• May 03, 2017 3:42 PM | Anonymous


    Great Start-ups: A Green Umbrella Success Story

    New social ventures have problems getting started. No matter how wonderful their motivating ideas, start-ups face a chicken-and-egg dilemma. They need funding to get organized but cannot accept most kinds of support until they legally exist as tax-exempt nonprofit corporations.

    Green Umbrella offers nonprofit start-ups the advantage of our tax-exempt status. Their successes show how collective impact and a strong “backbone” organization can support aligned activities.

    Red Bike may be the most visible example. The idea of a bike-share program came from Leadership Cincinnati, our region's flagship leadership-development program. A start-up team approached Green Umbrella for help in 2012. With a fiscal sponsorship agreement in place, grants and other commitments developed quickly, and funds transferred through Green Umbrella.  In addition, Green Umbrella lent board members.  The President of Red Bike’s Board of Directors said the initiative had “gotten off to a dream start.” 

    When Red Bike was ready to hire an executive director, Green Umbrella managed the logistics of the search process and played a leadership role in the selection. An attorney on Green Umbrella’s board volunteered his time to apply for Red Bike’s independent nonprofit registration.

    Look at the results: The bike-share system opened to the public in the Downtown, Over-the-Rhine, and Uptown neighborhoods in September 2014 with 35 stations and 260 bikes. Now it has 56 stations and extends into Northside and Northern Kentucky. Red Bike regularly exceeds participation goals and has won recognition as the most fiscally sound bike-share system in the country.

    Here are some other examples of Green Umbrella’s history of incubating start-ups:

    Taking Root is an initiative that addresses the current historic loss of our region’s trees. The aim is to plant two million trees by 2020 and promote better tree management and conservation. Green Umbrella was a founding partner in the campaign and the fiscal sponsor before Taking Root obtained legal status as a nonprofit. Nearly half a million tress have been planted to date, and Taking Root won a national award for volunteerism in 2016.

    Outdoor Adventure Clubs of Greater Cincinnati takes urban teens out into nature for healthy recreation — hiking, biking, kayaking, camping, fishing, climbing, skiing, and more. Green Umbrella acted as fiscal sponsor for OAC in 2015. Now an independent nonprofit, OAC provides no-cost outdoor activities for 2,500 area high-school students each year. The focus is on underserved areas where access to safe outdoor recreation is difficult. The adventures take many participants out of their neighborhoods for the first time. These youngsters can become the next generation of advocates for the environment. In 2016, Green Umbrella transferred Ohio River Paddlefest, the largest padding event in the nation, to OAC to serve as an annual fundraiser for them.

    Sidestreams Foundation builds gardens and launches food projects in collaboration with people living in food-desert communities. Beginning in 2011, this was the first of Green Umbrella’s fiscal-sponsorship undertakings. Today Sidestreams is creating farms from vacant urban land, building group and individual gardens, and sponsoring educational programs. Sidestreams’ 686 gardens in Madisonville and Newport provide thousands of pounds of fresh vegetables and eggs to individuals, food pantries, and farm markets.

    Green Umbrella, our region’s alliance to maximize environmental sustainability, looks forward to enabling many more great initiatives to benefit our community.

    Written by Bob Temple, longtime member of Green Umbrella's Board of Trustees.

    ____________________

    Green Umbrella is the leading alliance working to maximize the environmental sustainability of Greater Cincinnati. We drive collaboration to fuel measurable improvements in key areas of sustainability. Our vision is to have the region recognized as one of the top 10 most sustainable metro areas in the nation by 2020. For more information or to become a member, please visit www.greenumbrella.org.


  • May 03, 2017 1:49 PM | Anonymous

    May 12 marks the end of early-bird registration for the 2017 Midwest Regional Sustainability Summit! This conference, co-hosted by Green Umbrella, features discussions about new ideas for environmental sustainability and digs deeper into issues of equity. This year's keynote speaker is Van Jones, a leader in the green economy and best-selling author of The Green Collar Economy. To learn more and to register, click here.

  • April 28, 2017 1:44 PM | Anonymous

    The 23rd annual International Trails Symposium is coming to Dayton, Ohio May 7-10! This event, hosted by American Trails, features the Professional TrailBuilders Association, a Sustainable Trails workshop series and Technical Track. For more about the conference and to get tickets, click here.

