Brightening Our Corner Newsletter - August 2022

Aug 25, 2022 1:30 PM ET

Ray Anderson always said, "Brighten the corner where you are." This quarter's newsletter features all of the latest stories from the Ray C. Anderson Foundation's key funding initiatives, including The Ray, Drawdown Georgia, the Ray C. Anderson Center for Sustainable Business and Drawdown Georgia.



Biomimicry Institute Announces Finalists for Ray of Hope Prize

From inventing higher-performing and more sustainable renewable energy systems, to reducing food waste, to solving the plastic waste problem, the 2022 Ray of Hope Prize® finalists offer inspiring solutions through their use of biomimicry (also referred to as nature-inspired or bioinspired design). Selected from hundreds of impressive submissions from companies around the world, the Biomimicry Institute is proud to announce the top 10 finalists selected to participate in this transformational program designed to help startups cross a critical threshold in scaling their sustainable solutions. The 10-week virtual accelerator program culminates in the chance to receive the $100,000 grand prize and additional equity-free funding. Read about the finalists.

Biomimicry Youth Design Challenge Webinar

The Biomimicry Institute presents the Youth Design Challenge (YDC), a free and authentic 6-12 grade STEM learning project that empowers students to solve real-world sustainability problems using biomimetic solutions. This challenge provides a framework for educators of all types to introduce biomimicry as a lens for exploration and problem solving within and beyond the classroom. Coaches and educators can register now, and the new program and refreshed curriculum will open on August 29.


RayDay is Back!

Sunday, October 16, 2022, 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. at Serenbe. Fun for the whole family with lots of new exhibitors, interactive kids activities, carnival rides, pony rides, and food trucks. All FREE! Get Tickets.


Drawdown Georgia Offers Climate Solutions Toolkits

Are you thinking about purchasing an electric vehicle but don't know where to start? Are you interested in making your home more energy-efficient and need to be sure you know all the facts? You're not alone. Luckily, we have a deep bench of experts in Georgia to help answer your questions. The Drawdown Georgia Climate Solutions Toolkits give you the information you need to adopt the climate solutions that will help drive down greenhouse gas emissions in our state. View the Toolkits.

Drawdown Georgia Climate Solutions & Equity Grant

Five Georgia-based family foundations have opened a joint request for proposals for the Drawdown Georgia Climate Solutions & Equity Grant. Letters of introduction are due by August 31, 2022. Learn more here.

K-12 Climate Education: Climate Solutions that Go Beyond Carbon

How can Georgia educators nurture and engage the next generation of climate leaders in our state? How are teachers employing hands-on learning experiences around climate with their students? And how do young leaders view their roles in the climate movement? Join us for an informational webinar. Register Here.


Announcing the Winners of the Carbon Reduction Challenge

In the 2022 Carbon Reduction Challenge, organized by the Center and the Global Change Program, summer interns from Georgia Tech and other universities stepped up to propose ways to reduce carbon emissions and costs at their places of employment. First prize ($2,000) was awarded to the Electrify GT team for their project on the electrification of fleet vehicles on the Georgia Tech campus. Team members included Jason Juang, (business administration), John Schmidt (computer science), Bryce Smith (chemical engineering), and Sam Wombough (history and sociology). Georgia Tech currently operates over 400 fleet vehicles fueled with gasoline or diesel that produce planet-warming greenhouse gasses. The team’s report explores the feasibility of replacing Ford F-150s, Rangers, and Transits with equivalent electric alternatives over a 20-year study duration. The team proposes early retirement of the current fleet and replacement with electric vehicles to minimize costs and reduce lifetime carbon emissions. Over 20 years, Georgia Tech could see a total potential savings of 9,195,000 lbs. of CO2 and $951,000. Congratulations, team Electrify GT!

Center Releases 2022-26 Strategic Plan

Where will the Center be in the next five years? If all goes according to (the strategic) plan: sustainability will be more deeply embedded in the student experience, graduates will be more prepared for sustainability in careers, faculty research will be making a greater impact on industry, and the Center’s reputation and influence will have grown. Learn more about how the Center will continue its goal to empower the leaders of tomorrow to create sustainable businesses and communities! View the 2022-26 Strategic Plan.


Feasibility Study

The Ray worked with NGI Consulting and the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) to produce a feasibility study that examines the barriers and opportunities to bury high voltage direct current transmission lines in the highway right-of-way.

In the Media

The Ray executive director, Allie Kelly, joined The Biophilic Institute on their podcast, Biophilic Solutions, to discuss the net zero future of transportation. The episode, entitled "The Highway of the Future with The Ray’s Allie Kelly," is available on Apple, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts. Listen now!

Allie Kelly also joined Esri’s Marianna Kantor on the Esri & The Science of Where Podcast to discuss the geographic approach in creating sustainable roads and highways. Listen to the episode here.

New Team Members

In May, Alex Payson joined the team as the Transportation and Energy Specialist. Prior to joining The Ray, Alex worked in various roles for the Smart Mobility Office within the City of Austin’s Transportation Department. Alex received her B.A. in Economics and International Trade from the University of Central Arkansas and a Master’s of Global Policy from the University of Texas at Austin.

In August, Kanan Dave joined The Ray as a GIS Specialist. Kanan attended the University of North Texas, where she studied Geography with a specialization in Geographic Information Systems. She also holds a Master’s in Environmental Science from India.


Shifting the Burden of Proof: Why It's Now on the Fossil Fuel Industry to Defend Itself

After many decades of research and advocacy, the climate movement has carried its burden of proof in showing how detrimental the fossil fuel industry has been. It’s now time for the fossil fuel industry to justify its role in our future economy, and I don’t think it looks good for them. Read the blog.


Mary Anne Lanier, Foundation President, recently joined the Board of Directors of Georgia Audubon. Georgia Audubon envisions a conservation-minded and fully engaged Georgia where birds prosper, habitats flourish, and understanding grows. They approach their work through conservation, education, and community engagement.

Valerie Bennett, Communications Director, is in the Institute for Georgia Environmental Leadership's (IGEL's) Class of 2022. IGEL is an experiential program dedicated to building and sustaining a diverse network of environmentally educated leaders in Georgia. It provides them with the knowledge, advanced skills, and network necessary to help resolve Georgia’s environmental challenges. Apply for the Class of 2023 here.


August 30, 2022 - K-12 Climate Education Webinar: Climate Solutions that Go Beyond Carbon
October 6, 2022 - Southface Visionary Dinner
October 13, 2022 - Chattahoochee Riverkeeper Patron Celebration
October 16, 2022 - RayDay
Ongoing - Drawdown Georgia Events Calendar