With catalytic climate financing, Department of Energy looks to demonstrate, deploy and decarbonize. “We’re the government and we’re here to help.” The US Department of Energy is trying to turn the old punchline into reality. Armed with hundreds of billions of dollars from a trio of historic laws, the agency is stepping into the role of convener, funder and cheerleader for what it calls a “private sector-led, government-enabled” clean energy transition that will touch every sector of the economy. The government “is ready to bet big, and bet smart,” Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm told the 600 entrepreneurs and investors assembled for the DOE’s first-ever “Demonstrate Deploy Decarbonize” conference in Washington, DC, co-hosted by the Cleantech Leaders Climate Forum.
Dealflow: Ownership Economy
Vernier Science Education transitions to a perpetual purpose trust. Vernier Science Education, a textbook, software and lab equipment provider for K-12 science and technology education, is converting ownership to a perpetual purpose trust to preserve the company’s mission. The Oregon-based company was founded more than 40 years ago by high school physics teacher Dave Vernier. It’s been helmed since 2015 by John Wheeler, who joined the company as a design engineer 30 years ago and is preparing to step down. The trust, he said, “will enable us to secure the future of our employees, reinvest in our business, and continue our mission of creating a STEM-literate society.”
Signals: Racial Equity
Overheard at the Congressional Black Caucus: Boosting Black ownership. “We haven’t made a significant improvement in the Black homeownership rate since the Fair Housing Act was passed, and that really is a travesty,” Kevin Blackburn of the Federal Home Loan Bank said at last week’s annual legislative conference of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation. The five-day event convened Black politicians, business leaders and innovators to discuss strategies for wealth and health in Black communities. Blackburn said the bank’s down payment-assistance program has deployed roughly $141 million over the past two decades to help Black families in the US that earn less than 80% of their areas’ median income purchase homes (see, “Dearfield Fund secures $7.5 million to help Black first-time homeowners make down payments”).
Agents of Impact: Follow the Talent
🎙️ Reminder: Upstart Co-Lab and ImpactAlpha are co-hosting, “Investing in an inclusive creative economy,” with Upstart’s Laura Callanan and Ward Wolff, and ImpactAssets’ Deb Parsons, in conversation with ImpactAlpha’s Dennis Price, Thursday, Oct. 5. RSVP.