"Walk the talk" is a constant challenge for Impact Economy businesses in New Orleans. In an economic environment that often makes it hard to be environmentally or socially conscious, businesses must navigate between the bottom line and their green principles. However, for Green Grants co-founder Aaron Dirks, he asserts: "We are a walk the talk kind of company and are excited to work with LifeCity to make as many smart changes as possible to the way we do business and the way our team lives our lives." Committed to the environment and the community, Green Grants is a successful energy efficiency and solar panel installation company that helps New Orleans families save money on their energy bills while increasing the value of their homes. Through education and a unique solar leasing program, Green Grants makes it affordable for homeowners to join the sustainability movement in our city. LifeCity had the opportunity to ask Mr. Dirks about his experience as a leader of Green Grants and an influential entrepreneur in New Orleans: Q1: What is your proudest moment as a leader of Green Grants? "One of my proudest moments was when we realized that the work we were doing was literally changing the lives of our families. We had worked for so long and so hard to develop a solution for our most economically challenged families. When we started having customers come in with tears in their eyes, thanking us for helping them afford food and medicine that they otherwise could not afford, it was the best win we could have ever imagined." Q2: What partnerships have you formed in order to leverage sustainable impact as a business? "We are working with high impact partners in the community to ensure that we maximize our sustainability impact in the region. From supporting outstanding non-profits like the Alliance for Affordable Energy and Global Green, to engaging local impact economy businesses like LifeCity, to collaborating with trusted neighborhood organizations and churches like St. Augustine, [we want to] make sure that we as a community can all do well while doing good. Q3: What are some of the greatest challenges you face in improving your social and environmental impact? "One of the greatest challenges is the uncertainty of incentives across the country and the different structures each state deploys. We are investing heavily in navigating these intricacies and always remaining nimble to adjust to an ever evolving dynamic." Q4: If you had a magic wand and there was one thing you could change that would make it easier for your company to make a difference, what would that be? "'Awareness' would be my magic wand change. Solar and energy efficiency are such incredible wins for everyone involved – homeowners, businesses, governments, workers, and yes, even utility companies. However, there is so much noise and confusion out there right now that it is a real challenge for us to get the word out about how simple, affordable, and smart Green Grants' unique solution is. Clean energy is such a great wealth creator for families and communities – and I'm just impatient to make everyone aware of it as soon as possible!" Q5: What kind of social and environmental impact do you hope to accomplish in the Green Games this year? "We are committing not just to the basic internal sustainability practices that we should all be making, but to giving back to our communities by dedicated staff volunteering and support of some of our communities best charitable and social impact groups." Q6: What advice would you give to other companies who are trying to improve their business practices to benefit our City? "Get engaged and get educated! This simple and low cost opportunity yields massive returns on investment both to your company AND community." Q7: Anything else you would like to tell our community of Green Businesses and Green Card Members? "We are in a time of rapid evolution both in business and as a people. We are moving fast into a focus on legacy and meaning both as companies and individuals – and what a beautiful thing this is. I encourage everyone to analyze how they are bringing legacy and meaning into their own businesses and lives because it will be these investments that will yield the highest returns in the future!" Thank you Aaron and Green Grants for supporting the Impact Economy in New Orleans! We look forward to helping you "walk the talk" in the next year.