Non-Ranked Nonprofit Reviews: Local Environment 2011

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Minnesota is known as “the land of 10,000 lakes.” However, of the lakes that have been tested, 30 percent are polluted.
Minnesota is known as “the land of 10,000 lakes.” However, of the lakes that have been tested, 30 percent are polluted.

This is the complete list of all non-ranked nonprofits reviewed by our experts. We do not have enough information at this time to recommend these organizations, but have provided you with the complete expert reviews to learn more.


The type of expert is indicated by one of the following colors:
F
Foundation Professionals
R
Researchers and Faculty
N
Nonprofit Senior Staff
O
Other (consultants, journalists, policy makers)

Click on an organization to see what the experts say about its impact, strengths and areas for improvement.

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Alliance for Metropolitan Stability (6 recommendations) We have worked with the Alliance on issues in our neighborhood. They are great organizers, do thorough work and follow through.
Alliance for Metropolitan Stability
Bronze-small

http://www.metrostability.org/

Evidence of Impact

N
We have worked with the Alliance on issues in our neighborhood. They are great organizers, do thorough work and follow through.
N
This organization engages diverse communities and operates at a high strategic level.
O
They do community engagement and create local sustainability impacts.
N
The Alliance for Metro Stability has worked tirelessly for just and sustainable development in the Twin Cities, including through assisting environmental justice organizing around the Central Corridor Light rail line and several other proposed light rail corridors, by supporting the growth of the HIRE MN coalition as one of its primary partners, and by convening partners during the founding process of ARISE - the Alliance to Re-Industrialize for a Sustainable Economy.
R
The Alliance (or AFORS - a Minneapolis-based non-profit) organizes and oversees an incredible number of initiatives and activities in the Twin Cities. For example, they run an annual Government Sustainability conference and a Neighborhood Sustainability conference. Both bring together hundreds of people from around the Twin Cities to access resources, plan civic action, organize in their community, learn new skills, meet people, etc.
N
AMS grew out of the growing concern in the region about the economic and racial disparities resulting from the disinvestment in Minneapolis and St. Paul. It is very much community-based and grassroots-oriented. AMS established a coalition of community-based, affordable housing, transit, and faith-based organizations that wanted to make certain that the neighborhoods along University Avenue in St. Paul would benefit from the substantial investment in regional transit being made in the Central Corridor. The University Avenue Community Coalition led efforts to include policy language supporting community benefits in St. Paul's Central Corridor Development Strategy and to fight for three additional transit stations on University Avenue to better serve some of the most racially diverse and transit dependent neighborhoods in the region. The effort to secure the additional stations was successful and was recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency with one of its 2010 National Achievement in Environmental Justice Awards.

Organizational Strengths

N
They provide leadership and extremely competent staff.
O
Their strengths include community organizing and engagement, and the knowledge and resources for sustainable initiatives.
N
AMS's focus on grassroots leadership and convening and facilitating existing parties is phenomenal. It is one of the most effective organizations that I have seen at empowering the voice of communities in broader community planning circles and helping bridge the gap between groups that are often at odds.
R
The AFORS manages to accomplish a great deal with a very small budget and few other resources. They provide wonderful volunteer opportunities and internships for students. They are very persistent and because they never give up, they manage to accomplish a great deal.
N
Although it is very grassroots oriented, AMS has built up a considerable amount of policy knowledge that it is using in other transitway corridors in the Twin Cities. AMS hosts a coalition of organizations interested in the transitways and helps share their knowledge and experience through monthly community roundtables.

Areas for Improvement

O
They could work on their general operating expenses and fundraising.
N
I'd like to see more focus by the Alliance on helping communities attract and sustain high-road just and sustainable economic development. Most of the work I have seen has focused around leveraging existing public process to secure positive community-supporting outcomes for public projects, rather than also harnessing the power of community to drive private development in a better direction.
R
Their planning tends to be frenetic and somewhat disorganized.
Center for Energy and Environment (6 recommendations) They are doing the real boots on the ground behavior change stuff.
Center for Energy and Environment

http://www.mncee.org/

Evidence of Impact

N
They are doing the real boots on the ground behavior change stuff.
N
They have consistently influenced energy policy decisions relating to energy efficiency in very positive ways that have helped Minnesota become a leader.
N
Their energy efficiency investment programs have been saving energy like crazy, and in each of the last few years have avoided the need for an average of 13 MW of new power plants each year.
O
We have partnered or contracted with MN Center for Energy and Environment (CEE) on a variety of energy efficiency research and program implementation for decade, and they are seen as a national leader. They have developed strong educational outreach (energy challenge, standard energy efficiency presentations), programs (community energy services, one stop lighting for businesses, energy efficiency loan programs), research (related to specific energy efficiency applications, and program efficiencies), and policy (every year they have a hand at the legislature).
N
They have a great impact on the deployment of energy efficiency programs. They have a great ability to get partnerships with utilities to implement residential energy efficiency audits and retro fits.
N
CEE makes a tremendous impact on energy efficiency in Minnesota - from policy (considerable work on Minnesota's Next Gen Energy Policy legislation in 2007) to implementation (for example, its spawning of a neighborhood energy program that couples workshops with in-home assessment and installation of low-cost tech) to education and awareness (http://www.mnenergychallenge.org/)

Organizational Strengths

N
One cannot enter this topic in Minneapolis without coming upon this organization. They communicate very well.
N
They have well respected leadership and policy staff. They also have a very professional and highly regarded technical staff. They are seen as national and regional leaders in energy efficiency research and program design.
N
They have deep engineering and program development and delivery capability. They are totally focused on their services and increased capacity. They are able to design a good delivery mechanism and able to scale up as needed.
O
Their strengths are longevity, stability, depth of staff on issues, and the ability to work well with energy utilities even when they disagree.
N
They have good engineers, and energy efficiency retrofit finance capabilities.
N
CEE has very strong financials and recruits great staff to run its programs.

Areas for Improvement

N
Their branding isn't so hot. They work with many groups and are just 'background' to many; they could have their own marketing face.
N
They could probably do a better job of making their case to the public regarding the issues they work on and have more of a public face in the community. They tend to operate from the inside more effectively than the outside.
N
The organization was too flat-footed on telling its story and got attacked by a right wing blog, Big Government. They were too unfocused on the public perception side, and kept their light under a bushel basket, allowing opponents of energy efficiency to define them.
O
They have had a tremendous growth in staff related to EECBG funding in last two years, which is always difficult. There are times I would like them to be less pragmatic in dealing with policy and utilities (yet at the same time I also realize this pragmatism is one of their strengths).
N
Their ability to be collaborative with other local NGOs could improve. Their rate of growth may have outpaced their ability to keep everyone working together instead of siloed.
N
While a tremendous organization, at times it seems that CEE doesn't play well with others. They could learn to better draw on the skills and expertise of others to align and leverage successes.
Eureka Recycling (6 recommendations) Eureka Recycling has demonstrated, beginning over 10 years ago, that waste is preventable, not inevitable. They have probably done more to change the broader community expectations about reducing waste and increasing the amount (tonnage) and types of things recycled. They have worked in partnership with cities and other nonprofits to "push the envelope" regarding what is possible, doing the first zero waste event (St. Paul Bike Classic with over 5,000 participants) and the Living Green Expo. Now it is more commonplace to attend zero waste events, thanks to Eureka Recycling figuring out how to do it and training others to do the same.
Eureka Recycling

http://www.eurekarecycling.org/

Evidence of Impact

O
Eureka Recycling has demonstrated, beginning over 10 years ago, that waste is preventable, not inevitable. They have probably done more to change the broader community expectations about reducing waste and increasing the amount (tonnage) and types of things recycled. They have worked in partnership with cities and other nonprofits to "push the envelope" regarding what is possible, doing the first zero waste event (St. Paul Bike Classic with over 5,000 participants) and the Living Green Expo. Now it is more commonplace to attend zero waste events, thanks to Eureka Recycling figuring out how to do it and training others to do the same.
N
They make an impact through new innovative methods for getting people to recycle more things, and they have a good composting program on organics.
N
They have provided a major impact on recycling in the twin cities and St Paul in particular. They have raised the bar from recycling to zero waste for the community and events.
N
Eureka Recycling is truly a zero waste organization that has spurred recycling program in Minnesota - specifically in the Twin Cities Metro area - and that has catalyzed commercial organics waste composting as well as consistently pushed for residential composting.
N
They are moving the twin cities toward zero waste, through hands-on implementation with many cities, research, and advocacy.
O
Eureka Recycling is leading the way to bring about collection of resident organic material for composting. It has long been a leader in environmental education. It started the Twin Cities Freemarket website long before craigslist.org was invented.

Organizational Strengths

O
Their strengths are visionary leadership and community engagement. Susan Hubbard has been envisioning a zero waste society for most of her adult life and has systematically taken steps to bring others along with her in this endeavor. She is a dynamic force that is motivated by what collectively gets accomplished, not by getting recognition for it. In addition, the culture of the organization is defined by its connections and partnerships with communities. I don't know all of the details, but they have begun implementation of a leadership succession plan. A significant challenge to any nonprofit is transition from a founding leader to the next leader. Eureka is taking a very thoughtful approach to this challenge.
N
Their strengths include having products for sale and buying paper products in bulk.
N
Their leadership has been recognized at a national level for their work. They have continued to push the envelope for innovation in the recycling field.
N
Eureka has a fee-for service model that provides a self-sustaining source of revenue for much of its operations and therefore makes it rare among non-profits in terms of financial stability. It also has a strong leadership team that help it stay true to its mission and purpose.
N
They are very good at collaborating and have high morale.
O
Eureka Recycling is well respected in the environmental community because of the strength of its staff and its focus on the true environmental impacts waste and recycling programs. Eureka Recycling forms many partnerships with other non-profits and government agencies because of its long track record of achievement.

Areas for Improvement

O
Eureka Recycling, ideally, should be on stronger financial footing. I think they have talented financial staff, but the organization is strongly impacted by recycling markets over which they have no control.
N
There is so much to do - they will have many opportunities in the future.
N
They could provide more services and education with increased funding. Also, they could do a better job of promoting their organization and brand locally.
N
Eureka has a fascinating model for operations; it would be nice to see more documentation of this model (so that others could replicate it) and more story telling of the on-the-ground impacts.
N
They should continue to cultivate citizen leaders who can help cities and counties change.
O
Eureka Recycling needs to do more to diversify its funding.
Minnesota Waters (6 recommendations) They are creating awareness among the public of how THEY can improve the waters of the state.
Minnesota Waters

http://www.minnesotawaters.org/

Evidence of Impact

O
They are creating awareness among the public of how THEY can improve the waters of the state.
O
Their communications and trainings for lake/streamshore property owners and associations is of excellent quality, and they've worked hard to make it widely available across the state
F
They are able to connect with wide network of river and lake associations throughout the state of Minnesota.
O
They support local involvement of citizens in protecting and enhancing Minnesota's water resources. The have helped lead the charge in getting citizens involved in invasive species management in the state.
O
MN waters is a relatively new organization in the state (formed in 2006). In the 5 years of existence, MN Waters has, as a grassroots organizing non-profit, provided information, support and connections to hundreds of lakes and river groups in the state. This is especially important in this time of tight state budgets when the agencies are not able to keep up with the growing water problems due to increased development and introduction of invasive species.
O
They raise awareness of the need for lake protection and shoreland stewardship.

Organizational Strengths

O
They have strong leadership - Marian Bender has a strategic mind and has helped the organization through a tremendous reorganization. In addition, their staff are tremendous at what they do, and it shows from the responses they get from participants.
O
They have a strong, knowledgeable staff, and quality organization for their annual conference.
F
They have high quality staff and good visibility throughout state.
O
Their strengths include coordination with others and staff leadership.
O
The executive director of MN Waters is an outstanding, leader and activist and expertly manages a small, but effective staff. The staff is decentralized with locations around the state. This decentralized office staff provides a true statewide effectiveness to the organization. The staff regularly provide regional meetings around the state for effective outreach.
O
They have a strong grassroots component,

Areas for Improvement

O
They should develop non-grant revenue streams, and stay away from lobbying - serve as an education organization.
O
They could improve their fundraising efforts, and improve connections to areas outside of the main lakes region in the center of the state.
F
They need sustainable base financing to support more field staff in regional locations.
O
They should build their capacity to sustain interaction with citizens. The organization is thin in staffing (and likely budget), which may impact ability to sustain efforts.
O
Fundraising has been a consistent weakness. The board has continually been aware of this weakness without affecting much improvement. The support by past funders (foundations) for water issues has been diminishing as they change their focus to social issues.
O
They need to coordinate their organization's communications efforts more effectively; to speak with one voice. They also need to broaden support among non-lakeshore owners.
Will Steger Foundation (6 recommendations) The WSF uses personal witness accounts of global warming (global climate change) to educate, raise awareness and encourage civic and personal action. Their work with young people and educators is particularly notable.
Will Steger Foundation
Gold-small

http://www.willstegerfoundation.org/about-us/wsf-blog

Evidence of Impact

R
The WSF uses personal witness accounts of global warming (global climate change) to educate, raise awareness and encourage civic and personal action. Their work with young people and educators is particularly notable.
N
They are engaging a new generation of environmental leaders. I know that many of the folks they have mentored are really making a big difference in college and when they graduate.
R
They engage youth and youth educators to take action on climate policy.
N
This is a wonderful program of youth empowerment and engagement. They led a Midwest Youth to Copenhagen program in 2009. They have an inspiring founder and eye witness story of global warming impacts, told by a true American hero. They have an excellent curriculum and their teacher training program on climate science is a good rebuttal to the climate denial cottage industry that is so effective right now.
R
I have seen Will Steger and his staff speak at a number of civic and K-12 educational events. His foundation's ability to link the human and ecological stories of the Arctic with those of us living at lower latitudes is exceptional. The group has developed educational curricula for the K-12 classrooms and actively works to raise awareness of our collective footprint on this earth and how climate change will make a difference in the lives of many.
N
They have an incredible resource in Will Steger as a witness to global warming around the world and his ability to capture the attention of the media, policy makers, and the public to tell the story and show what he has seen over the years with his explorations.

