Overview of our commitment to action for funders on the Commitment to Action by Solar CITIES

(The following questions and answers come from our application to the Clinton Global Initiative and can serve other organization desiring to know more about our work and commitments).

Brief overview of the work of your organization:

Solar C3ITIES stands for "Connecting Community Catalysts Integrating Technologies for Industrial Ecology Solutions" and that is our mission.  We are a not-for-profit educational, research and sustainabile development organization that uses a trainer of trainers model to empower people in economically depressed urban areas to be better able to self-provision, using urban organic wastes as the primary sources of solar energy based fuels and fertilizer for meeting our clean energy, waste management and food security goals.

What makes your organization unique? What value would your organization bring to the foundation community? *

For the last decade we have been researching, innovating and training people in impoverished areas to build  the lowest cost, most effective  and easily contructed home and community scale waste management, clean energy and soil-free food production systems available and making all our discoveries open source and available to the public on multiple social media and instructional platforms.  Our passive solar heated International Bulk Conatiner (IBC) based biodigester systems with off-grid  floating IBC gas storage has been deployed from Palestine to Greece and Portugal to Alaska, the slums of Nairobi and Cairo and the favelas of Brazil.  We are now focusing on refugee camps in areas with cold winters.  We have buit and are operating the first INDOOR bioidigester systems (in basements and kitchens in New York and Pennsylvanaia and Ireland) turning food scraps into fuel and fertilizer. We would bring to the foundation  community these nearly 10 years of experience  creating and teaching communites how to eliminate indoor air pollution, obviate the need for firewood or charcoal  (also thereby helping halt deforestation), enabling stakeholders to create  cost free hydroponic and aeroponic urban food production systems and stopping the spread of disease from untreated organic residuals from kitchens and toilets.  We transform urban kitchens and bathrooms into solution provision spaces rather than problem generating spaces, particularly empowering women in environmental technologies  given their historical roles in creating and using these domestic urban environments.

What are your organization's most effective partnerships to date? How have these partnerships enhanced your work? Please expand upon no more than 3 partnerships. Examples: corporate partnerships, collaborations with the public sector, grants received, implementing partnerships, and/or fellowships. *

1. Collaborations with Corporations:  Received $500,000 in corporate sponsorship from Insinkerator Corporation for a three year implementation of urban food waste based small scale biogas technology in the favelas of Rio, working with Catalytic Communities NGO and Viva Rio NGO in Rio de Janeiro and with Architecture for Humanity in Niteroi, Brazil, helping to build closed loop kitchens and bathrooms and constructed wetlands for a new elementary school for children living under the poverty line. 

2 Collaboration with US Embassy and US AID Small Infrastructure Program:  implemented a $25,000 grant to train local Egyptian craftspeople and trash pickers from impoverished Muslim and Coptic Christian communities  to wok together to manufacture and install several dozen solar hot water systems in the slums of Cairo and was brought on multiple occasions to run workshops and teach renewable energy and waste management technologies in Israel and the West Bank Palestine  (including live video workshops with colleagues in Gaza) and with the Embassy, the Ministry of Science and Technology, the United Nations Headquarters and Universities in Baghdad Iraq and Kurdistan.

3 Grants of up to $25,000 each received from the Blackstone Ranch Foundation through National Geographic to do in field application of small biogas technology to improve cold climate performance, which involves collaborations with Public Sector working with Cordova Alaska school district, with Los Angeles Inner City and Washington DC inner city schools and  Greenburgh Town Supervisor Paul Feiner and Westchester local schools to teach about small scale biodigestion in the north temperate zone  and to create and operate digesters as liquid compost systems for local public parks and community gardens

Please select the topic area that best fits your organization's goals and/or interests:

The Built Environment

Please list specific issues areas within this topic that your organization addresses:

Closed loop "food waste to fuel and fertilizer and urban food production systems" and the next generation of sustainable kitchens and bathrooms.

If applicable, please select a secondary topic area that best fits your organization's goals and/or interests:


Please list specific issues areas within this topic that your organization addresses:

Clean decentralized energy produced at the household level.

Please provide a 4-5 sentence description of what your organization's draft concept for a Commitment to Action is:*

Solar CITIES commits itself to immediate and radical improvement of conditions in refugee camps during the current crises in Syria, Iraq, Libya and other war-torn regions.

