as the trauma unit. “We’ve had entire rooms in our homes just filled with toys. It’s amazing and exciting to see how toys impact kids, bringing them joy and helping them stay positive at such a difficult time in their lives.”
In partnership with the ASK Childhood Cancer Foundation, the Katherine Norton Toy Drive donates to the Children’s Oncology Units at both Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center and Johns Hopkins Hospital, the two hospitals where Katherine spent many days in treatment. While the pandemic has caused delays, the family hopes to extend its partnership to the children’s hospital in Phoenix, keeping Katherine’s memory eternal.
To learn more and to donate, visit the Katherine Norton Toy Drive Facebook page.