ELLSWORTH — The Maine Community Foundation is one of two organizations nationally to receive a $1.2 million grant to help increase the energy efficiency of historic downtown buildings.

According to a media release from the Maine group, the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta is making the award to help Maine nonprofits replicate the Georgia-based “Grants to Green” program.

“This grant will help nonprofits maximize the use of important downtown buildings and reduce energy costs, allowing them to redirect scarce resources to other operations and programming,” the Maine foundation’s president and CEO, Meredith Jones, said in the release.

The Grants to Green program identifies energy-related upgrades for a building and recommends best practices for its sustainable management. Money will be allocated for energy audits and then implementation strategies. The goal of the program, according to its website, is to improve a historic building so it has less of an environmental impact while simultaneously saving operational costs.

The three-year grant will be administered through the Maine Development Foundation’s Maine Downtown Center. Efficiency Maine is also partnering with the program, providing energy audit services.

Anne Ball of the Maine Development Foundation said she believes between 50 and 100 projects will be eligible for the Grants to Green program. Applications will be accepted starting June 1. More information can be found at grantstogreenmaine.org.

Other organizations involved in the program through an advisory committee include Maine Preservation, the Maine Historic Preservation Commission and Coastal Enterprises Inc.

The other organization that received a similar award is the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque in Iowa.