History and development
During fall 2007, Minnesota's Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs) held regional listening sessions around the state to discuss community-based energy opportunities and the state's Next Generation Energy Act of 2007. The idea was raised of creating a sustainable cities program, free to cities, that would challenge, assist and recognize cities that were "green stars." This idea was taken up by the 2008 Legislature, which directed the MPCA, the Division of Energy Resources at the Minnesota Department of Commerce, and CERTs to recommend actions cities could take on a voluntary basis.
Those recommendations are contained in the report Minnesota GreenStep Cities. Representatives from dozens of cities, non-profit organizations, businesses and state government agencies provided the outline for what has been developed as the Minnesota GreenStep Cities program, which began in June 2010. As a non-regulatory program, GreenStep learns from Minnesota cities and assistance providers, and continually refines the best practice actions and the resources for taking action. The program also benefits from contact with a dozen other GreenStep-like programs across the nation, and helped create the National Network of Statewide-Local Sustainability Organizations in 2015.
In May 2012 the GreenStep Cities program received awards in the categories of Sustainable Communities and 2012 Partnership of the Year from the Minnesota organization Environmental Initiative. The awards honor partnerships, inspire other organizations to create similar projects, and encourage collaborative approaches to environmental problem solving. Over 340 attendees at the awards dinner voted among the 15 finalists nominated for the 2012 Partnership of the Year.
In 2016 the Humphrey Institute School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota presented GreenStep with a State Government Innovation Award: one of ten awards to recognize state government entities engaged in innovation and service redesign.
Of the organizations that created the 2009 report to the Legislature, this working group below meets monthly as the GreenStep Cities steering committee, contributing time and funding to implement the GreenStep Cities program.
In addition to staff time and funding contributed by the state agencies above to work on the GreenStep program, several funders support the staff time of personnel from the six non-profit GreenStep partner organizations. Others wishing to support the program may contact Lola Schoenrich [ email@example.com ] of the Great Plains Institute. The GreenStep program greatly appreciates the support of the following major funders:
|McKnight Foundation||The Metropolitan Council|