- Are a nonprofit organization working with business, nonprofit, government and community leaders to address complex and systemic issues.
- Facilitate conversations addressing environmental, economic, and public health issues between diverse stakeholders as we work toward social equity and environmental health.
- Take action and implement on-the-ground projects to improve our air, land, and water for all beings.
- Plan and host events for environmental leaders from businesses, nonprofits, government and most-impacted communities to share information, network and learn from one another.
Catalyze collaboration across perspectives, power, and systems for social equity and environmental health.
Relationships foster an inclusive, just, and thriving world for all beings.
Our Theory of Change
A new theory of change (PDF) is a component of our organizational development and strategic planning work that articulates the approach to how we do our work; how we lead; who we engage; and what we focus on. This theory of change grounds effective, intentional relationship building designed to build trust, foster shared action through skillfully practiced leadership, mutuality, recognition of our common humanity, and intentional avoidance of polarization.
Interdependence – We are all related. Trust, relationship and interconnection are the cornerstone of genuine, respectful dialogue; wise decision-making; and resilient communities.
Insight – We skillfully engage complexity, nuance, multiple narratives, ambiguity, and the need for adaptation and iteration, as environmental concerns are interwoven and everchanging. We develop a way forward together by learning from each other and by being a trustworthy partner.
Justice – We create an inclusive, respectful, space for courageous decision-making, sharing power, determining together how best to care for people and planet, and mitigating disproportionate impacts of environmental issues on communities of color and Indigenous, low income, and rural communities.
Impact – We facilitate powerful, thoughtful shared action; catalyze creative, innovative solutions; and generate transformative, long-term, systemic outcomes through open-minded listening, sharing, support, and dialogue.
Leadership – We bridge across perspectives, people, systems, and differences in power. We cultivate and connect diverse, principled leaders who have the ability to hold multiple perspectives, complex ideas, and different worldviews, and who are effectively and thoughtfully working together for lasting good.
Intention – We exercise deep care in our relationships. We undertake our work together to achieve mutually beneficial outcomes for people and places. Our collaborations are nurtured and pursued conscientiously and ethically to lead to greater impact.
Our founders recognized we can do better for the environment by working together.
In early 1992, leaders from seemingly adversarial interests came together around this vision of partnership. Brett Johnson of BRJP Publishing convened a group of leading Minnesota businesses, environmental advocacy nonprofits and state agencies to discuss a collaborative model for problem solving. The organization grew out of these early conversations, and was founded under the name Minnesota Environmental Initiative (MEI). Ciaran Mannion served as the organizations first Executive Director and worked tirelessly to put MEI’s mission into action.
Now called Environmental Initiative, we carry forward the tradition of building partnerships to develop collaborative solutions to Minnesota’s environmental problems. Outcomes of Environmental Initiative’s work range from thousands of diesel engines retrofitted with pollution-reducing equipment through Project Green Fleet to the Clean Water Legacy Act that aims to clean up state’s lakes, rivers and streams.
Our founders chose to incorporate the word initiative into our name to reflect their vision that dialogue and collaboration would result in concrete action for a better environment. More than two decades after our founding, Environmental Initiative still represents a nationally unique model for environmental problem solving.
We take your investment in our organization seriously, and we put every dollar to work to build partnerships to solve environmental problems. Our annual reports and financial statements provide you with an overview of our key accomplishments and what your support makes possible.
Copies of Environmental Initiative’s Form 1023 are available upon request.
Contact us for more information.