Organizational Strengths

R
The leadership team of the WSF is organized, professional, extremely competent and effective. They also have a good reputation for being easy to work with. Will Steger himself is inspirational. His dedication is impressive.
N
They have an excellent rapport with high school, college-aged, and recently graduated youth active in the climate movement. Examples include their work on www.yeamn.org and Power Shift in DC.
R
The organization's largest asset is Will Steger and his name recognition for bringing together key decision makers and youth educators to make a positive impact. They also have excellent communications and tools for teachers and youth activists.
N
They are very productive, very small and high leverage. They make stuff happen with a modest budget, and could have more impact with more consistent funding.
R
They have strengths in education, inspiration and empowerment. They are continuing to provide resources and challenge us to be knowledgeable and responsible world citizens.
N
They have an incredible staff with a strong Executive Director that works tirelessly to keep this small nonprofit alive. They also provide incredible training and curriculum to teachers to help them teach our children about these important issues.

Areas for Improvement

R
I would like to see them make greater efforts toward encouraging, training, and facilitating civic action. I also would like them to do more evaluation of their summer institute program for educators.
N
They should continue to build diversified funding.
R
I would like to see the organization add a public affairs or a public policy director to develop public policy strategy and make better use of organizational resources and assets.
N
Their funding base is quite fickle, and the list of top gifts is not constant over time--this year a partnership with EPA, and next year a corporate supporter. I m concerned about whether it can grow if it is always in scramble mode.
R
I'd love to see them move to empower more community action. This is always difficult when climate issues are juxtaposed with economic issues; however, they continue to move forward.
N
They could establish a more solid base of funding, perhaps an endowment to continue their work through the thinner times.
Audubon Minnesota (5 recommendations) They do extensive work and research on bird conservation in the state, including such projects as the Minnesota Breeding Bird Atlas, the BirdSafe program, and development of the Mississippi-Twin Cities Bird Monitoring program.
Audubon Minnesota
Silver-small

http://mn.audubon.org/

Evidence of Impact

R
They do extensive work and research on bird conservation in the state, including such projects as the Minnesota Breeding Bird Atlas, the BirdSafe program, and development of the Mississippi-Twin Cities Bird Monitoring program.
O
They support conservation of birds and other wildlife.
O
Minnesota Audubon is an independent statewide entity that is affiliated with the National Audubon Society. They have tangible results relative to improving bird conservation and protection in Minnesota.
O
They protect habitat and natural resources by engaging citizens, state agencies and lawmakers.
O
Audubon's Mississippi River program led efforts to bring divergent points of view together at one table to concentrate on a shared future for the Mississippi River. The impacts on policy have been great, particularly with the Corps of Engineers.

Organizational Strengths

R
The strengths include good scientific leadership and having a large citizen membership.
O
They have good leadership and a professional approach; they are non-confrontational.
O
They have excellent staff.
O
Audubon's former staff (now retired) was maybe the most respected man in the world of Mississippi River planning. With his retirement, there are still people doing great work in on-the-ground preservation and ecological restoration.

Areas for Improvement

R
They could use help in securing more funding for collaborative research projects.
O
The organization could broaden its support in the environmental community.
O
They could use more focus on advocacy, although recent moves in this direction at the MN legislature have been in the right direction.
O
Continuity is sometimes a problem, as the Mississippi and more particular strategies to enhance ecological restoration seem to fluctuate in terms of priority. They are less visible than they were formerly, both within the organization and as a partner in river planning and preservation.
Clean Energy Resource Teams (5 recommendations) The Clean Energy Resource Teams have done unparalleled work supporting and empowering a broad grassroots base of citizens groups to implement community energy solutions across the state. Their work is central to making Minnesota a national leader in community-based energy and in driving public participation in the otherwise exclusive energy sector.
Clean Energy Resource Teams

http://www.cleanenergyresourceteams.org/

Evidence of Impact

N
The Clean Energy Resource Teams have done unparalleled work supporting and empowering a broad grassroots base of citizens groups to implement community energy solutions across the state. Their work is central to making Minnesota a national leader in community-based energy and in driving public participation in the otherwise exclusive energy sector.
N
CERTS is a long term public-private partnership. It has been very successful at providing assistance to businesses, schools, and local governments as they look for appropriate and cost-effective energy conservation and efficiency options. They have played a lead role in identifying how to measure and reward progress and success of energy-related program and policy efforts at the city level. They have also proven many times to be a reliable and competent partner for cities to use in an area where public expectations are high and their expertise is badly needed. They are especially important in Greater Minnesota and for smaller clients who may not have the same level of internal expertise as larger businesses, schools and cities might have.
N
I think CERTS is an innovation that deserves to spread across the country. It's based on the idea that local people in each region of the state, representing many walks of life, can become engines for transforming our energy system to one that is more resilient and sustainable, one project at a time. In communities large and small across Minnesota, CERTS has fostered and funded projects that improve energy efficiency, increase the amount of energy needs met from solar power and work in a non-partisan way to democratize the production of clean energy.
O
CERTs have a strong presence at the local community level across the state - six regional offices and the metro region (their metro representative is the Green Institute.) They have a strong focus on clean energy and other sustainability issues. This is an action-oriented organization which can measure the results of impacts occurring in schools, communities, and local government organizations.
N
This organization reaches all areas of the state. It works directly with individuals to create impact in their community.

Organizational Strengths

N
CERTs excels because it focuses on empowering local leadership and acting as a support system and clearinghouse, rather than seeking to direct or control their efforts. CERTs is one of the few organizations that I feel has stuck to the role of the facilitator well, while helping dozens upon dozens of community groups get their energy efficiency and clean energy projects off the ground.
N
CERTS has been an excellent cooperator in providing education to local governments, schools, and businesses through workshops and forums of other organizations. Their efforts also carry over as communities move forward on their own once they learn how to best target their energy efforts and what resources are available for them. Their work is also extremely duplicable, so their work can easily be spread statewide.
N
CERTS has a wonderfully distributed organizational model in which the local CERT teams are empowered to act independently even while they coordinate with their sister teams across the state. They have strong leadership and a very smart and dedicated staff.
O
There is excellent leadership that coordinates activities of regional and metropolitan offices, as well as highly experienced staff. They combine technical skills with outreach and communication (internet and social marketing), so that they are able to reach both young and mature audiences. They are a very dedicated, enthusiastic team who is able to deliver resources very cost-effectively.
N
They have strong leadership and staff, and high visibility in the state.

Areas for Improvement

N
I think CERTs could deepen the strength of its decentralized strategy even further by encouraging local groups to develop more initiatives that can be actively shared and replicated by other groups. I.e., help the local groups take more of a lead in replicating good ideas and spreading effective models.
N
This group needs to identify a broader long-term funding plan. They are currently forced into a legislative funding debate for most of their financial support, where they could easily be set aside for other options since they do not have a natural constituency that demands they continue to be supported above other government priorities.
N
CERTS has traditionally stayed away from policy, which is both a strength and a potential weakness. The projects they undertake are important, but I think CERTS may want to ask itself how they can more quickly "bring to scale" the successful technologies they help deploy. Perhaps this wouldn't necessarily mean that they have to become policy advocates (or if they did, they could do that in a way that was truly bipartisan or multi-partisan). Another option would be to form stronger alliances with business and trade associations. The bottom line is to find new creative ways to do what they do at scale.
O
This non-profit does not have a stable, long term funding source, but has been dependent upon financing from the Minnesota legislature, public grants, and private foundation funding. A stable source of core funding would enable stronger long term certainty.
N
They could use more resources to expand their small staff and have higher impact. They could expand programs in all areas where they work.
Clean Water Action (5 recommendations) Clean Water Action approaches water issues from a public health standpoint. They communicate the issues in a way that makes water pollution relevant to everyone. Everyone drinks water- so CWA gets their attention.
Clean Water Action
Silver-small

http://www.cleanwateraction.org/

Evidence of Impact

R
Clean Water Action approaches water issues from a public health standpoint. They communicate the issues in a way that makes water pollution relevant to everyone. Everyone drinks water- so CWA gets their attention.
O
They make an impact through policy and grassroots leadership on clean water issues. Their grassroots reach cannot be overstated, and this is a very important component to have, as so many other nonprofits work on policy but often don't have the huge membership to point to.
N
They are excellent at engaging citizens with their elected officials and advocating for good environmental policy at the capitol.
N
They work on energy and environment politics consistently and strongly, evaluating and supporting elected officials. They set the stage for the rest of us to dialog and have high expectations of elected officials to do what is good for the environment.
N
They are the most strategic environmental organization that works on electoral politics to get solid environmental candidates elected to office.

Organizational Strengths

R
CWA has a good record of collaborating with other organizations rather than competing with them. Their reports and fact sheets are very well done. They do not seem to have a partisan reputation or to be viewed as a "crazy environmental organization," even though their work is quite progressive on ecological issues.
O
Their staff are extremely knowledgeable, long-time activists on the issues and are very hard workers. They are thoughtful about crafting solutions to the tough problems and figuring out where compromise can be made.
N
They have a wide membership base across the state.
N
They are consistently present with good information and good outreach.
N
They have a very strong executive director.

Areas for Improvement

R
I would like to see them push harder to connect issues such as climate change to problems that directly affect individuals and personal health.
O
Marketing is one area for improvement. Clean Water Action could be in the public eye much more, whether it's inserting themselves into the conversation about nuclear power and water contamination, or even the spring flooding (e.g. are there pollution impacts? Does the current make-up of our water do more damage to health because of flood risk?) In other words, it could take advantage of current events to insert its voice into the conversation.
N
They need to diversify their funding base.
Envision Minnesota (5 recommendations) It is my professional opinion that ongoing sprawl (urban, suburban, and rural) and short-sighted land use decisions pose the greatest risk to Minnesota's environment, now and into the future. 1000 FoM's work seeks to address this issue and, although they are officially a state-wide membership-based organization, their efforts (e.g., Community Growth Options) have targeted communities experiencing high growth pressure with education, resources, and technical assistance. 1000 FoM also understands that local units of government, who ultimately make many of the land use decisions that can be detrimental to our natural resources, are strapped for resources (financial and staff). Their technical assistance to communities (the Technical Resource Center) is an effective way to address that problem close to the root. This work on "getting ahead of the problem" with such a targeted approach is how we need to address our environmental issues in the state.
Envision Minnesota
Silver-small

Evidence of Impact

O
It is my professional opinion that ongoing sprawl (urban, suburban, and rural) and short-sighted land use decisions pose the greatest risk to Minnesota's environment, now and into the future. 1000 FoM's work seeks to address this issue and, although they are officially a state-wide membership-based organization, their efforts (e.g., Community Growth Options) have targeted communities experiencing high growth pressure with education, resources, and technical assistance. 1000 FoM also understands that local units of government, who ultimately make many of the land use decisions that can be detrimental to our natural resources, are strapped for resources (financial and staff). Their technical assistance to communities (the Technical Resource Center) is an effective way to address that problem close to the root. This work on "getting ahead of the problem" with such a targeted approach is how we need to address our environmental issues in the state.
R
They played a lead role on advocacy that led to legislation passed in 2010 on Building Sensible Communities. They also played a lead role in working with other Minnesota groups to identify policy options for a range of areas as they affect livability and the environment. This resulted in a document, produced by 1000 Friends, that has been used as a reference by MN state agencies.
N
1000 Friends has acquired substantial policy knowledge relating to smart growth tools and their application at the state and national levels. They used this knowledge to put the issues relating to land use and transportation in front of the candidates for governor in last fall's election and, following the election, to craft a playbook for the new governor setting out a number of smart growth solutions that could be immediately applied in Minnesota.
O
They have been very good at helping to lead communities in environmental strategic planning. They led the Conservation design toolkit development.
N
They do effective advocacy on transit and land use issues.

Organizational Strengths

O
1000 FoM has effective marketing that appears to reach a wide audience (e.g., its "Legacy Letters" programming on TPT; its "New Metropolis MN" discussions and partnerships with TPT; its Randall Arendt events). In addition, 1000 FoM staff are enthusiastic, well-qualified, personable, and effective--a great asset to the organization.
R
Their strengths include smart people and political savvy.
N
1000 Friends has well-established relationships with its sister Friends organizations and national organizations and can call on their expertise to deal with issues as they arise in Minnesota.
O
They have strong community involvement.
N
They have a strong background and understanding on issues, and strong relationships with key decision-makers.

Areas for Improvement

O
I'd like to see 1000 FoM do a bit more outreach to expand their working partnerships. Also, 1000 FoM's Board of Directors could improve its gender and racial diversity.
Great River Greening (5 recommendations) This organization has great community support, strong technical skills, is good at organizing people in teams, does actual projects in communities, and engages the community in the project. They select noteworthy projects, and they make the project fun. They are not overly activist, but they support the right solutions.
Great River Greening
Bronze-small

http://www.greatrivergreening.org/

Evidence of Impact

O
This organization has great community support, strong technical skills, is good at organizing people in teams, does actual projects in communities, and engages the community in the project. They select noteworthy projects, and they make the project fun. They are not overly activist, but they support the right solutions.
O
Their community engagement in clean-up activities provides education and outreach in addition to the clean-up results.
F
The work of reforestation on the Mississippi is commendable and important.
O
I am a member and have seen projects in the community. GRG has raised public awareness.
N
This organization does an excellent job in engaging citizens in real on the ground and visible projects (such as planting trees) that connect people with the environment. On top of this, they have extremely intelligent staff that work as collaborators and who can bring a wide range of partners to the table.

Organizational Strengths

O
I like the events. They have a strong board of well-known people. They have a very good website.
F
They have an exceptionally strong staff and a remarkable volunteer base.
O
They have a strong staff and commitment to working with partners.
N
Wayne Ostlie is a tremendous asset to the state, and he is doing a great job with GRG. He is supported by Deb Karasov, who is an excellent operations manager and fundraiser. They have reached out to rural organizations in a respectful and collaborative manner.

