The Sustainability InstituteThe Sustainability Institute

Tag : sustainability

By Katherine Richards

A day of service with MTAG!

MTAG Services gathered their employees to participate in a day-long volunteer service event to retrofit and energy upgrade a low-income home for the family in need, while also generously sponsoring the materials and supplies for the retrofit.

The MTAG employees worked hand-in-hand with the Veterans Conservation Corps members of The Sustainability Institute to learn first-hand how to upgrade the home for energy efficiency and help save the homeowner money on their energy bill.

These volunteering opportunities are a great way for businesses to not just sponsor a home, but to engage their employees in serving our community. They are highly collaborative, engaging and fun events where the community and families we serve get to interact with our corporate partners and businesses.

During these service projects, our volunteers receive formal instruction around weatherizing/ energy upgrading a home and then get to immediately apply those skills to help improve the home of a family in need.  Repair work is supervised by our licensed contractors.

We believe that there is a special opportunity during these events for volunteers to learn new skills and to add additional dexterity to the projects.

MTAG Services is the nation’s leading provider of specialized financial asset servicing since 1997. Located in Mount Pleasant, their diverse team works together toward the company goal of being the best-in-class niche asset service provider. Learn more about MTAG Services at

By Katherine Richards

Equitable Development

Yesterday evening’s Upper Peninsula Initiative gathering focused on equitable development, a major focus in The Sustainability Institute’s, UPI’s parent organization, goal for the Upper Peninsula, as they work towards a more sustainable way of living.

Speakers included representatives
from Neighborhood House, The American Red Cross, and The Sustainability Institute.

Deborah LaRoche, the director of Neighborhood House shared the services and opportunities the agency has been able to bring to the Upper Peninsula through their admirable charitable work.

The local
American Red Cross branch came and talked about their free program, teaching residents to install smoke detectors in vulnerable homes around the neighborhood.

The Sustainability Institute also spoke about their revolutionary weatherization techniques used to reduce energy bills and environmental footprints with the Energy Conservation Corps. The program is designed to teach and train the next generation of industry leaders.

Guests enjoyed fried chicken, mac & cheese, cornbread and sweet tea from Martha Lou’s Kitchen, a New York Times acclaimed soul food restaurant located in the Charleston Upper Peninsula.

The Upper Peninsula Initiative is a public-private planning effort managed by the City of Charleston and the backbone organization, The Sustainability Institute.

For more information, please visit or email

Photos by Stan Foxworthy Foxworthy Studios.

Special thanks to our sponsor, Spectrum
, hosts, The Neighborhood House, and our awesome speakers and volunteers. We couldn’t do what we do without you!

By Katherine Richards


Last night was perhaps the craziest one on the Upper Peninsula events yet. St. Julian Devine Community Center hosted a fun, family-friendly UPI gathering focused on CommUNITY, a message resonating throughout Charleston following the attack on Emmanuel AME Church in 2015. 

The UPI event was in partnership with Charleston Promise Neighborhood,a local non-profit that has a mission to ensure all Charlestonians are engaged in their community, and to ensure every child is on track to graduate high school with the necessary abilities. CPN is located in the Upper Peninsula on upper Meeting Street.

The focus for the night was to bring together like-minded individuals on the Upper Peninsula, committed to uniting together in the face of tragedy. A message of unity is essential to the family oriented atmosphere Charleston is famous for.

Speakers of the night included Samantha Sammis, Sherrie Snipes-William, and Jay Bell.

Samantha Sammis is the Executive Director of Loving America Street, a group committed to demonstrating a love of Christ through community service. Loving America Street operates Laundry Matters, the only remaining laundry facilitator on the East Side.

Sherrie Snipes-William is the Executive Office of Charleston Promise Neighborhood, a long time ally of CharlestonUP. Charleston Promise Neighborhood’s mission is to ensure every child in the neighborhood has the supports they need to thrive.

The Sustainability Institute’s Energy Conservation Corps representative Jay Bell was also in attendance, updating residents on the status of the corps members and explaining SI’s ECC Program, how it benefits at ri
sk youth and veterans, and how the community benefits from their work.

A jump castle, arts and crafts with Enough Pie, basketball and snow cones kept the little future neighborhood leaders entertained.

A delicious variety of grilled chicken, ribs, burgers and hot dogs were available for everyone to enjoy.  A  local church helped to coordinate the selections, and had one of their members, a UP resident, prepare the meal.

This CommUNITY gathering was sponsored by BoomTown. A special thanks to Nina Magnesson, who does an awesome job representing the interests of this local online real estate company

Attendees were encouraged to participate in a survey to offer ideas for future projects and gatherings. The results are as follows.

The Upper Peninsula Initiative is a public-private planning effort managed by the City of Charleston and the backbone organization, The Sustainability Institute.

For more information, please visit or email

Photos by Stan Foxworthy Foxworthy Studios.

*UPI is a community centered, neighborhood oriented planning initiative, created with the needs of the areas it serves in mind. The results of any survey conducted do not use empirical methods of data collection, and are not necessarily reflective of the community at large.

Equitable Development