Photo: Dozens of Southface sponsors and patrons come out for an evening to support the mission of Southface. (Photo from Kyle Cahall, Vertical River.)

Southface Energy Institute, known colloquially as Southface, hosted its annual visionary dinner earlier this month on Tuesday, Oct.10 and raised nearly $165,000. 

The dinner celebrated the work from the past year while also acting as a fundraising event for the future. The night was filled with people, food and music at a venue in Agnes Scott. The emcee for the dinner was none other than Saporta Report’s own Maria Saporta.

Southface is one of the Southeastern U.S.’s oldest nonprofits in the environmental sector, having been founded in 1978, and now focuses on energy efficiency for homes, workplaces and communities through a number of programs, audits, technical training, advocacy and education.

James Marlow, president of Southface, was thrilled with the reception, calling it a “fantastic event.”

Southface recognized Mercedes Benz Stadium with the 2023 Argon Award for being one of the most sustainable stadiums in the world. Dawn Brown accepted the award on behalf of Mercedes Benz Stadium.

“I think they’re leading sustainability at scale. [The Benz] has EV charging, water neutrality, waste neutrality, is walkable, bikeable and has transit nearby, an urban garden… sustainability works at every scale, and they’re a great example of that, so they’re a great reception of the Argon Award,” Marlow said.

The stadium, colloquially known as “The Benz,” is home to Atlanta United FC and the Atlanta Falcons. It’s also a popular site for huge artists who make a tour stop in Atlanta, having recently hosted Drake and Taylor Swift in the summer. 

It makes intentional efforts towards sustainability and is the first professional sports stadium to achieve a Total Resource Use and Efficiency (TRUE) Platinum certification, according to Southface’s blog post. It does this, in part, by aiming to divert 90 percent of waste through a variety of methods like reuse, recycling and composting. 

In addition, The Benz is the first professional sports venue in the United States to achieve LEED Platinum Certification, according to its website outlining its sustainability components.

Marlow hopes to build upon the work Southface is doing by growing impact and outcomes.

“We’re trying to grow our work in underserved communities so that we can really make sustainability and resiliency work for everyone, everywhere,” Marlow said.

Donations at these events are key to ensuring Southface stays funded in order to do the necessary work, and Marlow hopes more people will find themselves at Southface events in the future.

Note: Mark Lannaman, author of this article, is a reporter for SaportaReport and a current intern for Southface.

Photos by Kelly Jordan

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