Six local chambers of commerce – Temecula, Murrieta, Wildomar, Lake Elsinore, Canyon Lake and Menifee – joined together, July 11, to celebrate with the Assistance League of Temecula Valley for a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Assistance League Thrift Store, 28720 Via Montezuma, in Temecula.
The Assistance League was celebrating being honored as the 2017 Nonprofit of the Year for the 28th Senate District, the installation of their electronic doors which makes the store fully compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, the new wrap on their cargo truck and their newly installed solar panels. They called the ribbon-cutting event “Recharged and Refreshed,” and the business community came out in force to support the event.
Sen. Jeff Stone, R-Riverside County, selected the Assistance League of Temecula Valley who has been serving local communities for 27 years, for the honor of Nonprofit of the Year.
“I have seen firsthand the impact this great group of volunteers has had on the people of southwest Riverside County,” Stone said. They have” …greatly enhanced the lives of thousands of people in our community.”
The front entryway was completely demolished and replaced with energy-efficient glass and sliding electronic doors that were provided by Andy’s Glass & Window Company, 25751 Jefferson Ave. in Murrieta, which donated half of the $26,000 cost. Stanley Hardware donated some of the door hardware, and the city of Temecula provided a Community Service Grant of $4,768.
Jamie Larson from Extreme Signs & Graphics, 27620 Commerce Center Dr, Ste. 114, in Temecula designed and donated the wrap on the Assistance League’s cargo truck.
Assistance League made a commitment in March 2016 to install solar energy to make the 24,000-square-foot facility energy-efficient and environmentally friendly.
“A fixed monthly rate for 20 years and a periodic buy-out option made the decision to move forward all the more practical,” Dorcas Shaktman, former president of Assistance League of Temecula Valley, said.
After much research, the board selected another local company, Ambassador Energy, founded in 2008 in Murrieta, to coordinate the solar project for the Assistance League.
“I have had an affinity for the Assistance League for a long time,” Kelly Smith, president of Ambassador Solar, said. She joined a chapter in Orange County 25 years ago.
“When solar financing became viable for nonprofits, I immediately thought of Assistance League of Temecula Valley and wanted to see if we could help them save money,” Smith said. “Solar financing for nonprofits is very specific. Since they don’t have a tax ‘appetite,’ they need a finance partner who will take the tax credit using a services method as the method.”
Financing became the obstacle for many months and was finally overcome when James Coomes and American Renewable Energy Capital stepped up to invest in the project.
“Everyone wins in this scenario,” Smith said. “Assistance League of Temecula Valley saves money on their electric bill without spending a dime, while at the same time reducing their carbon footprint. Local people are engaged to do the installation thus supporting the local economy. Investors get the tax credit and the profits off the sale of excess electricity.”
Ambassador Solar installed 238 solar panels on the roof of the Assistance League Thrift Store generating a potential 130,000,000 watt-hours per year of energy.
“This would create immediate savings for Assistance League of Temecula Valley and guarantees that the cost of producing their own energy would never go up,” Smith said.
Smith said that any business or nonprofit is a good candidate for the program as long as they own their building.
“We’re happy to meet, determine the needs, do the math and see if it is a financial win for everybody,” she said. “I personally handle the commercial side of things here and am happy to assist with any inquiries. ‘Lookie Loos’ are welcome.” Kelly Smith can be reached by phone at (866) 586-1840 or by email at KSmith@AmbassadorEnergy.com.
“Assistance League is now clean and green,” Shaktman said.
Sizzler, New Life Culinary creations, Buffalo Wild Wings, Jersey Mike’s Subs and The Liquid Leaf provided refreshments for the event.
The Assistance League of Temecula Valley is an all-volunteer 501(c)(3) nonprofit that serves the cities and schools of southwest Riverside County. Their philanthropic programs include: Operation School Bell, Operation Foster Youth, Operation Scholarships, Operations SHADES, Operation Bear Hug and Operation Community Outreach. In 2015-2016, the Assistance League returned $378,000 to the communities they serve, they served 29,200 people and 34,000 volunteer hours were logged. They have over 250 volunteers. The support of donations and purchases at their thrift store make their various philanthropic programs possible.
For more information on the Assistance League of Temecula Valley, to volunteer or to donate, call (951) 694-8018, visit the website at www.assistanceleague.org/temecula-valley or visit the thrift store at 28720 Via Montezuma, in Temecula.