What We’re Excited About

  • December 9, 2019
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Environmental Initiative’s mission is to “build partnerships to develop collaborative solutions to Minnesota’s environmental problems.” The core of our work rests on our ability to connect with others across sectors and areas of expertise to create stronger solutions than any of us could build alone. While there are many factors that go into that, one key is passion. All our partners are passionate about making positive changes in the lives of Minnesotans, so we can co-create a healthy environment, prosperous economy, and equitable society.

Whether you’re excited about our continued investments in equity and environmental justice or you want to be engaged in our long-running policy work, your continued support allows us to focus on what matters most. Keep reading to learn more about the passion that is driving our programs right now, then give now to support that work.


I’m excited for the work we are doing with unlikely partners—Soil and Water Conservation Districts, banks, agronomists, agricultural retailers, food companies, non-profits, academia, state government…We are harnessing the power of the entire agricultural system in completely new ways to support farmers in implementing sustainable farming practices that will also help them be more profitable. We are creating, at local, state, and national levels, a new kind of agricultural system with sustainability at its heart. That’s very exciting.

Greg Bohrer, Director, Agriculture

Clean Air

There’s a lot to be excited about in our Clean Air program. From 2017–2019, Clean Air Minnesota and our partners reduced more emissions than the past four years combined—and we’re building on this momentum. In addition to launching Project Clean Air Repairs (CAR), focused on cleaning up older and high-emitting vehicles in economically disadvantaged neighborhoods, we’re also working every day to live up to Clean Air Minnesota’s new public-private-community model. Often, systems and regulations related to air quality issues do not allow for the intentional involvement of those most affected, much less in any decision-making processes. We want to improve this situation and believe it changes through public-private-community partnership. It’s a big transformation, and we hope you’ll lend us your support.

Bill Droessler, Senior Managing Director, Clean Air

Environmental Initiative Awards

The Environmental Initiative Awards brings together people from across partnerships and issues to build relationships and celebrate collaborative environmental work. There are so many innovative approaches to tackle the pressing environmental challenges we face. We are excited to see what’s possible when we build across sector and approach, through our network and your networks, to build something together. We hope the Environmental Initiative Awards can catalyze such innovation.

Lillie Benowitz, Project Manager, Engagement

Midwest Row Crop Collaborative

Environmental Initiative is excited to have taken on a leadership role as administrator for the Midwest Row Crop Collaborative. We’re looking forward to working with leading global companies and nonprofits as they leverage their strengths across the food and agriculture value chain to catalyze solutions addressing issues of soil health, water stewardship, climate, and supporting farm families.

Ryan Whisnant, Managing Director, Midwest Row Crop Collaborative

Minnesota Sustainable Growth Coalition

As we look toward 2020, when the Coalition will be celebrating its 5-year anniversary, members are raising the bar of ambition. We have seen Minnesota’s business and public sector leadership advance the circular economy across the country, which was highlighted in the launch of the first-ever national circularity conference here in Minneapolis! We’re excited to facilitate the development of this leadership and catalyze the momentum toward circularity in the coming years.

Amy Fredregill, Managing Director, Minnesota Sustainable Growth Coalition

Policy and Systems Change

Our goal has always been to form more holistic and longer-lasting solutions to environmental, economic, and social issues—and how we do so continues to evolve. This year, we’ve started working to be more intentional about the ways we engage and center diverse perspectives, especially those of economically marginalized and environmentally overburdened communities. We’re excited to be experimenting with new ways of working in order to address systemic challenges like climate change and racial disparities. In particular, we are shifting to a greater emphasis on supporting the environmental field broadly in its ability to engage across difference. Recognizing and forming connection across differences in experience, expertise, and ways of engaging with power is necessary to become more impactful. Only by building these connections can we make better, longer-lasting solutions for our environment and communities.

Meleah Houseknecht, Director, Policy and Systems Change 

For more information on how to contact our program leads, feel free to visit our Staff page. Not sure how best to get involved? Contact Sacha Seymour-Anderson, our Director of Fundraising and Engagement—she can help you figure out what parts of our work best align with your interests.

When you financially support Environmental Initiative, you make these powerful partnerships possible. Your financial support of our work gives us the freedom and flexibility to pursue projects and programs we’re excited about and that we know will make a change in the lives of all Minnesotans. Consider becoming a financial supporter today. If you want to level up your gift, Innovative Impact Partners are those who allow us to reach new heights through their generous donations and receive special recognition for their gifts.

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