Getting an organizational structure in place
In 2015 leaders from Baraboo's First United Methodist Church and the Baraboo Range Preservation Association began congregational and community conversations about climate change and sustainability practices.
In early 2019 the informal community group decided to incorporate as a non-profit using the name Powered Up Baraboo, Inc. so it could serve as a conduit for grants and projects if needed. Powered Up Baraboo “…seeks to increase the use of renewable energy and environmentally sustainable practices in the Baraboo and Sauk County area through education, advocacy, grants/fundraising and other volunteer efforts.”
Powered Up is a non-member organization guided by a board of directors. A copy of our bylaws may be downloaded here. Supporters connect with Powered Up Baraboo via signing on to receive periodic updates and taking part in action teams as individual time allows.
Powered Up began by focusing on a call for solar installations on Baraboo School District properties, especially the current Jack Young Middle School renovation. Mike Kohlman, Baraboo School Board member credited Powered Up as the catalyst for the Baraboo School District to explore a solar installation project at Jack Young Middle School. Because solar was not part of the Jack Young Middle School renovation referendum, it must be funded outside referendum dollars. However, the district has contracted with Hoffman Planning, Design & Construction to provide preliminary design estimates and economic analysis for a solar project on its own merits.
Building a base of supporters
In the spring of 2019, a small group with the Baraboo Public Library decided to create a four-part public education series in hopes of invigorating community involvement in actions to reduce carbon emissions. The public information sessions, held in September and October 2019, culminated in the decision to form local action teams to work on specific projects.
On Thursday, Nov. 7, 2019 planners of the library education series discussed how their work might fold into Powered Up Baraboo. On Friday, Nov. 8, Powered Up Baraboo’s Board of Directors accepted folding the results of the community education series into its work. This step brings an informal network of community members and potential projects under the umbrella of the non-profit. The advantages include streamlined coordination, communication, planning and enhanced leverage for specific projects.