  • April 25, 2017 4:24 PM | Anonymous

    Green Umbrella is now accepting applications for a Communications and Program Intern for the summer.  We are seeking a Communications & Program Intern to work approximately 15-20 hours per week ideally starting in May and lasting through September, with the possibility for an extension. The Communications & Program Intern will work closely with the Communications & Program Manager to produce and manage Green Umbrella’s communications materials that reach a broad public audience, as well as provide support for key organizational events. Click here to learn more about the position. 

    Applications will be accepted until the position is filled; please refer to our Green Jobs page to stay updated. No phone calls please.

  • April 25, 2017 11:37 AM | Anonymous
    Green jobs in the Queen City have exploded in recent years, earning national recognition. The home of CH2M and the Environmental Quality Management Inc., Cincinnati has an average of 6.7 green jobs for 100,000 residents. To see other cities in the ranking, click here.
  • April 21, 2017 11:34 AM | Anonymous

    The City of Erlanger, KY is working on a plan to create a better walking path for pedestrians in a busy section of town. By creating a serpentine sidewalk at the intersection of Dixie Highway and Erlanger Road, the city hopes to connect walking patrons to the businesses in the area. To read the full story, click here.

  • April 17, 2017 9:32 AM | Anonymous

    The year 2020 is quickly approaching and with it, the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. At Green Umbrella, we’re working hard to make Greater Cincinnati a top 10 metro area for sustainability before then. We’re already making progress. Our region has over 101,000 acres of protected greenspace to date; we’ve seen a 55% increase in farmers markets in just the last three years; and there is now $191 million in slated funding for walkable and bike-friendly communities.

    The national recognition has also begun. Greater Cincinnati has ranked in the top 10 for our parks, trees, bike commuting, local food, and for our commitment to sustainability. This makes our region a great place for businesses to locate, and for people seeking an active outdoor lifestyle and a vibrant metro area.

    Green Umbrella’s Action Teams have 2020 goals for key areas of impact including: greenspace, outdoor recreation, local food, energy, waste reduction, transportation and water. Instead of resting when we exceeded two of our goals early, we set new ones.

    With Earth Day drawing near, it’s a great time to be part of our region’s sustainability goals by doing one or more of these things:

    1.      Eat Local: Support farmers, improve your health and our local economy by shifting 10% of your food budget to locally grown food. Find your local farmers market or sign up for a CSA here or here.
    2.      Save the Food: 40% of food (about $1,500 per household) is wasted each year. Shop with a plan, and store to save food so it doesn’t go to the landfill. Find great tips on how to reduce food waste and save on grocery bills.
    3.      Drive Less, Live More: Download a free transit app (Cincy EZRide, Bus Detective, Transit) to purchase fares and plan your route. Bike or walk, especially for destinations within 2 miles.
    4.      End Littering: 18% of litter ends up in streams and waterways as pollution. Put trash in its place, and help pick up litter. Sign up to volunteer for a waterway cleanup event here or here.
    5.      Recycle: Paper and cardboard are still the largest part of our waste stream but yet are easily recycled. Reduce, reuse, recycle!
    6.      Re-Think Energy: Switch up traditional light bulbs for LED – they use 90% less energy and last 15 years longer. Or Solarize - the cost of solar installation has gone down dramatically, and there are rebates and tax credits to help you go solar.
    7.      #OptOutside: Get outdoors and submit your favorite green place to help us promote the value of greenspace and connecting with the wonders of nature.
    8.      Plant Natives Native plants require less water and maintenance to grow. Plant a native tree and join our region’s effort to plant 2 million trees by 2020.
    9.      Plan to Attend:  Learn how we can build a more sustainable and equitable region at the June 9th Midwest Regional Sustainability Summit.
    10.  Join Us: We’re working to unite businesses, nonprofits, local governments, universities and individuals in a collective effort to make Greater Cincinnati as environmentally sustainable as possible. Become a member!

    To learn more, visit www.greenumbrella.org.

    Act locally. You will make a difference.

    Kristin Weiss
    Green Umbrella

  • April 16, 2017 10:35 AM | Anonymous



    Trails: A Green Umbrella Success Story

    The vision: A network of multi-use trails connecting communities throughout the Greater Cincinnati region.

