Thinking of Home for the Holidays

Posted December 21, 2018

Each year, ILLUME gives back to celebrate the holidays. Our culture of giving was embedded in ILLUME from the earliest days. When we started ILLUME, we committed to supporting causes that mattered to us and our team because it’s part of who we are. This year, instead of a single company-wide donation, we engaged each office to select the organizations we will support. A common theme emerged: home.

Home is the thread that runs through most of our work at ILLUME. We work diligently to understand the social, cultural, and financial value of home so that our clients can tap into this information to meet ever-increasing energy, demand, and greenhouse gas reduction goals. We learn repeatedly, in new ways, that home is far more than the infrastructure we seek to improve. It is the culmination of our histories, our families, and our places in the world. It is the place where, ideally, we feel most safe. It is the physical surround to our dreams, our futures.

This year, as we settle into the holidays, we are reminded of how fragile home is. As fires take homes away from families throughout the West, we are reminded yet again of the ways that climate change threatens home. Between the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)’s October report and the recent release of the National Climate Assessment report in November, it is clear that the impacts of climate change are being felt now. And that, if unchecked, fires and floods and storms will force thousands more to flee their homes in the coming years. We will also face unprecedented political and social instability that will force tough conversations about who we shelter – who is included in our definition of home.

As we take seriously the uncertain future of our homes, we are called to extend support to those who have lost their homes and loved ones. In addition to supporting Porchlight in Madison, an organization that provides comprehensive support and shelter to those facing homelessness, we have also selected two organizations that support migrants: The Colibri Center for Human Rights and Kids in Need of Defense (KIND). The Colibri Center’s Missing Migrant Project seeks to identify and reunite the remains of migrants who have died on the US-Mexico border with their families. KIND provides legal services to immigrant children, including unaccompanied minors and those who were separated from their families at the border.

It is no mistake that, as a company focused on improving homes through smart energy use, we feel the deepest empathy for those who have lost or fled their home. We will leave you with this excerpt of a poem by Warsan Shire entitled “Home,” which captures the importance of creating a safe planet, and home, for humankind. Our hope for the new year is that we will apply the talents of our industry to tackle climate change so that fewer families will lose their homes. We also hope that we acknowledge our shared humanity so that, when these losses inevitably happen, we extend grace and dignity to everyone impacted.



You only leave home
when home won’t let you stay


no one leaves home unless home chases you
fire under feet
hot blood in your belly
it’s not something you ever thought of doing
until the blade burnt threats into
your neck
and even then you carried the anthem under
your breath
only tearing up your passport in an airport toilet
sobbing as each mouthful of paper
made it clear that you wouldn’t be going back.


you have to understand,
that no one puts their children in a boat
unless the water is safer than the land



ILLUME Gives Back for the Holidays

Sara and Anne are continuing the tradition of supporting the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). The SPLC is dedicated to fighting hate and bigotry and seeking justice for the most vulnerable members of our society using litigation, education, and other forms of advocacy.


The Portland, OR office selected the Community Energy Project, a Portland nonprofit that provides education, resources, and direct weatherization and safety repairs to economically vulnerable families, seniors, and people with disabilities.


The Hope, ME office selected the Midcoast Recovery Coalition’s Women’s Recovery House – a fundraiser supporting the purchase of a recovery center to serve women and families struggling with addiction.


The Madison, WI office selected Porchlight. Porchlight strives to reduce homelessness in Dane County and provides emergency shelter, food, employment services, counseling, and affordable transitional and permanent housing to homeless people in the Dane County area.


The Atlanta, GA office selected the Empty Stocking Fund that provides parents and guardians in poverty with holiday gifts for their children.


The San Francisco, CA office selected Jubilee Legal, a nonprofit immigration law firm that provides services to victims of abuse and violence in their home countries.


The Tucson, AZ office selected The Colibri Center’s Missing Migrant Project that partners with families and forensic scientists to find missing people and identify those who have lost their lives on the border.


The Boulder, CO office selected NPR to support independent media that “creates a more informed public — one challenged and invigorated by a deeper understanding and appreciation of events, ideas and cultures.”


The Washington DC office has selected Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) – an organization that provides legal services to immigrant children, including unaccompanied minors and those who were separated from their families at the border.