"Brightening Our Corner" – May 2023

The Quarterly Newsletter of the Ray C. Anderson Foundation
May 31, 2023 9:30 AM ET
family stands in front of house


USDOT selects The Ray as Capacity Builder for 15 communities in launch of national Thriving Communities Program 
The Ray announced that the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) has awarded $5.1 million to The Ray and partners Arcadis, InfraStrategies, and Beverly Scott Associates to support 15 communities as a Networked Communities capacity builder within the USDOT’s Thriving Communities Program. The 15 communities matched with The Ray are located near ports, airports, freight, and rail facilities. Community infrastructure needs and priorities will drive The Ray’s capacity building strategy and focus on mobility, access, housing, economic issues, workforce development, and environmental justice. Read the full story.

The Ray Has Published its 2022 Annual Report 
Click here to download it.

Biomimicry on The Ray 
The Ray and the Biomimicry Institute are both key funding initiatives for the Ray C. Anderson Foundation. With that in mind, we are extremely proud that The Ray has collaborated with a team of biomimicry practicioners. A recent announcement by The Ray says: "By designing transportation technologies like nature, human designs can create conditions that are conducive to life." 
Read the story and download the report.


Ray of Hope Prize Finalists Featured in Video Series 
The Biomimicry Institute has been featuring a series of videos highlighting the innovations of the 2022 finalists for the Ray of Hope Prize®. The Foundation is a funder for the program, and we are proud of the work that is being done to celebrate nature-inspired solutions addressing the world's biggest environmental and sustainability challenges. Learn more in the Ask Nature Gallery, which features all of the project videos and the biological strategies behind them. Click here to view the video about Biome Renewables.

Wild Creativity Opens at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry 
Creatividad silvestre | Wild Creativity invites visitors of all ages to explore fundamental concepts of biomimicry through hands-on design challenges, spotlighting the interplay between the art and science of nature and how it continues to inform our world.

This OMSI-made, Spanish-language forward exhibit reveals how animals and nature work in unique, sustainable, and efficient ways. The Biomimicry Institute is a collaborator in this traveling exhibit that could be coming soon to a museum near you. Learn more.


Students Win Startup Seed Funding in First Sustainable-X Showcase 
Startup founders from Georgia Tech presented their business ideas at the first Sustainable-X Showcase in March, and the top three teams won seed funding. Sustainable-X is a partnership of CREATE-X and the Center, and a Sustainability Next Georgia Tech Strategic Plan initiative. Sustainable-X Co-director Andre Calmon said, “We hope to accelerate the Georgia Tech ecosystem that supports the development of innovative ventures aligning profits with positive social and environmental impact.” Read the article about the Showcase and a spotlight on WheelChariot, which won first prize.

Meet Scholarship Winner Meghana Embar

Georgia Tech business administration major Meghana Embar believes in “conscious decision making” when it comes to sustainability. Following a plant-based diet and problem solving for supply chain efficiency are just two ways Meghana is making a positive impact. The Center and Scheller College are pleased to announce that Meghana has been selected as the 2023 recipient of the Vivian Nora Lukens Memorial Scholarship. The scholarship was established to support undergraduate students who are pursuing the certificate in sustainable business. Read the article.

Scheller College MBA Students Attend ClimateCAP

ClimateCAP 2023 was a summit for MBA students, focused on the business sense of climate action. Thomas Rickabaugh said, “The conference increased my excitement for sustainability and interest in actions businesses must take to combat climate change.” The Center provided small grants to 14 Scheller College MBA students to help cover conference and travel expenses. Read students’ reflections.


Georgia's Changing Carbon Footprint: Drawdown Georgia Reports on Progress and Opportunities

Georgia’s overall greenhouse gas emissions are declining, experts and researchers from the Drawdown Georgia Research Team announced. The researchers report that, while the Covid-19 pandemic may have been the impetus for some of the emission decline measured from 2017 to 2021, most emission reductions come from the use of cleaner fuels to generate electricity in the state. Researchers also posit that the opportunity to more quickly deploy Georgia’s most effective climate solutions is supported by investments that are newly available under recent federal policy, such as the Inflation Reduction Act. Read the press release.

Drawdown Georgia Offers County by County GHG Emissions Reports 

Drawdown Georgia unveiled "Drawdown Georgia by the Numbers" this week at the Georgia Climate Conference in Athens, GA. This new tool enables Georgians to subscribe to receive localized data on greenhouse gas emissions in their counties. Learn more here.

2023-24 Drawdown Georgia Climate Solutions and Equity Grant Recipients Featured

In 2022, Drawdown Georgia launched its inaugural Drawdown Georgia Climate Solutions & Equity Grants program with four other Georgia-based family foundations. Grantees for the 2023-24 cohort were announced in December 2022, and two of the grantees and co-applicants have been featured in the Drawdown Georgia blog. Read more about Athens Land Trust grant. Read about the Gwinnett Housing Corporation's grant with the Georgia Hispanic Construction Association and the Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance (SEEA).

Congratulations to Blair Beasley

The Foundation staff and trustees offer their most heartfelt congratulations to Blair Beasley who has been named managing director, Environment for the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation. Blair has served as Director of Climate Strategies for the Foundation since 2021, and she was an original research team member for Drawdown Georgia before it was launched. Blair has played an instrumental role in the growth of that initiative. She will definitely be missed, but we are excited about all of the great things she will accomplish in her new role!


Ecocentricity Blog: How a Breakthrough Anode Technology Is About to Level-Up Lithium-Ion Batteries

By: John A. Lanier

In recent years, multiple companies have made promising progress on replacing graphite with silicon in the anodes of lithium-ion batteries. In doing so, they are primed to significantly increase the performance of the battery type that is currently driving the transition to electrified transportation. Read the blog.

Ecocentricity Blog: Reflections on the 2023 Georgia Climate Conference

By: John A. Lanier

The most recent edition of the Georgia Climate Conference was a resounding success. All of us at the Ray C. Anderson Foundation are grateful for the work that went into convening it. We came away inspired and reminded of how important it is to gather as a climate community. Read the blog.