Green Partners grants awarded in 2023
In August 2023, the county awarded 28 Green Partners environmental education grants totaling $707,550 to community organizations to engage their audiences in learning about and taking action to protect the environment. Together, these projects will engage more than 9,500 people, including more than 7,500 youth, offer green job employment and training to more than 50 youth, and reach more than 220,000 people with environmental messages.
The program prioritizes environmental education and engagement with audiences that experience disparities.
The program includes three types of grants. Nine organizations will work primarily with adult audiences to motivate environmental actions, 14 organizations will work primarily with youth on learning about the environment and becoming environmental stewards, and five organizations will offer green jobs education, training, and employment.
Since the program was established in 2012, the county has awarded 231 grants totaling more than $2.8 million.
Environmental action grants
Center for Community Services
Educate, Replace and Reuse
$10,000 to engage 150 low-income seniors, Chinese and Vietnamese residents in reducing the use of single-use plastic bags and disposable cups while promoting the use of reusable water bottles through educational workshops, marketing, and distribution of reusable water bottles and shopping bags.
Clean Water Fund
Healthy Homes: reducing hazardous waste and plastic
$22,500 to engage 240 participants in reducing and eliminating the use of toxic chemicals at home and reducing the use of single-use plastics.
Community-owned Affordable Solar and Efficiency
$25,000 over two years to engage 500 low to moderate income renters, homeowners, tenants of affordable housing in accessing energy efficiency programs, including joining a cooperatively-owned community solar garden in their community and receiving support to take the next step on weatherization and energy efficiency including direct installs of LED light-bulbs and low-flow faucets and shower heads.
Minnesota Swahili Christian Congregation
$12,000 to engage 150 church congregants in practicing and learning about waste prevention, using reusable water bottles on-the-go, and using reusable supplies during community meals.
Mississippi Park Connection
BIPOC in the Outdoors
$50,000 over two years to engage 150 Black, Indigenous, and people of color from across Hennepin County in connecting with the Mississippi River through outdoor experiences and education about its cultural and environmental significance. This project centers the experiences of BIPOC community members and their relationship to nature, land, and each other.
Resilient Cities and Communities
Hiawatha Watershed Adopt a Drain and Neighborhood Clean Ups
$25,000 to engage 250 residents of south Minneapolis in taking action in their neighborhood to protect water by cleaning out storm drains and cleaning up litter along Lake Hiawatha’s shoreline.
Somali America Women Action Center
$20,500 to engage 250 East African residents from Minneapolis and Edina in reducing waste by sewing and using a Dambiil (fabric tote bag) instead of plastic bags, reducing waste, composting, and learning about climate change.
Tangletown Neighborhood Association
Managing Electronic, Appliance, and Tech Waste Responsibly
$14,650 to engage 350 residents of Tangletown Neighborhood and Hennepin County in repairing and prolonging the life of power tools, appliances, and technology devices and learning about tool share, waste reduction, and proper recycling practices for appliances and electronics.
The Richfield Foundation (Altlawns of Richfield and Bloomington)
Creating Habitat with Sustainable Landscaping
$50,000 over two years engage 200 homeowners and renters in Richfield, Bloomington, and surrounding cities in adding container gardens and replacing existing lawns with native plants to support wildlife, protect water, improve air quality, and reduce the heat island effect.
Youth environmental education grants
Appetite for Change
$11,700 to engage 150 youth in environmental experiences through urban agriculture programming. Youth will cultivate knowledge and respect for the land, water, and healthy food organic by engaging and learning about aquaponics, conventional farming, vertical farming, and urban farming at their garden sites and Deep Winter Greenhouse.
Bancroft Neighborhood Association
Beloved Community Minneapolis
$50,000 over two years to engage 100 youth in hands-on, neighborhood-based projects that connect them with neighbors and the natural environment and contribute to community wellness and vibrancy. Through the Beloved Community Minneapolis project, youth spend most of their time outdoors on green projects, including growing and providing neighbors with locally-grown food in areas where fresh food is not easily available, bee keeping, learning to extend the growing season and how to cook the food they grow, and hosting community meals to share what they have grown and learned.
Indigenous Pathways – Green Tech Institute
$50,000 over two years to engage 120 high school youth learning about Indigenous practices and green tech through activities such as wild ricing, Sugar Bush science and sugaring practices, field testing and analysis of water and air quality, environmental forensics, and education on topics of environmental pollution, treaty rights and food sovereignty, and environmental justice.
Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board
Nature from the Inside Out
$25,000 to support a partnership between the park district, Jenny Lind, Cityview, and Bethune Elementary Schools in north Minneapolis to create an innovative curriculum that will engage 300 to 600 youth in experiential outdoor, nature-based environmental education that meets Minnesota state education standards.
Northside Residents Redevelopment Council
NRRC Youth Green Team
$23,700 to engage 150 youth in sustainable practices at their Demonstration Site for Healthy Urban Living in north Minneapolis. Youth will learn about urban farming, sustainable food systems, pollinators, native plants, composting, and water conservation.
Expansive Pollinator Education and Pollinate Minnesota and Minneapolis Public Schools
$20,000 to engage more than 900 students and 25 teachers in pollinator education and outdoor activities. Youth learn about honeybees and wild bees and gather data and serve as community scientists Teachers will be supported through teacher workshops and programming to gain confidence in teaching outdoors and infuse STEAM into their curriculum.
