As you may know, each year, we host the Environmental Initiative Awards. This event is our opportunity to honor work happening across Minnesota to build a healthy environment, robust economy and equitable society. Though we’ve been hosting this event for 25 years now, each year is better than the last, and it’s thanks to you.
We’ve spent the last years growing as an organization, learning from those in our community and sharing what we’ve learned with others around us. That’s why we were interested in finding ways to improve this annual celebration to better match our organizational values: that we are all better together, and that we should engage in open exchange.
In other words, we wanted to make an event that was more than an awards ceremony. We love the chance to celebrate two inspiring individuals and five innovative project teams each year, but we also know that none of our work happens in a vacuum. We wanted this year’s event to be an evening where everyone in our network could come together to get to know one another, build community, learn about the work we’re doing and be inspired by the achievements of our winners and one another.
That’s part of why we were thrilled to spend the evening getting to know everyone who attended a little better. We created more time for attendees to connect with other people from across the Environmental Initiative community, and we continue to think about how we can celebrate and amplify the diverse, state-wide achievements of our winning people and project teams.
Of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t take one more opportunity to thank the winners for their collaborative, inspirational work. We are proud to be joined by a group of talented people, putting their skills to use to solve the complex, interconnected challenges we all face each day. Every time we think we’ve found the most exciting project in Minnesota, our community proves us wrong. Thank you to Dania Marin-Gavilan, J. Drake Hamilton, the Three Rivers Climate Conversations, the CU Green Clean Energy Lending Platform, the Poplar River Management Board, Minnesota State University, Mankato: Energy Savings and Sustainability, and Rural Grocery Stores: Energy and Access for making the 2019 Environmental Initiative Awards possible.
If you value the work being done by our winners and other work like it, we need your support. We are launching our mid-year giving campaign shortly as a way to scale up the impact we can have—together. Keep an eye out for more information on how you can help us be better together. And, as we continue to improve and adapt this event to better reflect our understanding of the work we are doing, I invite you to reach out to me or Lillie Benowitz, who took the lead on designing this year’s event, about your hopes for the future of the Environmental Initiative Awards, or anyone on our staff about any of our work.