Third Sun Solar – Holiday Gifting

Third Sun Solar Celebrates Tenth Anniversary by Giving

On a cold, snowy early-December night in The Plains, just west of Athens Ohio, Third Sun Solar hosted a combined holiday party and Tenth Anniversary celebration with its staff and over a hundred of its closest friends. Held at the renovated Eclipse Company Store, the evening featured food prepared by Hocking College culinary students and live bluegrass/newgrass music by the Rumpke Mountain Boys. But the highlight of the evening was the opportunity for each guest to distribute $50 in donations among five of their favorite causes, courtesy of the Third Sun Solar “Community Gifting” program.

Each arriving guest was given a strip of 5 gold stars—the kind we used to get in school for outstanding work—and were offered the opportunity to paste the stars onto a chart beside the names of twenty-six local non-profit and community development organizations, including the Buckeye Forest Council, the Athens Conservancy, Green Energy Ohio, Stuart’s Opera House of Nelsonville, WOUB public radio, Habitat for Humanity, Big Brothers Big Sisters, the Second Harvest Food Bank, and the Red Cross, among others. Participants could also write in another non-profit recipient of their choice to direct a Third Sun Solar donation there. The results were tallied and local organizations were awarded $10 per star, plus an additional 50% of the total. Almost $5,000 was donated by Third Sun Solar as a result of this holiday giving celebration.

As Third Sun Solar co-founder Michelle Greenfield noted, “Since 2008, we have been doing this “Community Gifting.” Third Sun Solar gives each of our employees a certain amount of funds to distribute to the non-profit or community development organizations of their choice. Since this year is our tenth anniversary as a company, we combined our annual holiday party with an anniversary celebration, and we extended the community gifting opportunity to not only our employees, but the other guests at the celebration. Our Third Sun Solar core values include sustainability, care for the environment and care for our community, so hopefully our gifting reflects those values.”

The site of the evening’s festivities was a restored coal mining building which served as the pay station and general store for coal miners in the years before the Great Depression. Recently, five local friends with interests in historic preservation and local history have restored the company town of Eclipse (named for the Eclipse Mine #4 of the Hocking Valley Coal Company, which began operating in 1902). The restored mining town comprises seventeen acres with twelve company houses, one shotgun shack, and the company store. The Eclipse Company Store is open to the public for special events, weddings and community gatherings, and the town and its structures are now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.