    Trails promote active transportation, with well documented economic, quality-of-life, health, and environmental benefits.

    But just a few years ago, this vision was vague, and progress toward achieving it was slow.  Many organizations and volunteers, hard at work on their individual trail projects, were competing for the same resources, with little coordination or overall strategy.

    Green Umbrella took on trails as part of its sustainability mission.  This has turned out to be a great example of the collective impact approach to environmental sustainability.

    In March 2013, Green Umbrella convened the first Regional Trails Forum.  A hundred people with a wide range of interests attended, representing dozens of organizations across our nine-county region.  They came away with heightened enthusiasm.  They recognized the benefits of creating an alliance for continued collaboration, planning, and mutual support.  One of the organizations – Interact for Health – offered generous support to fund a planning effort.

    By 2015, the alliance had become Tri-State Trails, an initiative of Green Umbrella.  The coalition had grown to some eighty groups.  Continuing support by Interact for Health made it possible to hire a full-time director.  A first-ever inventory of our trails evolved into a landmark master plan.  Empowered with a unified voice, the trails community built relationships with government entities and other decision makers.  Funding for planning, design, messaging, and trail construction began growing.

    In 2016, the region’s metropolitan planning organization, OKI Regional Council of Governments, asked Tri-State Trails for recommendations on updating their transportation policy.  As a result, bicyclists and walkers became higher priorities.  The plan for 2040 now includes seventeen bike and pedestrian projects valued at $191 million, a remarkable increase from the previous three projects and $2.5 million.

    Demand for walkable, bike-friendly communities is growing.  Multi-use trails serve a wide range of users, including those who do not have access to a car.  The active travel they encourage can have a profound impact on economic values as well as air quality, congestion, and public health.

    The focus of Tri-State Trails is on making connections.  The master plan envisions a 42-mile urban loop as the region’s trail hub, with some 2,000 miles of branches and connectors extending throughout southwest Ohio, northern Kentucky, and southeast Indiana.  Today the network has almost 350 miles of multi-use trails, plus around 250 miles of hiking trails, 80 miles of on-road bike lanes, and 60 miles of mountain-biking trails.  The website GreenUmbrella.org/TriStateTrails offers a comprehensive and interactive map of existing trails as well as the long-term plan.

    Our growing network of trails promotes vibrant communities by providing equitable access to active transportation and outdoor recreation.

    Written by Bob Temple, longtime member of Green Umbrella's Board of Trustees.

    Green Umbrella is the leading alliance working to maximize the environmental sustainability of Greater Cincinnati. We drive collaboration to fuel measurable improvements in key areas of sustainability. Our vision is to have the region recognized as one of the top 10 most sustainable metro areas in the nation by 2020. For more information or to become a member, please visit www.greenumbrella.org.


  • April 10, 2017 3:24 PM | Anonymous
    PRESS RELEASE                                                                                                  
    For Immediate Release   
                                             

    For more information contact:
    Kristin Weiss,  Executive Director, Green Umbrella
    Kristin@greenumbrella.org513.541.1538                                                                                                         

    Green Umbrella Members Work Together to Support Farmers, Feed the Hungry, Reduce Food Waste and Conserve Energy


    CINCINNATI, OH –Imagine a place where food isn’t wasted, where it’s easy to find locally sourced food, and where healthy, locally-grown food is accessible and affordable in food deserts. That place now is Greater Cincinnati. Members of Green Umbrella, the regional sustainability alliance, are working to simultaneously advance goals related to local food, food waste reduction, fresh food access, and energy-efficiency, through grant funding totaling $75,000, provided by the Duke Class Benefit Fund. Funded projects are described below:

    Our Harvest Cooperative and Ohio Valley Food Connection – Together, these two food hubs had $500,000 in local food sales in 2016, worked with 80 local food producers and represented the majority of local food aggregation and distribution in the region. With this grant, they’re increasing energy-efficient refrigerated storage capacity where they base their operations – Freestore Foodbank and Northern Kentucky Incubator Kitchen. Additionally, they’re increasing the types and amounts of produce that can be stored by adding additional temperature zones.

