NFL legend Ray Lewis, Baltimore-based solar developer Cherie Brooks and real estate executive Rob Wallace are on a mission to expand opportunity in the solar business for underserved individuals. Desiring to break the cycle of poverty, unemployment, under-employment and incarceration in Baltimore and other cities across the country, Lewis, Brooks and Wallace formed the Power52 Foundation, a nonprofit organization that provides training for success in the clean energy industry.
Recognizing rising demand among Maryland employers for job candidates with skills and expertise in renewable energy, the co-founders came together to start the Power52 Foundation several years ago. Since then, the foundation continues to economically empower local community members by expanding access to classroom instruction, on-the-job training and long-term employment opportunities in the state’s clean energy industry.
"From day one living in Baltimore, I asked, why don’t we have anyone from the community working in our community?" Lewis said in an interview with Afro.com. “The reason I am going this route is to show the power of Power52. Power52 takes us in each and every community; and it does not hustle the community, it does not ponder something that cannot happen. We promise you a new life, we promise you a new path, but you have to do the work.”
Since the foundation’s inception, over 100 students have graduated from the Power52 Energy Institute, an accredited eleven-week comprehensive training program that provides career development services for at-risk adults and underserved individuals. A majority of graduates are currently working in the Maryland clean energy industry and serve as role models and ambassadors for those in their local communities seeking pathways to gainful employment.
Lewis is widely regarded as one of the most dominant linebackers in the history of the NFL, bringing the Baltimore Ravens two Super Bowl victories and recently earning his place in the Hall of Fame. However, it is off the field in his adopted Baltimore community and other regions touched by Power52 where he will leave the greatest impact.