Announcing Green Umbrella's 2020 Impact Teams

December 11, 2019 12:41 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

Last night, Green Umbrella hosted its Annual Meeting. Over 170 members gathered to share stories, connect on ideas and hear what Green Umbrella has planned for the coming year. We talked about the fruits of our strategic planning process, the highlights of which are a new mission and vision and a new set of Impact Areas and Impact Teams to help us get there. If you weren’t able to be there, here is what you missed.

Mission: We lead collaboration, incubate ideas and catalyze solutions that create a resilient, sustainable region for all.  

Vision: A vibrant community where sustainability is woven into our ways of life.

Audience: Organizations and individuals interested in convening around sustainability; Community influencers and decision makers capable of driving impact.

This year our community thought a lot about what impact we want to have. With our combined efforts we are inspired to improve the health of our region’s people, climate, and landscape through the work of our collective impact teams. 

In 2020 and beyond, our passion and expertise will be focused in four Impact Areas. 

  • People: We want residents of our region to thrive because they have access to nature, healthy environments, fresh food and transportation options. 

  • Policy: We want local governments across our 10 county region to reduce their climate footprint and use natural systems and smart development to improve their livability and resiliency. 

  • Built Environment: We want property managers to improve the sustainability of their campuses and the health of people who work and play in them. 

  • Landscape: We want our vibrant landscape to provide quality habitat, ecosystem services (including carbon sequestration and stormwater management) and connect people to place and each other.

Impact Teams within each of the Impact Areas will pull together key stakeholders to focus on a specific, strategic goal that contributes to the vision of the Impact Area. We announced a set of teams that have been proposed by our Action Teams, initiatives and partners. Some of these are already up and running, some will be forming in early 2020 and others will begin exploratory work to determine if the time is right for collective impact on this issue, and if Green Umbrella is the right entity to convene it. Your feedback will help us start that process.

Proposed Impact Teams by Area

  • People: Tri-State Trails, the Food Policy Council and the Outdoor Action Team have long focused on the human-health side of sustainability by improving access to healthy food, active transportation options and time in nature. We’ll continue their work.

    • With Schools:

      • CPS Outside is working to create equitable opportunities for Cincinnati Public Schools’ students to get outside and experience environmental education.

      • The Farm to School team is coordinating planning with 4 school districts to increase purchasing of locally-grown food by schools and educate students about where food comes from.

    • With Health care providers:

      • The Healthy Eating and Health Care team is developing partnerships with healthcare institutions to solve the issues of food as a social determinant of health in our communities. 

      • Outdoors Rx will partner with health care and insurance providers to encourage prescriptions for time outside to improve health outcomes for patients.

    • The Zero Food to Landfill’  impact team will work on best practices to prevent wasted food and recover surplus food to feed hungry people, while organizing wide-spread adoption and implementation in our region. 

    • Exploring new territory for us, the Environmental Health and Housing team is interested in responding to growing concerns that conditions in and air quality around low-income multi-family housing are bad for residents’ health. We will look to connect various efforts regarding energy efficiency, landlord accountability and environmental contaminants in low-income multi-family housing.

  • Policy: Green Umbrella is pursuing funding for a new staff member to lead a set of teams designed to support local governments in adopting carbon-reduction targets, smart development and transportation planning and land management practices that mitigate against an unpredictable future. Not all governments have the staff capacity to pursue these on their own. Our members can use their expertise to develop model policy, ordinances and other tools that will be valuable to governments across the region and accomplish our shared goals. The specific teams would be Energy, Transportation and Land Use and Ecosystem Services.

  • Built Environment

    • The Cincinnati 2030 District is working towards four major targets with the buildings committed to being part of the District. Each goal will have a team of experts and “users” designing and vetting solutions in that area.

      • The 2030 Water team focuses on rolling out strategies that reduce water use 50% by 2030, to include water harvesting and reuse technology.

      • The 2030 Transportation team works on employer-driven solutions to cut in half emissions related to commuting. Their work is going to be a lot easier if the Reinventing Metro plan gets funded in the March election.

      • The 2030 Energy team guides members in reducing their energy use 50% by 2030 and increase purchasing of renewable energy.

      • The 2030 Health team is working to improve the health of building occupants by implementing key WELL building recommendations.

    • We envision our work in the built environment stretching beyond the 2030 District and local government. Two opportunities are emerging thanks to partnerships, which we look forward to exploring. 

      • Commercial Waste Reduction: through the Beyond 34 collaboration we hope to forge the silver bullet that will improve recycling in the commercial sector.

      • Faith Communities Go Green: religious congregations own and manage properties in every corner of our region. We will explore how we could support congregations from all faiths to decrease their climate footprint through their campuses, educational programming and household commitments to going green. 

  • Landscape conservation depends on collaboration across geographies, sectors, and cultures to protect and restore our landscapes and the ecological, cultural, and economic benefits they provide. 

    • The Priority Land Protection team will develop a regional greenspace prioritization tool designed to coordinate local entities in their land management and preservation strategies. 

    • The Healthy Soils team is building a coalition of farmers and policy makers to champion Healthy Soils state legislation so that land managers adopt regenerative practices that are good for climate, crops and communities.

    • The Riparian Restoration team will start by supporting local agencies in crafting the Nine Element Plans that will allow them to access large pots of state and federal funding to restore local waterways.

In order to get anywhere close to this vision, we need to step up our game. We need to engage all of the organizations who have a stake in this work. We need to continuously improve our process for convening collective impact. Based on the feedback you provided in our strategic planning process, and our experience over the last 9 years, we have developed a framework for taking our impact to the next level. Each Impact Team should be populated with the full range of perspectives needed to make progress towards a goal. Team members will be engaged in work that directly aligns with the work of the team, either through their job, community involvement or lived experience. The collaborative work should help everyone do what they do better. A Green Umbrella staff member, including our initiative staff, will support the teams to plan and facilitate productive meetings, keep members accountable, lead evaluation processes and connect the dots between teams. Overall, we want to create high quality, consistent, engaging experiences that make participants excited to come to meetings and amazed by how much they accomplish together. Our staff will be skilling up for this task and we invite you to join us. We will bring in experts for quarterly professional development so we can all advance our practice in collaborative change. 

Now that you have a sense of our potential scope of work for 2020, you’ll see why we need more support from our members than ever to move from concept to action. We want you to let us know which of these teams directly connect to your work, or the work of someone else at your organization. To do that, just complete this survey. If you give us your feedback by Monday, December 16, we will be able to include your interest in our first round of communications around the teams.  

If you are not already a member of Green Umbrella (either as an organization or an individual), we encourage you to join today so you can get the inside scoop on the roll out of our new Impact Teams. If you are a member, we ask you to consider taking your commitment to the next level. We want people to see Green Umbrella as more than a membership organization. We want people across Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana to see us the same way funders from across the country see us: as a best-in-class investment opportunity delivering efficient and effective environmental change across a multitude of impact areas. Donate today to fuel our progress towards this ambitious scope of work.

Thank you for your continued, and hopefully expanding support of Green Umbrella with your time and resources in 2020.

Ryan Mooney-Bullock
Executive Director
Green Umbrella

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