Areas for Improvement

O
Their annual event is not as well attended as it could be. I recommend two events per year, spaced out so that seasonal people can attend.
O
They could use more support to continue their good work.
N
They need to continue to reach out and include more farmers, more rural people and organizations in their work.
Parks & Trails Council of Minnesota (5 recommendations) They have been successful at securing a great deal of park and trail lands into protected public ownership in Minnesota, including some of our most treasured state parks today.
Parks & Trails Council of Minnesota
Bronze-small

http://www.parksandtrails.org/

Evidence of Impact

N
They have been successful at securing a great deal of park and trail lands into protected public ownership in Minnesota, including some of our most treasured state parks today.
O
Parks & Trails Council has the ability to purchase critical habitat when state agencies are unable due to bidding restrictions. They promote the use of our parks and trails statewide.
N
They have been extremely effective in advocating for state parks and trails in Minnesota and have made many valuable contributions in terms of land assets.
O
They created a strong advocacy identity, leading to investments in our park and trail resources.
R
The organization is focused with a long-term mission of securing permanent park lands and trails. They are good at persistently pursuing their goals, which may take decades to achieve.

Organizational Strengths

N
They have a lean staff, engaged and active board, effective lobbying, and engaged membership.
O
They have excellent leadership and flexibility.
N
They have a full-time legislative presence at the Minnesota state legislature. For decades they had one individual who was extremely effective in this regard. They have also had strong leadership in their staff and on their board.
O
They have a focused mission.
R
Their legislative work and membership base are strong.

Areas for Improvement

N
They could use better funding and more experienced leadership.
O
They could reach out to other groups to form new partnerships.
O
The board function is poor and has lead to distrust. The old guard needs to recognize that parks and trails built around baby boomers will lead to parks that have less value to the future generations of users and constituents.
R
They may need to focus on supporting existing programming in the state parks as well as acquiring new land (or access for both land and water trails).
Belwin Conservancy (4 recommendations) This organization is protecting critical land in the St. Croix River watershed, ensuring better water quality, and natural areas that enhance quality of life. Also, they operate an important program of bringing school kids in for environmental education. They are innovative; for example they have a program to bring bison onto the land each summer to graze to help naturally manage the prairie.
Belwin Conservancy
Bronze-small

http://www.belwin.org/

Evidence of Impact

N
This organization is protecting critical land in the St. Croix River watershed, ensuring better water quality, and natural areas that enhance quality of life. Also, they operate an important program of bringing school kids in for environmental education. They are innovative; for example they have a program to bring bison onto the land each summer to graze to help naturally manage the prairie.
O
Belwin has completed dramatic land restoration activities along Valley Creek in Afton and is working successfully with private landowners in the area to protect the stream and its watershed.
F
They have wonderful educational programs, especially birding and the buffalo.
N
Belwin Conservancy operates a significant parcel of land that has been the main source of environmental education for St. Paul students. The Belwin Conservancy funds the teachers, needed facility and any other needs except the bus service. The 1,400 acres of diverse habitat within 30 minutes of downtown offers a rare look at native habitat, its wildlife and how to make maple syrup, keep bees, count birds and test water quality.

Organizational Strengths

N
This is a well-financed non-profit, with a solid leader, fiscally prudent and creative.
O
They have a very strong strategic plan and do a good job of evaluating the activities needed to protect the stream (whether restoration, land acquisition, or other).
F
They have solid private funding, and they know their mission and stick to it.
N
Belwin Conservancy has moved into non-traditional areas to teach about natural resources. It opened soccer and baseball fields next to nature trails and prairies with bison. The refreshment center was environmentally friendly with recyclables and a water-saving toilet. A new partnership with the Minnesota Astrological Society has given this group a place to watch stars with an agreement to teach children. A new Art and Nature Center is also being explored as a location for resident artists to work with nature in all of the art forms.

Areas for Improvement

O
It would be nice if the main center were open to the public, especially for people living in the local communities.
N
Belwin has moved from a family owned and operated organization to a public nonprofit that has both sides testing their boundaries. The family is a noteworthy supporter, thus other support is difficult.
Center for Earth, Energy and Democracy (4 recommendations) IATP's work on Healthy Legacy has been a tremendous source of information about our focus at the Blue Cross Blue Shield on social determinants of health. Dr. David Wallinga's body of work of general information about green chemistry educates people about the safe plastics and other environmental toxins that can cause cancer and other neurological toxins. About 20 grantees have benefitted from the information. IATP is a current grantee that we also use as a technical assistance provider as grantees shape their work to inform their respective communities across the state.
Center for Earth, Energy and Democracy
Silver-small

http://www.iatp.org/CEED/

Evidence of Impact

F
IATP's work on Healthy Legacy has been a tremendous source of information about our focus at the Blue Cross Blue Shield on social determinants of health. Dr. David Wallinga's body of work of general information about green chemistry educates people about the safe plastics and other environmental toxins that can cause cancer and other neurological toxins. About 20 grantees have benefitted from the information. IATP is a current grantee that we also use as a technical assistance provider as grantees shape their work to inform their respective communities across the state.
N
IATP has a broad base of expertise in its sustainable agriculture staff, who work to foster the use of advanced bioenergy in sustainable practices.
N
IATP has made significant impact in the area of policy development around water quality, renewable energy and climate change issues at both a state and federal level. They also are engaged at an international level. They are able to bring the big picture to the discussion because they are so engaged at all these levels and it helps provide consistency in policy.
R
It is incredibly important that MN have a voice on global issues, where we have real expertise. Agriculture is one of those areas and IATP has historically been able to beautifully span local to global agricultural issues.

Organizational Strengths

F
IATP has excellent leadership in the field of green chemistry and environmental toxins. Dr. Wallinga is well know across the country (and even internationally) and the materials on their website are very informative and readable.
N
They have strong staff and connections to the agriculture community.
N
The staff have a strong understanding/perspective of sustainability and its importance to the long term visions of these efforts. They are very well connected with both the political and non-political players.
R
They are willing to lead the agricultural community into areas typically not commercial-agriculture friendly (organics, fair-trade, green chemistry) in ways that lends real credibility to both agricultural business and scientific considerations toward global supply.

Areas for Improvement

F
In order to reach more people with the key messages, perhaps a public relations/communications effort can bring the great information to the masses, particularly parents with the youngest kids and teens at risk of pregnancy or early parenting challenges.
N
A greater opportunity exists for IATP to work in the clean energy arena. This could be accomplished with more funding.
N
They could add more staff in these topic areas, and increase the transferability of their knowledge to area groups.
R
It may be trying to tackle too many things. I would also caution against being a distributor of information versus a creator of understanding and change.
Conservation Corps Minnesota (4 recommendations) This organization develops strong leadership skills in youth, with a conservation and service mission.
Conservation Corps Minnesota
Silver-small

http://www.conservationcorps.org/

Evidence of Impact

O
This organization develops strong leadership skills in youth, with a conservation and service mission.
O
They make an impact through the completion of conservation projects. They also do strong youth development and job readiness for underserved youth. Youth serve the community and learn how to be environmental stewards.
O
They are a very lean organization that cost-effectively assists in getting conservation on the ground. They also enable youth to engage in water quality/conservation efforts, which helps prepare the future workforce in conservation.
F
The organization effectively uses youth to complete needed environmental projects around the state, giving youth a chance to learn more about key environmental issues while enabling local projects to have the "manpower" to get a variety of projects completed.

Organizational Strengths

O
They have outstanding leadership and strong operational management.
O
They have high quality staff, and they are also strong at collaboration between public and private partners, completion of projects, and well written grant proposals with clearly defined programs and outcomes.
O
They have strong leadership in their organization and are very passionate about their mission. They do a good job of marketing their services with their clientele and have developed a good rapport over time. The focus on youth is a very positive thing and is a good mechanism for young people to learn more about conservation and if they want to pursue a future career in this area.
F
They have great staff and the ability to work with a variety of local organizations and communities to get needs met.

Areas for Improvement

O
They could continue to diversify finances and continue to improve outreach marketing to schools.
O
They could serve more youth and young people.
O
Their crews are not all the same and sometimes don't have the same level of expertise, so sometimes crews haven't matched well with some projects.
F
A lot of people have heard about the organization, but not as many really understand what they do - so furthering their community education about the organization would be helpful.
Recycling Association of Minnesota (4 recommendations) They are the premiere advocate on recycling development in the state of Minnesota. They reach out to other areas including reuse, composting, conservation, and much more.
Recycling Association of Minnesota

http://www.recycleminnesota.org/

Evidence of Impact

O
They are the premiere advocate on recycling development in the state of Minnesota. They reach out to other areas including reuse, composting, conservation, and much more.
O
They have increased recycling in MN by engaging the state's citizens, businesses, local governments, non-profits and institutions.
O
RAM is a highly regarded Statewide professional association advocating for resource/energy conservation through the promotion of waste reduction, recycling, composting, market development, environmentally preferable purchasing, technical assistance, educational resources, forums, seminars and an annual conference.
O
RAM brings much needed attention to recycling issues through its partnership with WCCO-TV. It also runs the successful Recycle Your Holidays program to collected unwanted holiday lights and the Message in a Bottle program that collects beverage containers at convenience stores.

Organizational Strengths

O
RAM has an extensive following amongst private and public professionals. It is a great union that brings everyone together in the name of recycling, waste reduction, conservation, composting, and reuse. RAM has a handful of high profile environmental "pet" programs that help spread the message of recycling such as the Message in a Bottle (convenience stores/parks/etc) recycling on the go containers, Recycle Your Holidays (holiday/Christmas light/extension cord recycling) and other programs.
O
They provide innovative recycling solutions and engage the public in creative and empowering ways.
O
This organization is viewed as a leader in recycling not only here in Minnesota but by professional peers across the country. RAM is very effective at outreach, education, environmental advocacy, and developing partnerships between government, business and nonprofit organizations.
O
RAM staff is empowered to create new recycling opportunities, especially for materials not currently recycled on a large scale. In addition, RAM routinely reaches out to all portions of the state to provide programs and information.

Areas for Improvement

O
They could improve by getting their programs out to all areas of Minnesota, even very remote areas that are often forgotten. These include those counties that make up what is known as the "L" counties, and those bordering the Dakotas and Iowa.
O
They could improve their focus on state policy development and advancing recycling of large quantity materials.
O
RAM's current web site has outlived its useful life. The Board has approved a comprehensive website overhaul which is in an initial phase. RAM's stakeholders here in MN continue to face difficult financial challenges in continuing to support and expand programs that divert valuable resources from landfilling. RAM offers a annual recycling bin grant program to its members but is limited in the resources it can offer to offset costs associated with the implementation and support of recycling programs throughout the State.
O
RAM should engage more with lawmakers on policies/laws that could improve the recycling climate. In addition, RAM must stay focused so that it doesn't expand too far too fast.
Wilderness Inquiry (4 recommendations) WI makes an impact by engaging thousands of inner city youth in its "Urban Waters Canoe Area" program. If today's youth do not care about the outdoors, Minnesota's natural environment will not be protected long term.
Wilderness Inquiry
Silver-small

http://www.wildernessinquiry.org/

Evidence of Impact

N
WI makes an impact by engaging thousands of inner city youth in its "Urban Waters Canoe Area" program. If today's youth do not care about the outdoors, Minnesota's natural environment will not be protected long term.
O
WI understands that creating effective future stewards of our environment requires exposing people of all walks of life to powerful outdoor experiences. In addition, their focus on working with groups/individuals who may typically not be involved in outdoor activities means that they are preparing diverse groups of young people for environmental careers better than many other groups. We know that our future population will be increasingly diverse; WI's work with diverse and urban youth (e.g., through the Urban Wilderness Canoe Adventures program) is helping to build an environmental ethic into young people who are, unfortunately, often overlooked by other environmental groups.
O
They were influential in banning motors from Voyageurs and BWCA. They expose thousands of inner city youth to the environment, and provide a low cost, safe option for all people to have different types of experiences in the wild. They provide opportunities for all sorts of people (income, health, age, ethnicity) to interact and work together in the environment. They allow people to experience the environment in a very wholesome, unstructured way - helping them realize it doesn't take a lot of money to enjoy.
R
They have done pioneering work in bringing people with disabilities into wilderness settings.

Organizational Strengths

N
Their leadership and other staff are very good at engaging people.
O
The leadership of WI is terrific--enthusiastic, inclusive, respectful, and well-connected. WI's Executive Director sets a high standard for all WI employees. Whereas some organizations have difficulty with "mission creep," WI does a great job of working in support of its mission.
O
They have a stable leadership and staff, sound systems in organizing trips, emphasis on safety, staff training on subtle types of leadership, and emphasis on people to the best of their ability enjoying the environment in a team manner.
R
Their strengths include leadership, innovation, and a unique mission.

Areas for Improvement

O
I think it would be great if WI increased its scholarship opportunities for urban youth, who are unlikely to be able to afford WI experiences. I think they could also improve outreach to mixed income urban families by conducting more outreach with neighborhood/community groups, church groups, etc.
O
They could do a lot more outreach to the public on their programming - especially opportunities within Minnesota. I am not sure if they have a leadership transition plan in place as Greg Lais, the Executive Director, gets older.
R
They could be better known and reach a larger percentage of people with disabilities in the region.
Wind On The Wires (4 recommendations) WOW has become a highly effective advocate for electricity transmission to serve wind electricity generation. It provides engineering expertise and strong interest advocacy on behalf of the wind industry and the public interest in many forums - public utility commissions in the Midwest, the Midwest Independent System Operator, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. It has been remarkably effective as well in legislative arenas. WOW was instrumental, is collaboration with many other groups, in successfully pushing for cost allocation rules that encourage further wind energy development in 2011, as well as in successfully pushing MISO to work on plans to integrate more wind energy in the Midwest transmission grid. The are many other examples.
Wind On The Wires

http://windonthewires.org/

Evidence of Impact

N
WOW has become a highly effective advocate for electricity transmission to serve wind electricity generation. It provides engineering expertise and strong interest advocacy on behalf of the wind industry and the public interest in many forums - public utility commissions in the Midwest, the Midwest Independent System Operator, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. It has been remarkably effective as well in legislative arenas. WOW was instrumental, is collaboration with many other groups, in successfully pushing for cost allocation rules that encourage further wind energy development in 2011, as well as in successfully pushing MISO to work on plans to integrate more wind energy in the Midwest transmission grid. The are many other examples.
O
They make an impact on policy implementation.
N
They are a central figure in getting favorable rules in recent FERC decision. Beth Soholt and Policy Managers Josh Gackle and Sean Brady do a great job of keeping a number of wind energy businesses behind a single policy. They keep the cats well-herded.
O
They worked with others to push for CapX2020 lines to be built (the first phases started recently). They also work with MISO on regulations and uses expertise to ensure as much wind power as possible is efficiently integrated onto the grid.