Regents of the University of Minnesota (Hennepin County 4-H)
Environmental Educator Capacity Building
$25,000 to engage 150 youth in learning about topics such as sustainable polymers, climate change, trees, and water through summer day camp programming and E-Clubs at Brooklyn Center, Anderson Middle, Hiawatha Academy, Sanford Middle, and Hall STEM Academy schools and Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board. The project will also support and build educator capacity and motivation to deliver environmental education.
Youth curriculum: Reuse for the future
$23,500 to engage 100 students from Roosevelt High, Edison High, and Longfellow Alternative High schools in hands-on learning about reuse such as repair, resale, and rental in ways students can incorporate into their daily lives. Students will learn mending skills at the school thrift store and explore reuse as a possible career in the future.
Riverside Plaza Tenants and Community
RPTA Green Partners Education
$12,000 to engage 150 youth in learning about sustainable landscaping, water protection, waste, renewable energy, and sustainable transportation. Youth will participate in field trips and spend time outdoors improving the environment.
Spark-Y Urban Ag as Youth Environmental Education at PYC Arts
$22,900 to engage 200 students from PYC Arts and Tech Alternative High School in learning about environmental sustainability issues. Students will co-design, build, and maintenance of aquaponics and outdoor gardening systems.
The Highpoint Center for Printmaking
Creative Clean Water Stewards Project
$37,400 over two years to engage 200 students from Burroughs Community School, Nellie Stone Johnson Community School, Whittier International Elementary School, and Ella Baker Global Studies and Humanities School in the study of rain gardens, clean water initiatives, recycling, preventing waste, pollinators, and protecting local bodies of water through outdoor education sessions, hands-on printmaking activities, poetry writing, and art exhibitions.
We All Need Food and Water
Green Puppets - Red Light, Green Light
$10,000 to educate 750 to 2,500 youth and their families on environmental topics through puppet shows on pollinators, water, air, and other environmental topics. Families will engage in environmental actions through kid-friendly, hands-on activities after each show.
Canoemobile: Connecting Minneapolis Youth to Nature-based Education and Exploration
$5,000 to engage 200 Elementary and Middle school age youth from Minneapolis Public Schools in age-appropriate environmental education lessons in water quality and exploration of local flora and fauna with interdisciplinary themes including STEM, cultural and geographic history, and language arts through activities such as canoeing, water quality lessons, and nature hikes. For 80% of participants, Canoemobile is their first organized outdoor experience.
Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) of the North
Camp Ihduhapi Farm and Garden Program
$12,000 to engage 4,000 pre-school, elementary, and middle school youth in exploring and studying nature and learning about sustainable and environmentally responsible farming, water protection, local ecosystems, renewable energy, tree care, and more at Camp Ihduhapi.
Youth green jobs grants
EMERGE Community Development
Youth Internships in Solar Installation and Urban Farming
$30,000 to engage up to 12 youth and hire eight youth from north Minneapolis who face disparities in engaging in green jobs training in solar installation and practice in urban farming.
Northside Safety NET
$30,000 to engage up to 50 youth and hire 15 to 18 youth from north Minneapolis who face disparities in learning about green jobs, environmental justice, environmental policy, and green jobs in renewable energy, urban agriculture, stormwater management, forestry, and maintenance of green infrastructure.
Environmental Justice and Social Justice Youth Employees
$30,000 to engage up to 50 youth and hire four youth from Minneapolis who face disparities in learning about green jobs and completing Sustainable Landcare Training.
Pillsbury United Communities
Ladders to Leadership Green Jobs
$29,700 to hire five youth from Minneapolis who face disparities in learning about green jobs and receiving training in urban farming, food systems, and waste management.
Green Garden Bakery
$30,000 to engage up to 30 youth and hire 18 youth from Heritage Park in north Minneapolis who face disparities in learning about green jobs and receiving training for urban farming and business-related sustainability practices.
Green Partners grants awarded in 2022
In July 2022, the county awarded 26 Green Partners environmental education grants totaling $470,100. Five 2-year grants were awarded to the following groups whose work will continue in 2023:
Youth environmental education grants
Minnesota African Women’s Association
$40,000 over two years to engage 150 Pan African youth ages 14 to 18 in intensive curriculum and environmental action programming around recycling, reducing waste, and removing toxic household products from the home. Youth will also learn leadership, advocacy, and critical thinking skills related to motivating behavior change and teaching others to take action.
Nawayee Center School
$40,000 over two years to engage 150 Native American youth in grades 7 through 12 in the Phillips Neighborhood of south Minneapolis in learning about soil, agriculture, and Indigenous plants by working in the school garden and community gardens around Hennepin County.
Environmental action grants
Lao Assistance Center of Minnesota
$40,000 over two years engage 150 Southeast Asian community members from Minneapolis, Brooklyn Park, and Brooklyn Center to begin recycling at home and on the go and use reusable bags for grocery trips through outreach by their Asian American Pacific Islanders (AAPI) Green Team.
MN Renewable Now
$40,000 over two years to engage 150 residents in north Minneapolis in reducing their carbon footprint by making it easy and convenient to sign-up for and participate in energy audits and renewable energy programs and learn about green energy job opportunities.
Off the Blue Couch
$40,000 over two years to engage 150 Black, Indigenous, and people of color from north Minneapolis in recycling by making it easier to participate by setting up at-home waste stations, helping families sign up for organics recycling, and educating on climate change and waste.