Sustainable Stories: Mission Waco

Editor’s note: We want to learn and share how other companies approach sustainability, so we’re publishing a series of posts featuring innovative companies and people who are doing their part to support our planet. See below for an interview with Jimmy Dorrell, Executive Director of Mission Waco, Mission World.

Tell us about Mission Waco, Mission World.

JD: We’re a 24-year-old nonprofit organization that focuses on “empowering the poor and marginalized, mobilizing the middle class to understand the need and become compassionately involved, and addressing systemic issues which impact the poor.” We now have over 15 programs with 70 staff members who serve in a variety of ways. Our programs include job training, alcohol and drug residential treatment, a 56-bed homeless shelter, urban children and youth programs, a donation-based health clinic, a legal clinic, a performing and visual arts program, the World Cup Café, and several more, including community development in Haiti. We are currently establishing a 6500-square-foot nonprofit grocery store in a low-income neighborhood food desert. For the last three years, Mission Waco has been voted the number one nonprofit organization by Waco Tribune-Herald readers. Mission Waco has trained over 30,000 young people and adults in our 42-hour weekend Poverty Simulation over the last 24 years. Our training stresses the importance of local and global energy as well as water and food sustainability.

What does renewable energy mean to Mission Waco?

JD: As a faith-based ministry, we have a strong creation care and sustainability theology and philosophy of ministry. As the directors, my wife and I both have a Master of Environmental Studies degree. We’ve helped install solar panels and numerous water wells in Ferrier, Haiti, and worked with Baylor’s Engineering Department on a variety of projects locally and globally. With 12 older buildings in the community, we’ve upgraded our facilities to be more energy efficient whenever funds allow.

What are some of your sustainable efforts?

JD: We’ve made three of our Waco buildings more energy efficient by upgrading the lighting, and we’ve installed solar panels on our guest house and school in Haiti. We have a new compost plot and community garden to help train neighborhood-area youth. Additionally, we’re currently transforming a 6500-square-foot building into a nonprofit grocery store, and we’ll have a hydroponics greenhouse next door to provide affordable and healthy food to the poor.

How did you come to use Green Mountain Energy as your service provider?

JD: T.J. and Chris Ermoian at Texas Energy Aggregation did an energy study for us years ago and determined that Green Mountain Energy was the best choice for us.

GME: How can people learn more about Mission Waco?

JD: They can visit us online at missionwaco.org. There are numerous stories about our Christian community development model of ministry. We’re also committed to financial accountability through Charity Navigator, the Better Business Bureau and annual outside audits.