Organizational Strengths

N
WOW's leadership is stellar. Its executive director is an energetic engineer/lawyer with a passion for advocacy. Its staff is also excellent, knowledgeable, and engaged. Its membership is strong.
O
Leadership is a strength.
N
Beth Soholt provides excellent leadership. Jamie Karnik does a great job of communicating to interested parties and sending out timely updates.
O
Their subject matter is a strength: Clean energy is sexy, but the regulations needed to make it happen are not. Minnesota needs a technical organization like WOW to make sure the big talk about more renewables actually happens - thoughtfully and quickly. There is a massive amount of infrastructure changes that have to happen for this to occur, and WOW is the nonprofit at the forefront of this.

Areas for Improvement

O
They could improve their work with other nonprofits.
N
They need to staff-up to stay on top of policy developments across a pretty big region.
O
They could improve their marketing: I only see their name in connection with very technical issues, which I realize is their forte. However, getting more media attention or better positioning themselves in the public eye around more general issues will help raise their visibility and clout.
Women's Environmental Institute (4 recommendations) ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE FOR IMMIGRANTS, REFUGEES AND COMMUNITIES OF COLOR.
Women's Environmental Institute

http://www.w-e-i.org/

Evidence of Impact

O
ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE FOR IMMIGRANTS, REFUGEES AND COMMUNITIES OF COLOR.
N
This organization is bringing women more significantly into environmental action. They provide strong leadership on issues affecting underserved communities.
N
They make an impact through work they are doing on environmental justice issues in the Phillips neighborhood, and their Growing Power project with Little Earth of United Tribes.
F
WEI addresses industrial pollutants in soil and water. Its principal investigator was a whistle blower about 3M's pollution. Blue Cross MN Foundation is funding a project to work with urban farming in the Latino and Hmong communities to help educate them about the toxins in the soil and water. Their work is helping small family farmers learn more about environmental toxins that are harmful to their health. WEI also partners with the Little Earth Residential Association, an urban Indian low-income housing complex, to establish a community garden. This part of the Minneapolis Phillips neighborhood has high industrial pollution challenges.

Organizational Strengths

O
They do strong community outreach and engagement, and have strong leadership in policy changes.
N
Their strengths include operating the farm and a wide range of participants.
F
Karen Clark's leadership is critical to the visibility of the project. Also, key leaders in the Hmong and Latino communities are engaged in the project, which helps build the capacity in communities of color.

Areas for Improvement

O
They could improve their financial resources and fundraising, as well as their board recruitment and leadership training.
N
Their executive director is very scattered: needs more focus, and has timing problems.
F
The bilingual staff can try to do wider outreach by using Hmong and Latino TV and radio programs to talk about health and environmental factors.
Dovetail Partners Inc (3 recommendations) They are very high end thinkers who avoid herd mentality and seek deep, long-term solutions.
Dovetail Partners Inc
Silver-small

http://www.dovetailinc.org/

Evidence of Impact

O
They are very high end thinkers who avoid herd mentality and seek deep, long-term solutions.
O
Dovetail plays a key role in bringing new environmental insight to a number of key issues including building materials, biomass usage, land use, certification and defining the legitimacy of the "green" designation using various methods including life cycle analysis. It is highly regarded as an independent source of high quality information which is utilized to help improve environmental quality, and is a change agent by utilizing strong organizational skills.
O
They have international reach in the forestry arena and are instrumental in pushing education and initiatives that push forward sustainable forestry in the broader sense. Their projects have moved forest certification forward. Also, they do innovative projects that protect the forests in simple and practical ways for recreation, e.g. facilitating the discussion in Minnesota to create a sustainable SUV trail which protects the land and educates users. This project has become a model throughout the region.

Organizational Strengths

O
They produce very thoughtful, incisive policy papers.
O
Dovetail has extremely strong organizational skills through its staff leadership and board which includes high level organizational consulting expertise and extremely strong relational and high value, creative skill sets. They have attracted nationally recognized staff and partners.
O
The leadership and staff come mainly from university faculty with deep knowledge and practical wisdom in the area of forests as a critical ecosystem.

Areas for Improvement

O
Dovetail could build in a more robust succession planning effort and could deepen expertise in certain technical areas.
O
Funding from foundations needs to be expanded. In addition, they need to develop a passionate grassroots base to help fund programs and raise awareness.
Environment Minnesota (3 recommendations) They do successful and significant public outreach and grassroots engagement efforts. Specifically, they hold a monthly gathering with speakers on a variety of energy and environmental issues in the state.
Environment Minnesota

http://www.environmentminnesota.org/

Evidence of Impact

R
They do successful and significant public outreach and grassroots engagement efforts. Specifically, they hold a monthly gathering with speakers on a variety of energy and environmental issues in the state.
N
With a very, very limited staff, Environment Minnesota does a great job organizing on clean energy issues - in particular, developing a broad based coalition to expand solar energy in the state. Their work bringing together the environmental community with labor and the business sector has been laudable.
N
This group has stepped up in the past couple of years to being community leaders. They have helped to build and manage coalitions, developed good policy and continued good work on canvassing and citizen engagement - they really do a bit of everything, and have the staff to do it well.

Organizational Strengths

R
The leadership and staff are very effective at making and keeping relationships with other NGOs and businesses in the area. I also think they have a strength in being part of a larger national umbrella organization, which allows them to tap into other resources.
N
Environment Minnesota's focus on public education is quite good. Their recent and ongoing breakfast talks - Green Ideas and Ham - are quite nice to bring environmental issues to both citizens and activists. They do really nice community building and outreach through their frequent presentations to community groups (e.g. churches and social organizations).
N
They have a great staff that can manage multiple issues and activities very well.

Areas for Improvement

R
They could benefit from additional staff, and improved coordination of activities with what other groups are doing.
N
They could use some additional staff to have greater impacts, and they could use more analytical capacity (either internal or funding for external help) to conduct and disseminate more Minnesota-specific research.
N
There have been some communications gaps in working with other organizations, which is improving. I would also say that because their name and organizational structure has changed so much over the past couple of years, a lot of people don't know who they are - branding is a problem.
Institute for Local Self Reliance (3 recommendations) The Institute for Local Self Reliance (ILSR) does some of the best research in the country. I rely on them heavily for the facts, related especially to energy information.
Institute for Local Self Reliance

http://www.ilsr.org/

Evidence of Impact

N
The Institute for Local Self Reliance (ILSR) does some of the best research in the country. I rely on them heavily for the facts, related especially to energy information.
N
ILSR does both tremendous policy work (for example, helping push PACE legislation in Minnesota) and research looking at local financing models and opportunities in the renewable energy arena. For example, see their blog at http://energyselfreliantstates.org/.
R
They are a great resource for research and policy information on energy issues, particularly distributed generation. They publish numerous reports that are used by a variety of other groups to support their work.

Organizational Strengths

N
ILSR has some incredible staff, including John Bailey and John Farrell. They are a great source of the right info. They also seem to have strong financial structure.
N
ILSR has a strong leader - David Morris - but also has a tremendous track record of attracting exceptionally smart, savvy and dedicated staff.
R
The staff are very knowledgeable and capable, as well as passionate.

Areas for Improvement

N
They could work with other organizations to get their information out into the public more.
N
Probably the thing that would most help ILSR is having their research and work more widely read in communities around Minnesota so that as many folks as possible were accessing their resources.
R
They could participate more in the work that results from their publications.
Minnesota Environmental Fund (3 recommendations) They help focus on collaborative funding and have the impact of maximizing the value of environmental efficiency and prudent fiscal decisions.
Minnesota Environmental Fund

http://www.mnenvirofund.org/index.php

Evidence of Impact

O
They help focus on collaborative funding and have the impact of maximizing the value of environmental efficiency and prudent fiscal decisions.
N
MEF provides a vital source of support to more than 20 environmental nonprofits in the state, by organizing a payroll giving option for Minnesota employers. Their important work is keeping many of these member nonprofits afloat by providing a consistent, reliable source of funding, and providing another venue through which those nonprofits can share their mission and work for Minnesota's environment.

Organizational Strengths

N
They have good staff leadership
O
They have tremendous staff leadership; their operations are a model for efficiency and use of staff.
N
MEF is highly accountable in both its governance and finances, and responsibly uses donor funds to maximize its support for environmental work in Minnesota. The staff show dedication to the work and are very personable.

Areas for Improvement

N
They are currently re-doing their board and committee structure
O
They could have higher visibility inside and outside the environmental community.
N
MEF already recognized a need to restructure their board to improve effectiveness and they are taking that action this year, an action that I believe was necessary and is being done in a fair and accountable manner. MEF could also improve on messaging — as the workplace giving federation for the environment in Minnesota, MEF should be a household name in Minnesota businesses, so that more Minnesotans have the opportunity to donate to the environment through payroll deductions at their place of employment.
St Louis River Alliance (3 recommendations) The St. Louis River Alliance made an impact through development of a habitat plan and subsequent implementation of that plan in the St. Louis River Estuary.
St Louis River Alliance

http://www.stlouisriver.org/

Evidence of Impact

O
The St. Louis River Alliance made an impact through development of a habitat plan and subsequent implementation of that plan in the St. Louis River Estuary.
N
Their never-ending efforts to refurbish and maintain the river's quality make an impact.
F
The organization has spearheaded efforts to educate the community about the St. Louis River and worked on many efforts to clean up the river.

Organizational Strengths

O
They have excellent connections throughout the Duluth-Superior Community, and strong involvement with state and federal agencies involved with managing the estuary.
N
They are very willing to work with other nonprofits, such as Duluth Audubon Society, for joint projects can get more accomplished.
F
The organization uses a lot of community volunteers in their work and has been very collaborative with other organizations in the area.

Areas for Improvement

O
They could improve their marketing. They are not receiving the credit that is their due; helping the community better understand their important role would make the organization stronger.
N
They need more funds to promote their efforts.
F
Funding has been difficult for the organization and they may need more board or volunteer assistance to seek additional funds
Trout Unlimited (3 recommendations) TU Minnesota is involved in community affairs related to water conservation, cold water streams and trout as a source of information, as an advocate, as a social organization, volunteer incubator and project coordinator. Another example of their impact is the Driftless Area initiative focusing on cold water resources in SE MN, SW WI, NE IA and NW IL.
Trout Unlimited
Silver-small

http://www.tu.org/

Evidence of Impact

O
TU Minnesota is involved in community affairs related to water conservation, cold water streams and trout as a source of information, as an advocate, as a social organization, volunteer incubator and project coordinator. Another example of their impact is the Driftless Area initiative focusing on cold water resources in SE MN, SW WI, NE IA and NW IL.
R
This is the umbrella group of the 7 TU chapters in Minnesota. I have worked with a couple of different chapters to take action on protecting and rehabilitating cold water fisheries in the state. This group always provides enthusiastic volunteers to assist with in-stream modification, planning and cleanups. These folks simply do not say no when in comes to improving water quality habitat for their charismatic megafauna (the various trout species) but also recognize the importance of clean water to surrounding communities.
O
They are a good voice for the protection of cold water stream resources.

Organizational Strengths

O
The stream habitat projects that allow members to volunteer their time has had a positive effect on our trout streams and has become a community involvement bonanza that has generated multiple generations of participation in Minnesota. The advocacy for water with information and knowledgeable staff is a real resource. The ability to get funding and provide leveraging for projects is valuable.
R
Their ability to mass volunteers is fantastic, as is their ability to help create refuges and restore habitat for aquatic species.
O
They have a good grassroots component.

Areas for Improvement

O
They could provide more science at a local level to support activities and outcomes, and improve their recruitment of kids and women.
R
They are singularly focused on trout streams for good reason; however, I would like to see them take stronger positions on clean water in all lakes, rivers and streams in the state as well as for the protection of groundwater.
O
They need to coordinate various chapters better, and make sure that support for current science is consistent across their various chapters.
Cannon River Watershed Partnership (2 recommendations) Cannon River Watershed Partnership works both with citizens, local governments, and State/Federal partners to work towards meeting the water quality goals within the Cannon River Watershed. They are very good at filling in gaps that other entities are not filling, and also are very good at bringing a wide range of groups to the table to talk about issues and develop strategies to implement water quality initiatives.
Cannon River Watershed Partnership
Silver-small

http://www.crwp.net/

Evidence of Impact

O
Cannon River Watershed Partnership works both with citizens, local governments, and State/Federal partners to work towards meeting the water quality goals within the Cannon River Watershed. They are very good at filling in gaps that other entities are not filling, and also are very good at bringing a wide range of groups to the table to talk about issues and develop strategies to implement water quality initiatives.
O
Their local impact has extended to statewide recognition. This "Partnership" has included the area farmers working with urban groups to protect watershed.

Organizational Strengths

O
They have strong staff, especially in the last ten years. The organization has provided a leadership role in the watershed, but has also been helpful in bringing other leaders together.
O
They have a strong staff and board. As usual in nonprofits, staff turnover occurs. The current staff have gotten centered and are getting it right. The Board has shown leadership and helped steer the staff in the right direction. It will be interesting to see both grow over the next few years.

