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products by: Michael Chagala

Solar Power is Sweet Music to Local Band

December 15, 2013

When it comes to crowdsourcing, most bands head to Kickstarter or similar fundraising websites to drum up cash to record albums or go on tours. But a Los Angeles band is doing it a little differently by helping a local nonprofit and helping the environment through solar power.

Trapdoor Social will soon release its first full-length record. However, fans can order it in advance online-and make a contribution toward a solar power project. The band is dedicating 100 percent of net money from the presale orders at PledgeMusic.com to installing solar panels on the roof of Homeboy Industries. The Los Angeles nonprofit, founded by Father Gregory Boyle, helps former gang members, both men and women, with free programs and services that range from legal to mental health to tattoo removal. One of the most crucial services the organization offers is job placement, including employment counselors, workshops, and on-the-job training in food service, cooking, silk screening, and other trades through various Homeboy-related businesses.Homeboy is a perfect location for a solar installation, as one of its job placement programs focuses on solar. The organization pays for tuition and supplies for members who enroll in the photovoltaic training program at East Los Angeles Skills Center, and offers tutoring for students to pass the credentialing test. There are also job placement opportunities available with a network of solar firms.

Trapdoor Social's fundraising for the solar program fits in with the band's history; founders Merritt Graves and Skylar Funk met at Pomona College while taking environmental studies classes. The band's "Alternative Rock for Alternative Energy" fundraising campaign has also enlisted the support of Everybody Solar and GRID Alternatives, as well as the Sierra Club's My Generation campaign.

"This is a great opportunity to marry fundraising and the music world for solar energy," said Youness Scally of Everybody Solar in a KCET news report. "Our mission is to protect the environment and strengthen U.S. communities through solar energy projects. This partnership will benefit Homeboy Industries, which has made a huge impact in the communities it serves."

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