    La Soupe – In 2016 alone,  La Soupe rescued 125,000 pounds of food from going to the landfill and donated 95,000 servings to people living in food insecurity. With this grant, they’ll add an onsite energy-efficient walk-in freezer to double the number of people in need they serve each week (currently 1,750), with the goal of rescuing 300,000 pounds of food and transforming it into 200,000 servings to donate by 2018.

    Civic Garden Center of Greater Cincinnati – Located in Cincinnati’s urban core, Civic Garden Center’s vision is to teach people to “garden anywhere and everywhere.” This grant will help them get locally sourced food into the hands of residents by providing energy-efficient refrigeration and aggregation for Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) subscribers that pick up their shares at their site They’ll also be able to refrigerate 1,000+ pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables for local community gardens seeking to donate to nearby food pantries.

    Gabriel’s Place –This grant will allow Gabriel’s Place to expand their local food marketplace in Cincinnati’s Avondale neighborhood and provide meaningful access to the local food system, at prices that are affordable to community members. Because Avondale is a food desert, this grant will especially help serve senior citizens and residents living below the poverty line who tend to not own vehicles.

    Dirt: a modern market – Dirt is Findlay Market’s local-only business that promotes local growers and producers within a 150 mile radius of Cincinnati. This grant will help distribute local food through the store and serve as a hub for Findlay Kitchen (a shared use incubator kitchen), the Findlay Farmstand Program (which brings fresh, local produce to three food desert communities with a population of 35,500) and Pop Up Markets (which takes Findlay Market to local businesses).

    “Green Umbrella’s theme for Earth Month this year is Innovate: Activate: Celebrate. We’re thrilled to be giving out $75,000 to activate these member projects that benefit the health of our community and environment,” says executive director, Kristin Weiss. To learn more about how Green Umbrella is working to make Greater Cincinnati one of the nation’s top metro areas for sustainability by 2020, visit www.greenumbrella.org.

        

    [Photo Credits: Alice Chalmers - Ohio Valley Food Connection; Suzy DeYoung - La Soupe]

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    Green Umbrella is the leading alliance working to maximize the environmental sustainability of Greater Cincinnati. We drive collaboration to fuel measurable improvements in key areas of sustainability. Our vision is to have the region recognized as one of the top 10 most sustainable metro areas in the nation by 2020. For more information or to become a member, please visit www.greenumbrella.org.


    ###

    Duke Class Benefit Fund: Funds from the settlement of a class action lawsuit (Williams, et al vs. Duke Energy International, et al) will be used to benefit residential (home owners, renters) and non‐residential (commercial, industrial, business, government, nonprofit) class members, defined as “all ratepayers who received retail electric generation service from Duke Energy Corp. and/or Cinergy Corp. or their subsidiaries or affiliates at any time between January 1, 2005, and December 31, 2008, in the CG&E/Duke Energy Ohio electric service territory and who did not receive rebates under the side agreements.”

  • April 05, 2017 9:54 AM | Anonymous

    Guest article from Michelle Balz, assistant solid waste manager for Hamilton County Recycling and Solid Waste District.

    Save the Food!

    “Save the Food!” is becoming a rallying cry for everyone who loves food and hates waste. Even for all of us in the “clean plate club,” wasted food is a much bigger problem than most of us realize:

    • In 2010, the average amount of food loss per American was 429 pounds.
    • A four-person family loses approximately $1,500 each year on wasted food.
    • 48% of fruits and vegetables are thrown away.
    • Meanwhile, one in seven Americans is food insecure.

    $1,500 a year! Ouch! Throwing away food also wastes all of the water and energy we put into growing the food, the fuel we consumed transporting the food, and the energy the grocery store used refrigerating the food. The good news is that every day we can make small choices that will reduce how much food we waste.

    Here are several easy tips to help you reduce food waste within your family:

    • Plan your meals for the week.
    • Make a shopping list and stick to it.
    • Shop the bulk bins where you can measure and purchase only the ingredients you need.
    • Learn best ways to store your food to maximize its edibility. Visit SaveTheFood.com/food-storage for great food storage tips and tricks.

    To learn more about how you can reduce food waste, follow the Hamilton County Recycling and Solid Waste District on Facebook or visit SaveTheFood.com. You may also call us at (513) 946-7766.

    And remember, save the food!


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