Areas for Improvement

O
Stable funding has always been an issue they deal with. The world of water quality is constantly changing and therefore they have to adapt and create new niches (not necessary a weakness, but they end up spending energy keeping up with times with a small staff).
O
They could improve their finances. This nonprofit depends on donations, but is tasked with doing the job of a "WMO" -- a governmental unit with taxing authority. That is hard in the current climate. In addition, they could improve their message penetration. They do not have that many dues paying members; so they need better messaging.
Community Design Center of Minnesota (2 recommendations) They do strong youth development for underserved youth. They help diverse youth develop job skills, knowledge about environmental stewardship, and experience in conservation, gardening and marketing. As a result of their work, the community was improved through park restoration, rain garden development, community gardens, and fresh produce production for community members.
Community Design Center of Minnesota

http://www.comdesignctrmn.org/

Evidence of Impact

O
They do strong youth development for underserved youth. They help diverse youth develop job skills, knowledge about environmental stewardship, and experience in conservation, gardening and marketing. As a result of their work, the community was improved through park restoration, rain garden development, community gardens, and fresh produce production for community members.
O
Their youth conservation corps impacts individual teens, connecting young people from immigrant families to careers in the environmental field.

Organizational Strengths

O
They have diverse youth involvement and strong connections to neighborhood families, organizations, government agencies, and schools.
O
They are good at connecting with young people and working with kids that can benefit from what they have to offer.

Areas for Improvement

O
They could tighten focus and outcomes.
O
This organization is very small, so the results are small. Growth and/or partnering with others to expand the impact would be a key area for improvement.
Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center (2 recommendations) I have been working with this organization for the past year. They are partnering with Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Center and other organizations to expand the Youth Energy Summit (YES!) program into their region. YES! empowers youth to partner with community to create economic and environmental vitality through hands-on and team-based projects. During the school year, students participate in hands-on, experiential learning opportunities and develop energy action projects in their schools and communities. Examples of the energy action projects have included installing solar panels, starting composting programs, and building wind turbines, as well as a wide range of educational and outreach events that impact their whole community. YES! staff work intensively with teams to assess community assets and needs, create action plans, identify and involve community partners, and link teams with further funding resources to match the students’ passion with a real need and opportunity in their community. The impact of this program is inspiring widespread adoption of renewable energy technology and energy conservation practices which contribute to the environmental and economic health of rural Minnesota communities. The program has engaged over 600 students who in turn have worked with over 12,000 additional students and almost 50,000 community members. One team alone helped their community accomplish a $45,000 energy efficiency upgrade to a community building.
Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center
Silver-small

http://www.eagle-bluff.org/

Evidence of Impact

F
I have been working with this organization for the past year. They are partnering with Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Center and other organizations to expand the Youth Energy Summit (YES!) program into their region. YES! empowers youth to partner with community to create economic and environmental vitality through hands-on and team-based projects. During the school year, students participate in hands-on, experiential learning opportunities and develop energy action projects in their schools and communities. Examples of the energy action projects have included installing solar panels, starting composting programs, and building wind turbines, as well as a wide range of educational and outreach events that impact their whole community. YES! staff work intensively with teams to assess community assets and needs, create action plans, identify and involve community partners, and link teams with further funding resources to match the students’ passion with a real need and opportunity in their community. The impact of this program is inspiring widespread adoption of renewable energy technology and energy conservation practices which contribute to the environmental and economic health of rural Minnesota communities. The program has engaged over 600 students who in turn have worked with over 12,000 additional students and almost 50,000 community members. One team alone helped their community accomplish a $45,000 energy efficiency upgrade to a community building.
R
They have a well trained staff and facility.

Organizational Strengths

F
Eagle Bluff provides opportunities for students and adults to learn by witnessing first-hand the impact of life on our natural resources. Their organization demonstrates the balance between nature and humans. They are currently embarking on a campaign to create a fully sustainable energy demonstration facility, becoming a carbon-neutral facility and partnering with other environmental learning centers to advance the ideals of sustainability, education and community. Part of this work includes YES! and also an energy education program for adults. Their staff is highly education and passionate about their work and the operations of the facility are well-managed.
R
They reach a wide range of students.

Areas for Improvement

F
As with most nonprofits, securing sustainable funding is a continual challenge. Relying somewhat on state or federal resources may prove to be an even greater challenge in the next few years as belts are tightened at the legislative level.
R
They need additional resources to complete the facility.
Freshwater Society (2 recommendations) This organization has a high profile on spot-on environmental issues that affect surface waters. They have a strong metro presence.
Freshwater Society
Silver-small

http://www.freshwater.org/

Evidence of Impact

N
This organization has a high profile on spot-on environmental issues that affect surface waters. They have a strong metro presence.
R
The Freshwater Society does an excellent job in providing a voice for water issues in this state. They have an excellent blend of advising and advocating on policy issues as well as a commitment to public education.

Organizational Strengths

N
Their leadership and staff are excellent, with a history of solvency and ability to influence people of means. The documents they put out are high quality and easy to understand. They also have a high degree of technological expertise and they use it well.
R
They have strong connections in the community and a highly qualified staff.

Areas for Improvement

N
They need to reach out statewide with info and programs.
R
They could do a better job of telling their story to the general public.
Initiative Foundation (2 recommendations) They have been very supportive of environmental education for land owners and policy makers.
Initiative Foundation

http://www.ifound.org/

Evidence of Impact

O
They have been very supportive of environmental education for land owners and policy makers.
F
They have the interest and ability to share programs and resources with other nonprofits.

Organizational Strengths

O
They have strong marketing and leadership.
F
They have a very dedicated staff, and wide respect for programs that produce results.

Areas for Improvement

F
Their follow-through on community programs could be improved.
Minnesota Naturalists Association (2 recommendations) This is the association for professional naturalists in the state. It is the only venue for professional development for people in this profession at the statewide level (The Association of Interpretive Naturalists (AIN) does a great job at the national level).
Minnesota Naturalists Association

http://mnnaturalists.org/

Evidence of Impact

R
This is the association for professional naturalists in the state. It is the only venue for professional development for people in this profession at the statewide level (The Association of Interpretive Naturalists (AIN) does a great job at the national level).
O
They train and work with naturalists in the field statewide to deliver key messages around environmental issues.

Organizational Strengths

R
Their leadership is dedicated, and their membership includes almost all of the professional naturalists in the state.
O
They have a strong statewide presence and a varied audience and membership.

Areas for Improvement

R
This group could benefit from leadership training for its board (it is a volunteer board) and long-range planning. They are dedicated and invest a lot of time in the organization but are limited by the fact that they all work full time and do this work in addition.
O
They could reach out to more volunteers and others involved in EE in the state.
Minnesota Public Interest Research Group (2 recommendations) MPIRG is always out on the front lines communicating with citizens, getting the word out, recruiting participants and promoting citizen engagement. They are also developing future leaders in the environmental community by truly entrusting their student boards with real responsibilities. They have a huge impact.
Minnesota Public Interest Research Group

http://www.mpirg.org/

Evidence of Impact

N
MPIRG is always out on the front lines communicating with citizens, getting the word out, recruiting participants and promoting citizen engagement. They are also developing future leaders in the environmental community by truly entrusting their student boards with real responsibilities. They have a huge impact.
N
Their advocacy against pollution makes a difference.

Organizational Strengths

N
They have strong staff - it would be hard to find a more enthusiastic staff than the young people that work here. In addition to the door-to-door and phone canvassers that work incredibly hard, the program and policy staff are also top-notch. I would also commend their democratic processes in selecting issues to work on and how to go about making a difference.
N
They do strong grassroots activities.

Areas for Improvement

N
Like other organizations that are led by democratic processes, I think they have a difficult time raising funds for their issues because they don't know what issues they'll be working on from year to year. While they end up working on some of the most important issues, if you can't find funding for them, it makes it difficult to make progress.
Minnesota Public Radio (2 recommendations) They are probably the best source for interesting and informative discussion about environmental issues that is available to a broad sector of the public.
Minnesota Public Radio

http://minnesota.publicradio.org/

Evidence of Impact

R
They are probably the best source for interesting and informative discussion about environmental issues that is available to a broad sector of the public.
N
They are the only reliable news media in this area.

Organizational Strengths

N
They are the most unbiased news media.

Areas for Improvement

N
They should have the courage to cover an issue no matter what the Tea Party/GOP think.
Minnesota Renewable Energty Society (2 recommendations) They are a strong representative of solar energy in Minnesota.
Minnesota Renewable Energty Society
Bronze-small

http://mnrenewables.org/

Evidence of Impact

R
They are a strong representative of solar energy in Minnesota.
O
As a former board member of MRES, I would say it is arguably the single most effective voice in Minnesota for solar power - from its annual representation of the solar technology community as part of the Eco Experience at the Minnesota State Fair; to its organizing (as the MN chapter of the American Solar Energy Society) of the MN leg of the annual ASES fall Solar Tour; to its creation of an annual Solar Boat Regatta that is now participated in by students from middle school through the college level, and its tabling at scores of events around the state. MRES educates thousands of people at the Fair, and as follow-up its website offers scores of links providing information about everything from the basics of solar photovoltaics and solar thermal to available financial incentives for those contemplating installing solar on their home or business. MRES monthly board meetings are each prefaced by an hour-long renewable-energy-related talk that is free and open to the public, by an expert in a field. They range from cutting-edge industrial technology to student-led installations of solar arrays at public schools - reaching hundreds more every year with information often not readily available (especially in a format that allows for immediate interaction and feedback) elsewhere.

Organizational Strengths

O
For over 30 years, this sometimes seemingly ragtag outfit has carried out its mission based almost entirely on the efforts of dedicated volunteers (in a comparatively recent development, it now has exactly one paid employee). Its first strength is the enthusiasm, unselfishness, and commitment of those volunteers. Beyond that -- especially in the person of the several members who are professional solar installers -- it has broad and increasingly deep technical expertise and a willingness to share it.

Areas for Improvement

O
Fundraising! And (not unrelated) greater skill -- and possibly even a paid staffer or two -- in media relations and PR.
Neighborhood Energy Connection (NEC) (2 recommendations) The NEC created Minnesota's first car sharing program - HourCar. This was an innovative program that will be utilized more as gas prices increase and the Twin Cities Metropolitan area struggles with non attainment strategies.
Neighborhood Energy Connection (NEC)

http://www.thenec.org/

Evidence of Impact

O
The NEC created Minnesota's first car sharing program - HourCar. This was an innovative program that will be utilized more as gas prices increase and the Twin Cities Metropolitan area struggles with non attainment strategies.
N
They are highly effective at communicating the impact of trash - your trash.

Organizational Strengths

O
The NEC has strong staff and board leadership and sound fiscal management.
N
They have expanded to include more areas of trash and recycling impact; their zero waste events are showing up more and more.

Areas for Improvement

O
The NEC could use assistance on building staff capacity and marketing and communications.
N
Minneapolis and St. Paul don't both have the same great recycling; we need more money so that we don't have to sort. Recycling has to be easy, and it can be - they've done it at Eureka.
North American Water Office (2 recommendations) They make an impact on the Native American tradition and environmental justice.
North American Water Office

http://www.nawo.org/

Evidence of Impact

O
They make an impact on the Native American tradition and environmental justice.
N
In the face of extremely limited funding and staffing, North American Water Office has managed to give distributed energy issues a voice and seat in a variety of proceedings at the MN Public Utilities Commission (PUC). Without NAWO's leadership, distributed energy would often be overlooked as a viable alternative to centralized generation and long-distance transmission lines.

Organizational Strengths

O
Their strengths include policy initiatives on the environment and leadership in the Native American community.
N
NAWO staff are amazingly passionate about the issues they work on and have articulated a clear vision of a sustainable energy future for decades. Their focus on building up locally owned renewable energy has provided a wealth of economic and environmental benefits to the state.

Areas for Improvement

O
Fundraising and collaborative partnerships are areas for improvement.
N
Despite all its good work and impacts, NAWO seems to run on a shoestring budget - if they don't have one, a dedicated development staff person would maybe help secure more stable resources.
Rural Renewable Energy Alliance (2 recommendations) RREAL's helps combat fuel poverty by installing solar air heat systems on low-income families' homes. This helps those families provide more of their own heat year after year, decrease the amount they spend on heating their homes every year, and decrease the funds they need from the federal LiHEAP program.
Rural Renewable Energy Alliance

http://www.rreal.org/

Evidence of Impact

N
RREAL's helps combat fuel poverty by installing solar air heat systems on low-income families' homes. This helps those families provide more of their own heat year after year, decrease the amount they spend on heating their homes every year, and decrease the funds they need from the federal LiHEAP program.
F
The Rural Renewable Energy Alliance offers a unique opportunity to not only impact our environment but also the economy. Their cutting edge solar energy technology is creating workforce opportunities across the state while at the same time impacting low-wage households by providing solar thermal heating for their homes through their Solar Assistance program. Recent studies by RREAL show that investment in solar heating systems would address long-term solutions to persistent fuel poverty and should be investigated as an alternative to the existing system of emergency assistance; and that these systems would also have the benefit of reducing environmental impact with respect to home heating.

Organizational Strengths

N
RREAL has a great staff as well as strong, mission driven leadership that help the organization move forward, grow and effectively adapt to changing circumstances while always staying true to their core purpose.
F
This organization has very strong, committed, and passionate leadership whose vision and mission for their work stems from personal experience. The unique arrangement they have created that not only serves as a nonprofit, but also benefits the local economy is absolutely wonderful. In addition they continually collaborate with other businesses and organizations to provide outreach and education related to solar energy.

Areas for Improvement

N
I think RREAL is still trying to figure out how best to help others replicate their model; theirs is such a strong mission and with such great successes on the ground that it would be valuable to figure out how best to replicate this in other places.
F
As with most nonprofits, securing sustainable funding for the low-income solar installations is a challenge. Staff capacity in light of the fact that they not only operate a business, but also the nonprofit work may also be an area of concern.
The Conservation Fund (2 recommendations) The Conservation Fund quietly led the way in preserving hundreds of thousands of acres of forest land over the past two years.
The Conservation Fund
Silver-small

http://www.conservationfund.org/

Evidence of Impact

N
The Conservation Fund quietly led the way in preserving hundreds of thousands of acres of forest land over the past two years.
O
TNC is the home of green infrastructure and has convened numerous federal, state, and local entities around the concept of green infrastructure. TNC held its first national Green Infrastructure conference in 2011.

