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Fellows Spotlight
Scaling Elemental Excelerator’s Mission
April 10, 2024
Written by: Dawn Lippert
Photo of Dawn Lippert and Catherine Coleman Flowers

Elemental Excelerator founder and CEO Dawn Lippert with Elemental Policy Fellow Catherine Coleman Flowers. Photo courtesy Elemental Excelerator.

April is Earth Month, a time to be inspired, seize opportunity, and take collective actions to help protect our planet, even in the face of political and financial challenges. As a nonprofit investor in climate technologies with deep community impact, Elemental Excelerator is optimistic for 2024. The Maui wildfires were a devastating tragedy and a reminder that our work is now more important than ever—to advance local energy, food, transportation, and water solutions in communities that need them most.

Our mission, rooted in mobilizing philanthropic and government capital, activating public and private investment, and amplifying real impact for communities, guides our every step. And we are now scaling this work, having made 37 new and follow-on investments last year. While we started Elemental in Hawaiʻi, our companies are now active in all 50 states and more than 100 countries.

We are honored to invest in and help support many organizations rooted in local Hawaiʻi communities, like Shifted Energy, Farm Link Hawaiʻi, Hohonu, and Maui Nui Venison, who are working to build resiliency throughout our islands. These are entrepreneurs who are supporting recovery efforts and continuing their commitment to protect local ecosystems, produce more locally sourced food, monitor ocean and water conditions, and provide more equitable energy options for local families—all while providing good-paying jobs and meaningful careers.

While many Elemental portfolio companies partner with local communities, our Hawaiʻi-based companies in particular lead the way in examples of how to build strong, reciprocal community partnerships. I’m proud of how Hawaiʻi can be an example for the world to show what it means to invest in climate technology with deep community impact.

I was recently in Washington D.C., where Elemental hosted a series of events for small and large businesses (30 Elemental companies joined 100+ businesses), community banks, institutional investors, foundations, elected officials, and policymakers focused on building projects in communities across the nation. With the Inflation Reduction Act, we now have policy and funding aligned to deploy clean energy, clean water, and clean transportation projects across the nation—and we are ready to build.

It will take immense public-private partnership to realize the promise of the Inflation Reduction Act in Hawaiʻi. We are encouraged by the Climate Coalition, launched by Hawaiʻi Executive Collaborative, which now welcomes more than 25 public and private organizations who are committed to climate action and broader advocacy. This is a watershed moment for private sector engagement in climate, and we need every single company and leader to be part of the movement to improve Hawaiʻi’s economic and environmental resilience.

Every day feels like Earth Day at Elemental. Together, with your support and collaboration, we can continue to push boundaries, innovate, and advance a more sustainable future for all.

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