We are already scheduling work in displaced persons camps in Lebanon and orphan camps in Anatolia, Turkey.  We would commit to immediately  building and training people in the construction of modular rapid deployment passive and active solar heated food waste and toilet waste systems that will reduce disease burdens and the need  for imported fuels while eliminating smoke and smells and providing healthy vegetable crops and salad greens through growing food on biodigestate from liquid fertilizers made from closing the loop on human generated wastes.  We commit to realizing the Sustainable Development goals dealing with health, nutrition and clean energy by 2030 by getting started immediately and putting our expertise in action until the job gets done.




*Note on "Commitments to Action". These answers were specific to the Clinton Global Initiative commitment which is defined as follows:

"A CGI Commitment to Action is a specific plan to address pressing issues, such as unemployment, renewable energy, and education opportunities. A commitment is a detailed proposal that includes clear and measurable objectives, a timeline and budget, and outlines the key steps required to achieve success. Commitments can be small or large, financial or non-monetary, and philanthropic or core business-related. Many commitments leverage new resources through cross-sector partnerships, with commitment-makers combining efforts to expand their impact. At a minimum, every CGI commitment must be new, specific, and measurable."

Solar CITIES is commited to act in such a way with all our possible partners and funders, hoping to expand the reach and effectiveness of our educational and field service applications of core community sustainability technologies as far as possible.



More answers to questions about our organization for reference:


  Solar CITIES in Europe and Solar CITIES in the US were both founded by Thomas H. Culhane.  The website www.solarcities.eu is designed and maintained by Dominick Jais in Germany.  

• Do you have a defined “business plan”? 

In non-profit organizations, it’s tricky to define things as a business would, but it does prove very helpful in sorting out the logistics of a venture, and ultimately aid in finding opportunities for improvement. 

•  http://www.solarcities.eu/blog/2015/11/440

1 Who is your “customer”?

a Who are you trying to serve/reach/affect/influence?

i Schools & universities

ii Refugee Support Organizations

iii Individuals

iv Homesteaders

v Farmers

b Your effect on the world, use of your knowledge, initiators of actions, will be carried out, possessed, or felt by certain individuals, companies, websites, government entities, etc.

i We engage in research and development and field deployment of least cost options, simple technologies (“design with the other 90%”) and best practice solutions.

ii http://www.solarcities.eu/sites/default/files/documents/solar_cities_fl…

c Who needs what you’re offering?

i People who wish to move off grid

ii Refugee Camp residents

2 How are you currently reaching out to these “customers”?

a Website www.solarcities.eu

b Facebook:  Solar CITIES Biogas Innoventors and Practitioners

c Youtube:  Thomas H Culhane

d Public Presentations

e Workshops

f International Service Learning

3 What exactly does your group offer?

a Service, product, training, experience, intellectual capital, micro-economic entrepreneurial opportunity

4 How do you measure success?  The number of prostitutes you can get in your hotel room.  See Wolf of Wall Street for details.  Oh yes… and world peace.

a What are your objectives / goals?

i Teaching to teach others

ii http://www.solarcities.eu/sites/default/files/documents/solar_cities_fl…

iii Creating the ultimate multiplier effect for the creation of closed loop kitchens and bathrooms toward the creation of a zero waste society

b How will you know when you’ve reached them?

i When we’ve worked ourselves out of a “job” because closed loop kitchens and bathrooms have become the “sin quo non” of waste management and renewable energy production, so we can move on to another mission.

5 Who are your Allies?

a Mercy College

b Villanova

c University of South Florida

d National Geographic

e Lee Stoltzfus, Foam Tech Insulations Services

f Pipe Xpress

g Chroma

h Supporters, Political Activists, Investors

6 Who are your competitors?

a Others who perform similar services or functions are NOT our competitors

b Sane alternatives to our proposition are welcomed and integrated like The Borg

i Traditional Energy Sources (i.e.: fossil fuels, natural gas, nuclear, etc.) are not so much our competitors as the very scourge we are trying to eliminate

7 Finances – In what ways will money flow through your organization?

a How are you presently receiving funding?

i Working toward Donations / Grants / Endowments / Commercial Revenues

b Do you envision a different future state for income sources?

i Workshop Fees

ii Kits

iii Consultation

iv Speaker Fees