Organizational Strengths

N
The Conservation Fund has an excellent staff that seeks to enable other organizations without worrying about who gets the credit. They also have an extreme level of expertise in land negotiations.
O
They have an excellent training facility in West Virginia and staff throughout the US that help acquire land for protection.

Areas for Improvement

N
They just need to be used more by the conservation community to enhance their effectiveness. Having a larger staff would also enable them to expand their work.
O
I wish the educational staff could reach out more to the states. Instead of us going to them, I wish they would come to us (as with TNC's green infrastructure courses).
Windustry (2 recommendations) They are a strong representative of the wind industry in the upper Midwest.
Windustry
Silver-small

http://www.windustry.org/

Evidence of Impact

R
They are a strong representative of the wind industry in the upper Midwest.
O
Windustry is Minnesota's primary champion of community-based renewable energy production and, by logical extension, of distributed generation (DG); its reach is now national. Its annual conference on community energy brings together large numbers of those dedicated to ensuring that "big wind" does not usurp the freedom and opportunity for smaller players to contribute significantly to the expansion and diversification of the nation's clean energy sources. DG is a vital counterbalance to the huge, international players in the renewable energy market. For reasons of energy security as well as energy democracy, it would be hard to overstate the importance of Windustry's work.

Organizational Strengths

O
Long a small-staff operation -- though I think it has expanded since I last had direct contact with it -- Windustry has nonetheless accomplished a lot; its ED, Lisa Daniels, is a driven and a driving force in the DG community both here and outside the borders of MN. Paralleling this is the group's apparent ability to make every dollar go as far as possible; while I'd like to think that Windustry's finances may have improved of late, my impression is that it has managed to skate successfully on thin financial ice in the past. However, thanks to the dedication of its staff, has managed to fulfill its core mission even in straitened circumstances.

Areas for Improvement

O
It may be cliché to say that the risk of having one individual driving any group is that their weaknesses can become the weaknesses of the organization, and if anything happens to them, continuing and reconstructing the operation can be challenging and even traumatic. I'd like to see Windustry bring others of its staff to prominence beyond the ED. Also, I think the Windustry team needs greater depth in the linked areas of PR and fundraising.
American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) (1 recommendation) The ACEEE leads the way in innovative ideas to address energy issues. They have a strong and non-partisan reputation.
American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE)
Silver-small

http://www.aceee.org/

Evidence of Impact

R
The ACEEE leads the way in innovative ideas to address energy issues. They have a strong and non-partisan reputation.

Organizational Strengths

R
The events planned by ACEEE, such as the Behavior, Energy and Climate Change conference, are effective and innovative. Unlike many other organizations, they recognize the importance of social science research on communication, behavior change, etc. for the success of energy efficiency efforts.

Areas for Improvement

R
I would like to see more communications experts and behavioral scientists on their staff. I would also like to see them define the types of civic actions needed to facilitate the legislative changes needed to facilitate energy efficiency.
Association for the Advancement of Hmong Women in Minnesota (1 recommendation) They make an impact through community leadership and engagement.
Association for the Advancement of Hmong Women in Minnesota

Evidence of Impact

O
They make an impact through community leadership and engagement.

Organizational Strengths

O
They have strong leadership and staff.

Areas for Improvement

O
They could improve their fundraising and board training.
Audubon Center of the North Woods (1 recommendation) They have an environmental residency program with all school-age children, college interns, and secondary education levels (college programs and graduate interns).
Audubon Center of the North Woods
Silver-small

http://www.audubon-center.org/

Evidence of Impact

N
They have an environmental residency program with all school-age children, college interns, and secondary education levels (college programs and graduate interns).

Organizational Strengths

N
Their leadership is strong, they have a good board, and they are a well put together organization.

Areas for Improvement

N
Their funding structure needs help. In this recession, a fee-for-service organization away from a population base will lose out. Fundraising support would help.
Blandin Foundation (1 recommendation) They make an impact through community-building in rural areas of Minnesota. This non-profit has worked in communities throughout the non-metro area (all of the state except the Twin Cities metro) and done a great job of building leadership in the smaller towns.
Blandin Foundation

http://www.blandinfoundation.org/

Evidence of Impact

O
They make an impact through community-building in rural areas of Minnesota. This non-profit has worked in communities throughout the non-metro area (all of the state except the Twin Cities metro) and done a great job of building leadership in the smaller towns.

Organizational Strengths

O
They have fantastic staff. The programs they offer are very helpful.
CE Tempoxcalli (1 recommendation) This organization has brought together hundreds of students of color and community members of color together to learn and teach about environmental issues. They are grassroots, receive very little funding, and are volunteer based. I have met numerous people who have received their training by attending their conference. As a result of this, I can say with confidence that Ce Tempoxcalli has played a huge role in getting those people historically not at the table to create their own table(s). I see leadership coming from those they impact, and I see their work having more and more impact as they continue to grow.
CE Tempoxcalli
Bronze-small

Evidence of Impact

N
This organization has brought together hundreds of students of color and community members of color together to learn and teach about environmental issues. They are grassroots, receive very little funding, and are volunteer based. I have met numerous people who have received their training by attending their conference. As a result of this, I can say with confidence that Ce Tempoxcalli has played a huge role in getting those people historically not at the table to create their own table(s). I see leadership coming from those they impact, and I see their work having more and more impact as they continue to grow.

Organizational Strengths

N
They are unique. The name itself says, 'We are not white.' It also begs the question, 'What does this mean?' This allows us all to see our race, culture and ethnic lines challenge us to work together. Again, they have all volunteers doing this work. That impresses me.

Areas for Improvement

N
I think that once they get better support (funding) they will naturally go to the next level of organizing and hopefully be able to have a larger impact by having real staff that can attend more meetings, network with other organizations, and be full-time on the task of working and serving the environment.
Center for Biological Diversity (1 recommendation) The Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) has taken on some important environmental issues in Minnesota by participating, possibly even leading the way on important legal challenges to significant threats, such as the proposed sulfide mines in the Iron Range, in particular PolyMet's NorthMet mine. I think their legal expertise has helped with improving the EIS for the mine and negotiating a better outcome for the environment.
Center for Biological Diversity
Silver-small

http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/

Evidence of Impact

R
The Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) has taken on some important environmental issues in Minnesota by participating, possibly even leading the way on important legal challenges to significant threats, such as the proposed sulfide mines in the Iron Range, in particular PolyMet's NorthMet mine. I think their legal expertise has helped with improving the EIS for the mine and negotiating a better outcome for the environment.

Organizational Strengths

R
Their strengths are legal expertise and willingness to confront challenging issues. The environmental issues around the proposed sulfide mines are complex and politically loaded in these hard economic times, especially during periods of high unemployment. I think another strength is effective use of the funds they have. It seems like the funds they raise go mostly into the projects they are working on and very little goes into marketing or fanfare. It is a refreshing change of pace for an influential organization.

Areas for Improvement

R
Even though I just applauded their emphasis on putting their money into projects, they might benefit from a little higher profile or a little more local staff. I'm not familiar with their business structure, but for a seemingly small organization they seem to have a big impact. Perhaps they could have a bigger impact with more staff, and more visibility.
Chippewa River Watershed Project (1 recommendation) This group has provided the base for monitoring and water quality data collection for the entire Chippewa River watershed for the last decade or so. Without their work, TMDLs would not be able to be completed in this watershed. Also, they have help local units of government get grant funds for on the ground conservation work.
Chippewa River Watershed Project

http://www.chippewariver.com/

Evidence of Impact

O
This group has provided the base for monitoring and water quality data collection for the entire Chippewa River watershed for the last decade or so. Without their work, TMDLs would not be able to be completed in this watershed. Also, they have help local units of government get grant funds for on the ground conservation work.

Organizational Strengths

O
They have experienced staff. They have experience working with local, state, and Federal partners.

Areas for Improvement

O
Stable funding an issue. When TMDLs complete, what is their next step?
Clean Air Task Force (1 recommendation) They make an impact by engaging utilities on the most technical of matters with the best engineering and analytical capacity, in addition to using this capacity in utility commission interventions.
Clean Air Task Force

http://www.catf.us/

Evidence of Impact

N
They make an impact by engaging utilities on the most technical of matters with the best engineering and analytical capacity, in addition to using this capacity in utility commission interventions.

Organizational Strengths

N
They are very much realistic, taking a wide view and understanding the breadth of the energy and climate issue on a global scale.

Areas for Improvement

N
They could improve on being realistic about their abilities at convening disparate entities from a logistical and facilitation standpoint.
Courage Center (1 recommendation) Camp Courage provides tremendous experiences for youth that are impacted by health and societal issues.
Courage Center

http://www.couragecenter.org/

Evidence of Impact

O
Camp Courage provides tremendous experiences for youth that are impacted by health and societal issues.
EarthSense Alliance (1 recommendation) It is amazing to get six residential environmental learning centers working together for their mutual benefit.
EarthSense Alliance

http://www.earthsensealliance.org/

Evidence of Impact

N
It is amazing to get six residential environmental learning centers working together for their mutual benefit.

Organizational Strengths

N
They are working to address sustainable energy issues in the Midwest. They are also developing curriculum that can be implemented by member organizations to bring about energy behavior changes of their students.

Areas for Improvement

N
Acquisition of funds to expand develop opportunities would enhance programming.
Earthwatch Institute (1 recommendation) Through their volunteer travel programs, Earthwatch instills new passion in participants for science-based protection of nature.
Earthwatch Institute
Silver-small

http://www.earthwatch.org/expedition

Evidence of Impact

N
Through their volunteer travel programs, Earthwatch instills new passion in participants for science-based protection of nature.

Organizational Strengths

N
They work hard to ensure a consistent level of quality of each of the expeditions, which is very challenging given the diversity of countries and cultures, the volume of scientists who oversee the expeditions, etc.

Areas for Improvement

N
They could spend less on traditional mailed marketing materials, and better leverage social media to draw in younger participants.
Eco Education (1 recommendation) Eco Education does wonderful work promoting student-driven environmental education and activities in the Twin Cities community. They have been active for 20 years. Students are empowered to learn and take action in their community.
Eco Education
Silver-small

http://www.ecoeducation.org/

Evidence of Impact

O
Eco Education does wonderful work promoting student-driven environmental education and activities in the Twin Cities community. They have been active for 20 years. Students are empowered to learn and take action in their community.

Organizational Strengths

O
Eco Education reaches large numbers of students and provides support to teachers. The organization is well run and accountable.

Areas for Improvement

O
Eco Education should expand its reach to more schools and classrooms, and could use additional funding to make this a reality.
Greater Blue Earth River Basin Alliance (1 recommendation) They are getting implementation done in the Greater Blue Earth Watershed through a coordinated effort by 9 counties and 9 SWCDs in the basin. They do very efficient and effective delivery of water quality projects.
Greater Blue Earth River Basin Alliance

http://www.gberba.org/

Evidence of Impact

N
They are getting implementation done in the Greater Blue Earth Watershed through a coordinated effort by 9 counties and 9 SWCDs in the basin. They do very efficient and effective delivery of water quality projects.

Organizational Strengths

N
Each SWCD staff knows the landowners in their jurisdiction, so when funds are available, they can effectively get it a place on the landscape that needs it and works with the landowner to provide the technical assistance to get the project designed and installed correctly. Most organizations do not have this intimate connection with the landowners, and are therefore less effective in getting change on the ground. They also do education events in the region. They have an excellent system to manage and track their project finances. They have a successful system that tracks literally hundreds of contracts involving landowners, the SWCD or County and GBERBA with accountability to the funder- who is usually the state.

Areas for Improvement

N
I would like them to have higher visibility and leadership in the larger MN River and Des Moines river region. They have limited visibility outside of the Blue Earth River system now. They have the leadership and capacity to transfer their good work out to their colleagues but have not gone there.
H2O for Life (1 recommendation) They inspired teachers and students to appreciate water resources and design projects that serve disadvantaged populations in third-world countries, and have catalyzed corporations and foundations to support these projects.
H2O for Life
Silver-small

http://www.h2oforlifeschools.org/

Evidence of Impact

N
They inspired teachers and students to appreciate water resources and design projects that serve disadvantaged populations in third-world countries, and have catalyzed corporations and foundations to support these projects.

Organizational Strengths

N
The founder and executive director are terrific spokespersons and inspiring speakers and advocates for their mission.

Areas for Improvement

N
Their visibility could be enhanced. They are not well-known in the environmental community.
Hartley Nature Center (1 recommendation) They work to educate children in conservation as well as all aspects of nature appreciation.
Hartley Nature Center

http://www.hartleynature.org/

Evidence of Impact

N
They work to educate children in conservation as well as all aspects of nature appreciation.

Organizational Strengths

N
They also work to promote a stewardship program attracting volunteers.

Areas for Improvement

N
They need more funds.
High Country News (1 recommendation) The are responsible for real awareness raising - the coexistence of local western industries, communities, and environment is a nice niche others have a hard time occupying.
High Country News

http://www.hcn.org/

Evidence of Impact

O
The are responsible for real awareness raising - the coexistence of local western industries, communities, and environment is a nice niche others have a hard time occupying.

Organizational Strengths

O
Last I heard, humans were part of the environment - HCN gets this. Their journalism goes to depths deeper than the TV or mainstream publications, which rarely get below the press release regurgitating we are used to.

