Chattanooga nonprofit GreenSpaces has kicked off a giving campaign to support of environmental sustainability.

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Many don’t realize the organization is a nonprofit, according to Director of Development Dawn Hjelseth.

When the organization launched, the Lyndhurst Foundation provided funding for incentive programs to encourage people to do things like invest in solar energy and get LEED-certified, but that ended after three years.

This year, GreenSpaces is celebrating its 10-year anniversary, and the giving campaign will help the organization continue its work, which shifted to educational outreach after Lyndhurst funding ended.

For example, the organization educates people on simple things they can do to lower their energy bills, Hjelseth said. 

On Thursday, Hjelseth said she was helping install solar LED lights in the Orchard Knob area to help preserve energy and promote general safety.

GreenSpaces focuses much of its work on low-income areas in an effort to inform residents how they can save money and energy.

The organization has found that neighborhoods such as Alton Park, East Lake and Highland Park use 43 percent more energy than the average Chattanooga household. It’s partly because the homes are older, but educating people on little changes they can make—such as installing programmable thermostats—can make a big difference, Hjelseth said.

“We want to empower people with the knowledge on ways they can save,” she said.

To help support this kind of work, GreenSpaces is raising money throughout the month of October.

People can donate through the nonprofit’s website, and all donations will be matched dollar for dollar up to $10,000.

Hjelseth said the organization is encouraging people to pledge $10 a month, which comes with a free GreenSpaces membership.

With a membership, people get free access to the organization’s Lunch and Learn events, discounts to some events and other benefits.

“[With the $10-a-month option], they get money right back if they come to a Lunch and Learn,” she said. “It helps us help the community, and then they get education in return, too.”

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