History and Mission

The Cape and Islands Self-Reliance Corporation ("Self-Reliance) was the leading organization calling for a Community Choice law in Massachusetts in the mid-nineties. Led by now Massachusetts Representative Matthew Patrick, Self-Reliance funded the American Local Power Project from 1996-2000 with grants from the Jessie B. Cox Charitable Trust and the Surdna Foundation.

Self-Reliance was founded as a nonprofit organization in 1980 in order to promote self-reliance in energy, water, and food for Cape Cod communities. Due to demand for member services, Self-Reliance has since expanded its service area to all of Massachusetts.

Our mission is to identify, facilitate, and spread the word about sound environmental practices that are also cost-saving measures. These practices reduce pollution—and its costly consequences—while freeing up funds that can be invested in education, job creation, and other community and household needs. By uncovering and creating opportunities for households, businesses, and municipalities to conserve natural resources and save money at the same time, Self-Reliance strengthens local economies and supports a cleaner environment.

Selected Achievements

Since its inception, Self-Reliance has provided technical assistance and subsidies to over 4,000 homeowners, businesses, churches, and agencies that have invested $20 million to improve the energy efficiency of their buildings, Our conservative estimate of the annual savings in energy costs realized from these improvements is $3–4 million.

Self-Reliance spearheaded the research and development of the Barnstable County Energy Management Plan, working with a 150-citizen task force. The plan revealed the social and environmental costs of generating off-Cape electricity for on-Cape consumers to be $21 million annually.

Self-Reliance has helped many towns on Cape Cod to establish and manage community gardens. These gardens boost local food production and provide elderly, low-income, and family gardeners with cost savings on their food bills. Highlights of Current Projects - Summer 1996

Self-Reliance has researched and developed a model for the deregulation of the electricity industry that uses market competition among electricity providers to maximize consumer savings and to advance the use of renewable, nonpolluting sources of energy. Self-Reliance is currently conducting outreach to local governments and state agencies to encourage debate and thoughtful consideration of this "Community Electricity Franchise" model for electricity supply.

Self-Reliance is working with the Massachusetts Military Reservation in Mashpee, Mass. to establish a wind turbine "farm." This renewable energy facility would provide power for the electric motors used in the cleanup of toxic waste at the base.

Self-Reliance continues its tradition of facilitating energy-efficient home improvements through a Community Energy Loan Program (CELP), beginning in September 1996. The program combines low-interest loans with technical assistance by our staff architect.

The Surdna Foundation Web Site Click Here to Contact Self-Reliance Matthew C. Patrick
Executive Director
Tel 508 457 7679
Fax 508 457 9171
P.O. Box 3203
Waquoit, MA 02536-3203