Areas for Improvement

O
There has been a noticeable shift to the left in the last five years, which is unfortunate. Moderate and professional journalistic voices are needed.
Indigenous Educational Network of Turtle Island (1 recommendation) They are leaders in MN and nationally on environmental justice for indigenous peoples.
Indigenous Educational Network of Turtle Island

Evidence of Impact

N
They are leaders in MN and nationally on environmental justice for indigenous peoples.
Institute on the Environment, University of Minnesota (1 recommendation) This organization does excellent research and training, as well as great communications programs to increase public awareness and understanding
Institute on the Environment, University of Minnesota

http://environment.umn.edu/

Evidence of Impact

R
This organization does excellent research and training, as well as great communications programs to increase public awareness and understanding
Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation (1 recommendation) INHF has led the Blufflands Alliance regional collaboration of land trusts for 15 years. INHF is leading the state (and region) in understanding the policy implications of flooding and the potential impacts of climate change on increased flooding.
Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation

http://www.inhf.org/

Evidence of Impact

O
INHF has led the Blufflands Alliance regional collaboration of land trusts for 15 years. INHF is leading the state (and region) in understanding the policy implications of flooding and the potential impacts of climate change on increased flooding.

Organizational Strengths

O
The leadership at the Foundation is as strong as any in the country. Their president has contributed to many start-up organizations and efforts in the region and beyond.

Areas for Improvement

O
Succession planning will be important there, as they consolidate their work in the areas that they have accomplished the most in.
Kinnicinnic River Land Trust (1 recommendation) They make an impact through protection of urban cold-water trout stream through acquisition and easements.
Kinnicinnic River Land Trust
Silver-small

http://www.kinniriver.org/

Evidence of Impact

O
They make an impact through protection of urban cold-water trout stream through acquisition and easements.

Organizational Strengths

O
Strengths include leadership (Nelson French), with engagement in the community, and operations as a certified land trust.

Areas for Improvement

O
They could improve their relationship with schools--particularly environmental education. They could also improve their linkage with impaired waters studies in Minnesota/Wisconsin (St. Croix River).
Lanesboro Local (1 recommendation) They do amazing work to improve the use of locally grown products, strengthening rural areas and communities.
Lanesboro Local

http://www.lanesborolocal.org/

Evidence of Impact

N
They do amazing work to improve the use of locally grown products, strengthening rural areas and communities.

Organizational Strengths

N
They do 24/7/365 marketing via their website, and promote locally grown wherever possible.

Areas for Improvement

N
They could improve their expansion of market services and seek a stable, long-term funding source for regional market.
Local Public Health Association of Minnesota (1 recommendation) LPHA provides a strong educational and support system for governmental public health employees and organization in MN.
Local Public Health Association of Minnesota

http://www.lpha-mn.org/

Evidence of Impact

O
LPHA provides a strong educational and support system for governmental public health employees and organization in MN.

Organizational Strengths

O
They have an active and personally dedicated membership.
Lower Phalen Creek Project (1 recommendation) They do effective community organizing to accomplish local goals, including the development and continual improvement of the Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary, increased access and use of Vento Nature Center and Bruce Vento trail, development of new parks such as Heritage Park, and connection of parks and trails on St. Paul's East Side.
Lower Phalen Creek Project

http://www.mepartnership.org/sites/LOWERPHALENCREEK/

Evidence of Impact

O
They do effective community organizing to accomplish local goals, including the development and continual improvement of the Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary, increased access and use of Vento Nature Center and Bruce Vento trail, development of new parks such as Heritage Park, and connection of parks and trails on St. Paul's East Side.

Organizational Strengths

O
They have strong leadership and staff, and connections to broad range of community members, policy makers, public and private funders. Their staff are responsive and nimble. They can address community needs quickly.

Areas for Improvement

O
They could improve their organizational structure and work on receipt of 501c3 status.
Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN (1 recommendation) Mayo Clinic is and always been at the forefront of cutting edge medical research for not only Minnesota, but also, the U.S. and the world.
Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN

http://www.mayoclinic.org/rochester/

Evidence of Impact

O
Mayo Clinic is and always been at the forefront of cutting edge medical research for not only Minnesota, but also, the U.S. and the world.
Metro Blooms (1 recommendation) They have enabled hundreds of private landowners around the Twin Cities to build rain gardens that reduce storm water runoff. A recent project in Powderhorn Park in Minneapolis created 140 new rain gardens and successfully worked with lower income residents.
Metro Blooms

http://www.metroblooms.org/

Evidence of Impact

O
They have enabled hundreds of private landowners around the Twin Cities to build rain gardens that reduce storm water runoff. A recent project in Powderhorn Park in Minneapolis created 140 new rain gardens and successfully worked with lower income residents.

Organizational Strengths

O
This organization has a strong volunteer base and works with cities and local government units. They also do a very good job of tracking the follow-through for people that attend workshops.

Areas for Improvement

O
With the exception of Powderhorn Park, their other workshops are not targeted at specific neighborhoods and therefore do not create a measurable impact on a specific water body. Metro Blooms relies on cities to sponsor workshops, so they only happen in areas where the cities can pay for them to happen.
Minnesota Association for Environmental Education (1 recommendation) This organization works with teachers to impact students on environmental education issues.
Minnesota Association for Environmental Education

http://www.minnesotaee.org/

Evidence of Impact

R
This organization works with teachers to impact students on environmental education issues.

Organizational Strengths

R
They are based on volunteers that are passionate about their work.

Areas for Improvement

R
They need more money.
Minnesota Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts (1 recommendation) They are very effective in providing leadership training to local professionals
Minnesota Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts

http://www.maswcd.org/

Evidence of Impact

R
They are very effective in providing leadership training to local professionals

Organizational Strengths

R
This organization is broad based, non-partisan, works well with partners, and is very efficient - low staff and high output.
Minnesota Conservation Federation (1 recommendation) They are a strong voice at the intersection of outdoor recreation and environmental concerns.
Minnesota Conservation Federation

http://www.mncf.org/main/

Evidence of Impact

O
They are a strong voice at the intersection of outdoor recreation and environmental concerns.

Organizational Strengths

O
They have a broad scope and have members in traditional recreational interests (hunting, angling, bird watchers), as well as more general environmental advocates.

Areas for Improvement

O
They could reach out more to unaligned citizens. Also, consider having more natural resource-trained professionals on staff.
Minnesota Forestry Association (1 recommendation) They have a very strong legislative impact on issues affecting family forests in MN
Minnesota Forestry Association

http://www.minnesotaforestry.org/

Evidence of Impact

O
They have a very strong legislative impact on issues affecting family forests in MN

Organizational Strengths

O
They have a high level of committed volunteers.

Areas for Improvement

O
They could have a better newsletter.
Minnesota Ground Water Association (1 recommendation) This is a long-standing professional organization of geologists, hydrologists and water resource managers providing continuing education and resources related to environmental education, water quality and water quantity. The MGWA influences decision-makers and policy with education, outreach and advocacy.
Minnesota Ground Water Association

http://www.mgwa.org/

Evidence of Impact

O
This is a long-standing professional organization of geologists, hydrologists and water resource managers providing continuing education and resources related to environmental education, water quality and water quantity. The MGWA influences decision-makers and policy with education, outreach and advocacy.

Organizational Strengths

O
They have a sustained leadership that has successfully managed as a volunteer organization for 30 years. They put on annual conferences and field trips that are widely attended by professionals, students and the public. Their resources are available across the state of MN.

Areas for Improvement

O
They could improve their recruitment of younger professionals, and increase the involvement of elected officials or programs for elected officials.
Minnesota Sharp-Tailed Grouse Society (1 recommendation) MSGS is focused upon wildlife habitat necessary for perpetuation of the sharptail grouse in MN, a species that is not yet imperiled, but definitely challenged.
Minnesota Sharp-Tailed Grouse Society

http://www.sharptails.org/

Evidence of Impact

N
MSGS is focused upon wildlife habitat necessary for perpetuation of the sharptail grouse in MN, a species that is not yet imperiled, but definitely challenged.

Organizational Strengths

N
MSGS is purely volunteer driven and run. They have no staff at all. These are simply dedicated volunteers working for a species that needs help.

Areas for Improvement

N
MSGS is not widely known, in part because they perform their mission without fanfare or press releases. They just do it!
Minnesota Waste Wise Foundation (1 recommendation) Based on their work with businesses in Minnesota over the last fiscal year, Waste Wise helped divert 12 million pounds of waste from landfills. Specifically, they helped businesses recycle 10 million pounds, compost .5 million pounds and avoid $2.5 million in waste-associated costs.
Minnesota Waste Wise Foundation

http://www.razoo.com/story/Minnesota-Waste-Wise-Foundation

Evidence of Impact

N
Based on their work with businesses in Minnesota over the last fiscal year, Waste Wise helped divert 12 million pounds of waste from landfills. Specifically, they helped businesses recycle 10 million pounds, compost .5 million pounds and avoid $2.5 million in waste-associated costs.

Organizational Strengths

N
Waste Wise understands the needs of businesses in Minnesota and what will motivate them to implement change. They remain focused on their mission and provide a valued service to the business community.

Areas for Improvement

N
More outreach to other business-related organizations could help their marketing efforts and increase their outcomes further.
National Eagle Center (1 recommendation) The National Eagle Center is bringing its environmental message to an area of the state that has few other such resources. They also serve as a visitor attraction in a county that benefits from this eco-tourism.
National Eagle Center

http://www.nationaleaglecenter.org/

Evidence of Impact

N
The National Eagle Center is bringing its environmental message to an area of the state that has few other such resources. They also serve as a visitor attraction in a county that benefits from this eco-tourism.

Organizational Strengths

N
The Center has a dedicated staff and volunteer base. Their visitor facility is well positioned on the Mississippi River to provide high quality experiences to local and out of town visitors alike.

Areas for Improvement

N
They are a relatively young organization and will benefit from stable funding and staffing. They will also need to forge more partnerships to increase their impact.
National Wild Turkey Federation (1 recommendation) The NWTF work in Minnesota over the last 30 years has resulted in Minnesota having a wild turkey population established in the state.
National Wild Turkey Federation

http://www.nwtf.org/

Evidence of Impact

O
The NWTF work in Minnesota over the last 30 years has resulted in Minnesota having a wild turkey population established in the state.

Organizational Strengths

O
Their strengths include the leadership and focus of professional staff, and their ability to effectively work with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to develop a successful trap and transplant program in Minnesota.
New Environmental Education Foundation (1 recommendation) They have a good track record of teaching youth and creating a lasting impression on citizens by offering a hands on opportunity to learn about the natural world.
New Environmental Education Foundation

http://www.hendersonmn.com/organizations/ney.html

Evidence of Impact

N
They have a good track record of teaching youth and creating a lasting impression on citizens by offering a hands on opportunity to learn about the natural world.

Organizational Strengths

N
They have a solid, knowledgeable board of directors and decent staff that are dedicated with long term visions.

Areas for Improvement

N
They need to bring in more partners to share knowledge with the public and reach out farther distances to gain additional support and perspective.
New Ulm Area Sport Fishermen (1 recommendation) This is a grassroots organization that artfully promotes environmental issues by bridging the environment with the outdoor sport of fishing. Projects of the organization all include an environmental component with an emphasis on inclusion of youth.
New Ulm Area Sport Fishermen

http://www.newulmsportfish.org/about_us.htm

Evidence of Impact

N
This is a grassroots organization that artfully promotes environmental issues by bridging the environment with the outdoor sport of fishing. Projects of the organization all include an environmental component with an emphasis on inclusion of youth.

Organizational Strengths

N
There is no staff or committees. The organization is 200 members with a monthly meeting attendance of over 50. All decisions are made by the collective with complete transparency.

Areas for Improvement

N
The organization could improve by more partnering.
Permaculture Research Institute (1 recommendation) Permaculture Research Institute Cold Climate pushes for urban agriculture, sustainable food system, local self-reliance, educational offerings, and methods for holistic design to include soil building and carbon sequestration.
Permaculture Research Institute

http://www.pricoldclimate.org/

Evidence of Impact

O
Permaculture Research Institute Cold Climate pushes for urban agriculture, sustainable food system, local self-reliance, educational offerings, and methods for holistic design to include soil building and carbon sequestration.

Organizational Strengths

O
One of the organization's key staff members, Paula Westmoreland, ecological designer and co-author of This Perennial Land, is a tremendous resource to the community. She is an excellent organizer and connecter of people and organizations.

Areas for Improvement

O
The organization is young and is working on building its organizational capacity. It needs to become even more stable and consistent without losing its agility and proactive nature.
Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Center (1 recommendation) I have worked closely with PWELC for the past four years, primarily related to a collaborative program they offer called the Youth Energy Summit (YES!). YES! empowers youth to partner with community to create economic and environmental vitality through hands-on and team-based projects. During the school year, students participate in hands-on, experiential learning opportunities and develop energy action projects in their schools and communities. Examples of the energy action projects have included installing solar panels, starting composting programs, and building wind turbines, as well as a wide range of educational and outreach events that impact their whole community. YES! staff work intensively with teams to assess community assets and needs, create action plans, identify and involve community partners, and link teams with further funding resources to match the students’ passion with a real need and opportunity in their community. The impact of this program is inspiring widespread adoption of renewable energy technology and energy conservation practices which contribute to the environmental and economic health of rural Minnesota communities. The program has engaged over 600 students who in turn have worked with over 12,000 additional students and almost 50,000 community members. One team alone helped their community accomplish a $45,000 energy efficiency upgrade to a community building.
Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Center

http://prairiewoodselc.org/index.html

Evidence of Impact

F
I have worked closely with PWELC for the past four years, primarily related to a collaborative program they offer called the Youth Energy Summit (YES!). YES! empowers youth to partner with community to create economic and environmental vitality through hands-on and team-based projects. During the school year, students participate in hands-on, experiential learning opportunities and develop energy action projects in their schools and communities. Examples of the energy action projects have included installing solar panels, starting composting programs, and building wind turbines, as well as a wide range of educational and outreach events that impact their whole community. YES! staff work intensively with teams to assess community assets and needs, create action plans, identify and involve community partners, and link teams with further funding resources to match the students’ passion with a real need and opportunity in their community. The impact of this program is inspiring widespread adoption of renewable energy technology and energy conservation practices which contribute to the environmental and economic health of rural Minnesota communities. The program has engaged over 600 students who in turn have worked with over 12,000 additional students and almost 50,000 community members. One team alone helped their community accomplish a $45,000 energy efficiency upgrade to a community building.

