Environmental Initiative Awards Nominations

The Environmental Initiative Awards celebrate people and projects working in partnership at the nexus of a healthy environment, a prosperous economy and an equitable society. Learn more about the 2020 Environmental Initiative Awards nominations process below.

As with all our work, we approach this nomination process through partnership to curate an exceptional, diverse nominee pool—which means we need your input. Help us recognize exciting work across the state by nominating a project or person you believe embodies this approach to crafting collaborative solutions to our most challenging environmental issues. Are you working on a project that also embodies that approach? Self-nominations are welcome.

We are looking for:

  • Collaborative projects, including two or more partners, that demonstrate innovative, creative approaches to advancing a healthy environment, a prosperous economy and an equitable society in Minnesota. Projects can be ongoing or have a project completion date up to two years before January 1, 2020.
  • Individuals who demonstrate leadership in working across difference and collaboratively approaching efforts that advance a healthy environment, a prosperous economy and an equitable society in Minnesota.

Learn more about the project and individual award categories, requirements, and evaluation processes below.

Nominate Now

You may submit a nomination for a project or individual award between now and 5:00 p.m. on Friday, February 21, 2020.

To submit a nomination, please complete one of the following forms:

Nominate a Project

Nominate a Courageous Innovator

Nominate a Critical Collaborator

Project Awards

2020 Project Award Categories

Energy & Climate

The Energy & Climate Award recognizes a partnership working to reduce greenhouse gas or carbon emissions, cut energy consumption, enhance climate resiliency, advance energy efficiency or improve air quality. Projects may also include collaborative efforts to address the changing global climate.

Environmental Innovation

The Environmental Innovation Award recognizes a partnership working on the next environmental breakthrough. This forward-facing award will recognize project with the potential to positively impact their communities by addressing a unique intersection of issues, utilizing a new approach or otherwise creatively tackling environmental challenges.

Large-Scale Sustainability Impacts

The Large-Scale Sustainability Impacts Award recognizes a partnership involving large organizations, such as municipalities or companies, working to improve sector-specific practices by creating replicable, scalable solutions to environmental challenges. Projects may include efforts to achieve a circular economy, pursuits that go beyond regulatory requirements or practices to create more sustainable operations.

Local Sustainability Impacts

The Local Sustainability Impacts Award recognizes a partnership involving small organizations, such as non-profits, community groups or businesses, working on collaborative, replicable efforts to respond to local sustainability challenges. Projects may include neighborhood-scale efforts, community-led practices or environmental stewardship initiatives.

Rural Vitality

The Rural Vitality Award recognizes a partnership working to solve environmental challenges on a community scale in rural areas. This could include grassroots efforts in revitalization or beautification, alternative land use strategies or policy initiatives that contribute to economic prosperity, environmental stewardship and improved quality of life.

Nominate a Project

Guidelines for Project Awards

Guidelines for Project Awards

  • Projects should demonstrate work at the nexus of a healthy environment, prosperous economy, and equitable society.
  • Project awards recognize collaborative, partnership-based work done by two or more entities with a shared goal and outcomes. Entities could include government agencies, nongovernmental organizations, private companies, community groups and/or individuals.
  • Projects nominated can be ongoing or have a project completion date up to two years before January 1, 2020.
  • Projects nominated, even if ongoing, should have a connection to and/or demonstrate impacts in in Minnesota.
  • Please feel free to include publications or supporting media in your application. The primary content for evaluation, however, will be the written nomination submission.
  • If two or more nominations for the same project are received, judges will evaluate only the nomination that was received first. It is the nominator’s responsibility to communicate with other project partners to ensure the submission of a single, comprehensive project nomination.
  • Projects that have received significant financial resources or staff time from Environmental Initiative are not eligible for an award.
  • Contact information will be added to Environmental Initiative’s database and email distribution list. Per our privacy policy, contact information will not be shared with any other organizations.

Nominate a Project

Individual Awards

2020 Individual Award Categories

Courageous Innovator

The Courageous Innovator Award recognizes an individual under the age of 30 working in cutting-edge ways to build partnerships and innovative environmental solutions.

Nominate a Courageous Innovator

Critical Collaborator

The Critical Collaborator Award recognizes an individual who has dedicated their career to creating a lasting impact on the environment through partnership and addressing environmental challenges.

Nominate a Critical Collaborator

Guidelines for Individual Awards

Guidelines for Individual Awards

  • Individuals nominated for the Courageous Innovator award must be under the age of 30.
  • Individuals nominated for the Critical Collaborator award may be any age.
  • Individuals nominated for either award have demonstrated leadership and environmental impacts in Minnesota.
  • Please feel free to include publications or supporting media in your application. The primary content for evaluation, however, will be the written nomination submission.
  • If two or more nominations for the same person are received, judges will evaluate only the nomination that was received first. It is the nominator’s responsibility to communicate with other potential nominators to ensure the submission of a single, comprehensive nomination.
  • Contact information will be added to Environmental Initiative’s database and email distribution list. Per our privacy policy, contact information will not be shared with any other organizations.

Nominate a Courageous Innovator

Nominate a Critical Collaborator

Selection Process

How Project Award Nominations are Evaluated

A panel of independent judges selected by Environmental Initiative will evaluate project nominations based on the following criteria:

  • Partnership: Degree to which collaboration across difference, such as sector or lived experience, was leveraged to solve environmental problems;
  • Impact: Degree to which the collaborative project lead to environmental, public health, and/or social equity impacts;
  • Innovation: Degree to which project was innovative, unique, and/or groundbreaking;
  • Equity: Degree to which equity was centered in the project development and execution.

Due to the broad nature of the award categories and types of projects submitted, each judging team will determine the relative weight of the above criteria. The Environmental Initiative Awards seeks to inspire others to adopt collaborative and equity-centered approaches to environmental problem solving, so judges will also consider the degree to which the project can be built upon, learned from, and replicated.

Environmental Initiative monitors project nominations for potential conflicts of interests with individuals serving as judges. Conflicts are handled on a case-by-case basis. Judges may be asked to recuse themselves from evaluation and discussion of that specific project or may be asked to leave the judging panel entirely, depending on the level of involvement of a judge with a project.

How Individual Award Nominations are Evaluated

Starting in 2017, Environmental Initiative began recognizing two individuals who have been influential and effective environmental leaders. Environmental Initiative staff will review nominations and select winners for the Courageous Innovator and Critical Collaborator awards based on the following criteria:

  • Collaboration: Degree to which nominee demonstrates ability to collaborate and solve problems across difference;
  • Impacts: Degree to which nominee demonstrates ability to make a positive impact on our environment, economy and community;
  • People-Centered: Degree to which nominee demonstrates ability to lead by centering people and building innovative relationships to solve environmental problems.