Sustainativity is helping other nonprofits see the light in Savannah.
“I was doing some philanthropy, but it was in a scattered sort of way,” says founder and director Tommy Linstroth. “I wondered: What would happen if I aggregated my work into one organization that would help others in a sustainable and enduring way?”
So he founded Sustainativity in 2013, and since then, the group has assisted several organizations with an emphasis on environmental innovations. It has helped Senior Citizens Inc. replace 125 light fixtures with high-efficiency fluorescent and LED lighting in its historic headquarters building, which “improves the quality of the workplace while saving on utility bills,” he says.
Sustainativity recently raised funds to provide a large, walk-in, solar-powered freezer for the Forsyth Farmers Market. And it retrofitted the lighting, installed interior storm windows and insulated the attic of the Historic Savannah Foundation, along with replacing the lighting with LEDs for the Second Harvest Food Bank.
“We provide endowments rather than just writing one big check,” says Linstoth, who was named a Georgia Trend 40 Under 40 in 2008. “Our lighting improvements typically help an organization save at least $3,000 per year in utility bills, which is money that the group can reinvest in its mission.”
Sustainativity has a board of six volunteers.
“We’re volunteer-run, and we have no overhead,” Linstoth says, “so every dollar goes directly to our projects.”
The organization raises money with the comical “Mattress Dash,” a kind of soap box derby in which a team of five create a racing frame for a twin mattress and rider, and the Green Tie One On event, when guests can watch 10 artists create a work of art, then bid on the finished products.
“We want to help others in a way that is long-term and tangible,” he says.