Organizational Strengths

F
PWELC is a long-standing organization that is committed to providing outstanding environmental education and outdoor experiences to people of all ages. They are a model example for the work that they do as their facility utilizes renewable energy technologies to be almost 100% self-sustaining for their energy needs. Their staff and leadership is very committed to their work and holds high ethical standards that match their mission and goals. They help people learn by doing and are an exemplary model themselves for living well with self, others and the environment.

Areas for Improvement

F
Capacity is a potential area for improvement. They experience some turnover and staff frustration due to the part-time nature of their employment offerings.
Putting Green (1 recommendation) On a very local scale, they have had a significant impact on youth and community residents to increase their awareness and understanding of environmental issues. They do this with their mini golf course where each hole is designed around an environmental topic.
Putting Green

http://puttinggreen.org/

Evidence of Impact

N
On a very local scale, they have had a significant impact on youth and community residents to increase their awareness and understanding of environmental issues. They do this with their mini golf course where each hole is designed around an environmental topic.

Organizational Strengths

N
They have strong leadership, commitment and passion to get a positive environmental message out there and are reaching out to an important audience, youth. In addition, they have strong partnering ability and connections. For example, they partner with a local group that works with handicapped adults and getting them engaged in a community garden and sustainability project.

Areas for Improvement

N
Broader visibility in the region that would increase usage and understanding of these issues. They need more money to offer a more robust program, but the core program is strong. Maybe they could function more like a business, and less like a hobby.
River Action (1 recommendation) River Action, in Davenport, Iowa, has led the Quad Cities region in reconnecting the cities to the Mississippi River. They have coordinated development of 60+ miles of trails, held programs every year that bring hundreds of people to the waterfront, and led the communities and local governments in vision and planning exercises that have transformed the region.
River Action

http://www.riveraction.org/

Evidence of Impact

O
River Action, in Davenport, Iowa, has led the Quad Cities region in reconnecting the cities to the Mississippi River. They have coordinated development of 60+ miles of trails, held programs every year that bring hundreds of people to the waterfront, and led the communities and local governments in vision and planning exercises that have transformed the region.

Organizational Strengths

O
The Executive Director at River Action is highly charismatic and is able to elicit partnership agreements from widely disparate partners in the region. They are tremendous visionaries who then engage others in implementing the shared vision.

Areas for Improvement

O
They are highly dependent on the executive director. Succession planning is/should be a major concern. As a regional jobs downturn continues, there is increasing need to pursue continued regional investment.
Society of American Foresters (1 recommendation) They have a long history of deliberate, useful, effective policy making and legislative affairs
Society of American Foresters

http://www.safnet.org/

Evidence of Impact

O
They have a long history of deliberate, useful, effective policy making and legislative affairs
Sportsmen for Change (1 recommendation) Sportsmen for Change engages grassroots activism from outdoor enthusiasts to affect change through legislative involvement.
Sportsmen for Change

http://www.sportsmenforchange.org/

Evidence of Impact

N
Sportsmen for Change engages grassroots activism from outdoor enthusiasts to affect change through legislative involvement.

Organizational Strengths

N
Sportsmen for Change operates with only one paid employee but maintains a deep and wide network of volunteers across the state of MN.

Areas for Improvement

N
Sportsmen for Change has the potential to be more effective, but a staff of one can only do so much. Despite the staff of one, they are extremely effective as is.
St Croix River Association (1 recommendation) Over the last several years, the SCRA has turned a 100-year-old social group who gets together a couple of times a year to socialize, into a major force for water quality throughout the St. Croix Watershed. In the last year they have done substantial work on water quality and in leadership throughout the basin on this issue.
St Croix River Association

http://www.stcroixriverassociation.org/

Evidence of Impact

F
Over the last several years, the SCRA has turned a 100-year-old social group who gets together a couple of times a year to socialize, into a major force for water quality throughout the St. Croix Watershed. In the last year they have done substantial work on water quality and in leadership throughout the basin on this issue.

Organizational Strengths

F
They have their first ever executive director, a person highly skilled in management of resource nonprofits. They have formed a cohesive relationship with the National Park Service and the St. Croix Valley Foundation for asset development for work in the watershed. They have a board that is completely dedicated to the conservation of the St. Croix River.

Areas for Improvement

F
They need operating dollars for additional staff.
Sustainable Farming Association of Minnesota (1 recommendation) They provide statewide networking, information, and support to farmers who are good stewards of the land. The model is farmer driven and spread throughout the State. They have statewide staff who assist the regions and provide statewide convening.
Sustainable Farming Association of Minnesota
Bronze-small

http://www.sfa-mn.org/

Evidence of Impact

O
They provide statewide networking, information, and support to farmers who are good stewards of the land. The model is farmer driven and spread throughout the State. They have statewide staff who assist the regions and provide statewide convening.

Organizational Strengths

O
They attract really high quality staff and they are good collaborators with other partners. They have invested in having good communications and it shows.

Areas for Improvement

O
Their staff are spread too thin. For example, they have only one full-time statewide staff person to serve all the regional chapters. SFA would make more progress if they had some dedicated staff to work with the various chapters.
The ReUse Center (1 recommendation) The Green Institute has an excellent track record, is a leader in the field with demonstration projects, and deeply engages communities on environmental impacts, community benefits, policy change and green workforce development.
The ReUse Center
Bronze-small

http://www.thereusecenter.com/

Evidence of Impact

F
The Green Institute has an excellent track record, is a leader in the field with demonstration projects, and deeply engages communities on environmental impacts, community benefits, policy change and green workforce development.

Organizational Strengths

F
Their staff have extensive experience and work well with diverse community interests.

Areas for Improvement

F
Revenue diversification has been a challenge. The organization has to expand donor engagement and involve individual donors in new ways.
Tree Trust (1 recommendation) They make an impact by exposing urban youth to nature and the environment, and neighborhood improvement in general.
Tree Trust
Silver-small

http://www.treetrust.org/

Evidence of Impact

R
They make an impact by exposing urban youth to nature and the environment, and neighborhood improvement in general.

Organizational Strengths

R
They are well staffed and organized. They are effective both in education and for neighborhoods.

Areas for Improvement

R
They could do more to recruit students to natural resources and environmental careers.
U.S. Green Building Council- Minnesota Chapter (1 recommendation) The US Green Building Council has made significant contributions to develop standards for energy friendly/conservation homes. I believe it is only the start to what will happen for all structures in the US.
U.S. Green Building Council- Minnesota Chapter

http://www.usgbc.org/

Evidence of Impact

O
The US Green Building Council has made significant contributions to develop standards for energy friendly/conservation homes. I believe it is only the start to what will happen for all structures in the US.
Union of Concerned Scientists (1 recommendation) UCS was an important partner in advocating for MN's progressive energy laws. The legal and scientific resources they provided to that effort had a large impact. More recently, they have not been as active in MN.
Union of Concerned Scientists
Silver-small

http://www.ucsusa.org/

Evidence of Impact

O
UCS was an important partner in advocating for MN's progressive energy laws. The legal and scientific resources they provided to that effort had a large impact. More recently, they have not been as active in MN.

Organizational Strengths

O
Depth of knowledge and professionalism are strengths
Upper Mississippi River Basin Association (1 recommendation) On the issues of dams, navigation, levees, floodplains, water quality and the near-river environment in general, no one organization has done more (from the standpoint of fostering real environmental gains) than UMRBA. UMRBA was formed by the Governors of Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, and Wisconsin to coordinate those states' river-related programs and policies and work with federal agencies that have river responsibilities. The organization has met that coordination goal with precision, effectiveness, resulting in real environmental gains for the Upper Mississippi as a whole, including the Minnesota stretch of the River. Prior to UMRBA's involvement on the scene, public and private River initiatives were not really driven by an overarching, all-inclusive vision; projects were not truly integrated; corrective and protective measures suffered from mission shortsightedness, even when occasionally couched in terms of systemic solutions; NGOs, agencies, private stakeholders, states and other entities largely acted as separate disembodied appendages, exhibiting little sense of direction, an insular set of priorities, and at best an incomplete investment from the communities they serve. UMRBA reversed that fragmented reality into a well-coordinated interagency and interstate initiative that has produced tangible outcomes and improvements, including: planning, coordination, and mapping hazardous spill responses in the basin; assuring the development, funding, implementation and evaluation of the Federal Environmental Management Program (with very effective and comprehensive restoration and monitoring components), and the allied Navigation and Ecosystem Sustainability Program; and providing a sorely-needed forum for states and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to implement Clean Water Act improvements in a cost-effective and coordinated manner.
Upper Mississippi River Basin Association

http://www.umrba.org/

Evidence of Impact

N
On the issues of dams, navigation, levees, floodplains, water quality and the near-river environment in general, no one organization has done more (from the standpoint of fostering real environmental gains) than UMRBA. UMRBA was formed by the Governors of Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, and Wisconsin to coordinate those states' river-related programs and policies and work with federal agencies that have river responsibilities. The organization has met that coordination goal with precision, effectiveness, resulting in real environmental gains for the Upper Mississippi as a whole, including the Minnesota stretch of the River. Prior to UMRBA's involvement on the scene, public and private River initiatives were not really driven by an overarching, all-inclusive vision; projects were not truly integrated; corrective and protective measures suffered from mission shortsightedness, even when occasionally couched in terms of systemic solutions; NGOs, agencies, private stakeholders, states and other entities largely acted as separate disembodied appendages, exhibiting little sense of direction, an insular set of priorities, and at best an incomplete investment from the communities they serve. UMRBA reversed that fragmented reality into a well-coordinated interagency and interstate initiative that has produced tangible outcomes and improvements, including: planning, coordination, and mapping hazardous spill responses in the basin; assuring the development, funding, implementation and evaluation of the Federal Environmental Management Program (with very effective and comprehensive restoration and monitoring components), and the allied Navigation and Ecosystem Sustainability Program; and providing a sorely-needed forum for states and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to implement Clean Water Act improvements in a cost-effective and coordinated manner.

Organizational Strengths

N
UMRBA is a well-run organization from its most senior managers through its day-to-day staff. All know their jobs, the issues and the organizations with whom they interact very well. The organization is very well-run financially. UMRBA is well-directed by its Executive Director who is highly-skilled and well-suited for the position.

Areas for Improvement

N
UMRBA could do more to reach out and network with organizations outside of its immediate sphere with whom they normally interact. This would expand their influence and raise their recognition in the region.
Urban Land Institute, Minnesota (1 recommendation) The Minnesota Chapter of the ULI brings together a strong coalition of mayors, developers, planners, designers and academics to critically think about land use, environmental and housing solutions. Different focus groups that often find themselves at opposite sides can come together at ULI to discuss land use opportunities that support business development.
Urban Land Institute, Minnesota

http://minnesota.uli.org/

Evidence of Impact

O
The Minnesota Chapter of the ULI brings together a strong coalition of mayors, developers, planners, designers and academics to critically think about land use, environmental and housing solutions. Different focus groups that often find themselves at opposite sides can come together at ULI to discuss land use opportunities that support business development.

Organizational Strengths

O
They have broad leadership throughout the region.

Areas for Improvement

O
There could be more allowance for a next generation of leaders within the organization. There is leadership training, which is excellent.
Whitefish Area Property Owners Association (1 recommendation) They have supported research efforts to discover the most effective methods of shoreland protection. They have supported and provided education in innovative ways to landowners for shoreland protection.
Whitefish Area Property Owners Association

http://d47674.u60.honeycomb.com/group/whitefish/test-2-0/

Evidence of Impact

O
They have supported research efforts to discover the most effective methods of shoreland protection. They have supported and provided education in innovative ways to landowners for shoreland protection.

Organizational Strengths

O
Their strengths are leadership and innovation.
Wilderness Watch (1 recommendation) No other nonprofit environmental organization in the country has more impact in protecting wilderness areas after the areas have been designated by Congress. The four federal land management agencies that manage wilderness recognize Wilderness Watch as the premier nonprofit in this field.
Wilderness Watch

http://www.wildernesswatch.org/

Evidence of Impact

N
No other nonprofit environmental organization in the country has more impact in protecting wilderness areas after the areas have been designated by Congress. The four federal land management agencies that manage wilderness recognize Wilderness Watch as the premier nonprofit in this field.

Organizational Strengths

N
The leadership of the board is both deep and broad. The staff expertise is the best in the country on wilderness stewardship/management issues of the 110-million-acre National Wilderness Preservation System.

Areas for Improvement

N
The organization is incredibly effective with the tiny budget it has; it would be even more effective with greater financial resources. The organization's members are incredibly committed, but many more members would increase the organization's effectiveness, too.
Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center (1 recommendation) They have a well developed program, staff and facility for environmental education.
Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center

http://www.wolf-ridge.org/

Evidence of Impact

R
They have a well developed program, staff and facility for environmental education.

Organizational Strengths

R
It tends to have a quality staff and program.

Areas for Improvement

R
They need resources to do a better job in getting the message out, such as marketing.
Youth Farm and Market Project (1 recommendation) The programs led by this organization are extraordinary and have a great impact on hundred of urban youth in the Twin Cities area every year, helping them develop leadership skills, an understanding of local foods and appreciation for the work it takes to harvest, sell and cook healthy, sustainable foods. Their work delivers a very important message, for our generation and for those to come.
Youth Farm and Market Project
Silver-small

http://youthfarm.net/

Evidence of Impact

N
The programs led by this organization are extraordinary and have a great impact on hundred of urban youth in the Twin Cities area every year, helping them develop leadership skills, an understanding of local foods and appreciation for the work it takes to harvest, sell and cook healthy, sustainable foods. Their work delivers a very important message, for our generation and for those to come.

Organizational Strengths

N
The staff are absolutely wonderful youth leaders; energetic, knowledgeable, and have a passion for the work. They have also done a great job raising the funds to continue making the organization better and more impactful.

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