2022 Annual Report
View the impact of our work and financials in our most recent annual report. Like what you see? Support our mission and transformation with a gift.
To our community of supporters,
When you think of an equitable and healthy society, what do you picture? For us, we imagine a community that trusts one another and is resilient in the face of ecological harm and the effects of injustice. On our best days, we are advancing toward this reality.
As an environmental organization, our primary focus is inviting people into safe spaces to learn, build relationships, and establish trust. In a reality where the effects of climate change are already here, we are navigating how to make decisions and learn alongside those most impacted. Environmental Initiative—with our broad coalition of partners and supporters—is showing up to nurture this kind of discomfort and build lasting relationships for the greatest good.
With the help of supporters like you, Environmental Initiative staff, partners, and Board of Directors accomplished a lot in 2022. From launching new efforts addressing drinking water in rural Minnesota to scaling up farmer-focused regenerative agriculture programs, we worked to tangibly address barriers to a healthy and thriving society.
No matter how you participate, we hope you join us in our mission. Thank you for reading, your commitment to environmental health, and your continued support.
Deploying youth expertise
“Youth as experts” is the guiding philosophy behind Northside Safety NET — an internship program for North Minneapolis youth. Young people are the experts of their own lived experiences, and these lived experiences hold as much value as any degree. More than 800 hours of learning took place in 2022.
Clean air car repairs expand
Through partnerships with local garages and grants from public and private sectors, we’ve repaired emissions systems on more than 400 cars. Residents breathe easier as we cover the cost of this clean air repair. More than 25 tons of air pollution were reduced in 2022 as a result of the effort.
Encouraging regenerative agriculture
Midwest Row Crop Collaborative members began a media campaign in 2022 to help increase acceptance of regenerative agriculture practices within farming communities. The campaign, funded by the Walmart Foundation, aims to reduce misconceptions around the costs and benefits of these practices.
Cutting emissions in the Port of New Orleans
In partnership with Crescent Towing, work began to replace 20 old diesel-powered engines on 10 tugboats in their fleet. The boats provide ship escort, docking, and undocking from the mouth of the Mississippi River to Baton Rouge, Louisiana. When complete in late 2023, emissions will be reduced by an estimated 30 tons per year.
Farm tour highlighting healthy soil launched
Despite the benefits, only 5% of farmers planted cover crops in 2017, according to the USDA. In response, Environmental Initiative launched the Soil Health Farm Tour to showcase the benefits of conservation practices and encourage farmers to learn more. Nine farms were highlighted on the tour as well as 11 different conservation practices.
“Environmental Initiative is demonstrating what is possible for other environmental organizations… The transformation has not been perfect, and there have been times I’ve been disappointed in Environmental Initiative.
I’m on the board of directors because Environmental Initiative is demonstrating an openness to learning, a willingness to be part of difficult conversations, and is working to change systems in order to get it right for those who have been left out.”
“My worldview was expanded at an Environmental Initiative forum more than 10 years ago. I was invited to speak about my priorities as the environmental director for the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe. I lacked trust in people and entities outside my Tribe but went because a colleague, Brandy Toft, encouraged me.
Environmental Initiative proves that there is power in understanding and honoring differences. After being approached about joining the Environmental Initiative Board of Directors a few years ago, I realized I was being offered another opportunity to help people like me continue to have spaces to convene and be transformed.”
Board of Directors
Top row L-R: Bob Blake, Levi Brown, Alison Bryant, Gail Cederberg, Anita Urvina Davis, Kristin Heutmaker
Middle row L-R: Maurcio León, Chris Nelson, Raj V. Rajan, Eric Sannerud, Joe Smentek, Amy Senter
Bottom row L-R: Halston Sleets, Michelle Stockness, Sagar Sunkavalli, Katie Swor, James Trice, Shiela Ugargol Keefe
Not pictured: Whitney Terrill
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