Minneapolis, MN, May 8, 2013 — Envision Minnesota, a nonprofit formerly known as 1000 Friends of Minnesota, announces that it intends to merge its operations with the Great Plains Institute (GPI), subject to the final approval of GPI's Board of Directors. Envision Minnesota’s Board of Directors sees the merger as an opportunity to increase its impact and more effectively achieve its mission, promoting development that creates healthy communities while conserving natural areas, family farms, woodlands and water.
The Great Plains Institute is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that convenes diverse interests to build consensus for advancing sustainable energy policy and practices in seven programmatic areas: energy efficiency, energy infrastructure, fossil energy, renewable energy & fuels, transportation, international collaboration, and sustainable communities. As part of their sustainable communities work, GPI leads a public-private partnership called GreenStep Cities, a voluntary, statewide program that assists Minnesota cities in achieving their sustainable development goals across five areas – land use, transportation, economic & community development, buildings, and environmental management. In two years, GreenStep Cities has grown to 54 participating communities, which represent 23 percent of the state’s population.
“We believe this merger makes sense because of the Great Plains Institute’s record of success, and how strongly our mission aligns with the GreenStep Cities program, which offers a great vehicle for bringing to scale many of the proven solutions we have championed,” says Lee Helgen, Executive Director of Envision Minnesota. “We also like GPI’s ability to impact public policy at a broader scale, helping the nation, region and state achieve a sustainable energy system and globally competitive communities. Being part of a larger organization has long-term benefits for our mission.”
Envision Minnesota has been a strong advocate for sustainable development and growth management policy since it incorporated in 1998. Envision Minnesota has led several regional and statewide policy initiatives to promote coordinated development strategies across the state, including passage of the Community-Based Planning Act.
Envision Minnesota has provided direct community assistance to townships and cities statewide to help them overcome barriers to creating livable, walkable cities through locally and federally funded initiatives. Envision Minnesota’s most recent community assistance programs have been the 10-city Community Growth Options program funded by The McKnight Foundation, and the 6-city technical assistance program funded through the competitively awarded US EPA’s Office of Sustainable Communities’ “Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities” grant, made to Forterra and the Building Sustainable Communities Consortium, of which Envision Minnesota is a member.
Funding for the Sustainable Communities program has been temporarily suspended due to federal sequestration. The program may resume at some point after October 2013 with the Great Plains Institute likely taking Envision Minnesota’s place as the Minnesota partner in the Building Sustainable Communities Consortium.
“The Great Plains Institute is the perfect place to continue the work of Envision Minnesota,” says Rolf Nordstrom, Executive Director of GPI. “Envision’s focus on promoting well-planned communities and urban areas will be critical to attracting talented people and the best businesses to our region, and to minimizing the energy and environmental footprint of our cities. We admire the work that Envision Minnesota carried out for so many years and are honored to carry on its legacy.”
The two organizations anticipate that the merger will take place July 1, 2013, pending completion of a due diligence process.
About Envision Minnesota
Envision Minnesota (originally 1000 Friends of Minnesota) was developed to address citizens’ concerns with Minnesota’s sprawling growth patterns. Envision Minnesota provides policy and advocacy, local community assistance, and education and communications on sustainable land-use practices. Envision Minnesota promotes development that enhances the best of Minnesota: thriving small towns and cities, healthy natural resources and a growing economy.
About the Great Plains Institute
The Great Plains Institute is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that takes a pragmatic approach to our energy and climate change challenges—working with diverse interests to transform the way we produce, distribute, and consume energy to be both environmentally and economically sustainable. Through research and analysis, consensus policy development, and technology acceleration, GPI is leading the transition to clean, efficient and secure energy.
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For further information, contact Lee Helgen, Envision Minnesota Executive Director, at 612-767-0500 or email@example.com.