What Does Green Really Mean?

Sustainability. Climate mitigation and preparedness. Green jobs. Energy efficiency. Green design. Resource conservation. LEED. What do these terms really mean? And what can funders do to make sure that “green” is more than a trendy buzzword–that green strategies actually reduce the carbon footprints and energy costs of buildings and transportation networks, enhance the health and vitality of neighborhoods, and improve the lives of people?

Background & Activities

The GREEN! funder working group was created in 2005 by funders interested in better understanding the promise that green strategies hold for improving outcomes for people and place. Its first efforts focused on green design practices and land use decisions  (for example, does a green building fulfill its promise if it is located in a greenfield, isolated from public transportation and services ?). Today, GREEN! facilitates funder learning and strategic initiatives and collaborations that advance sustainable, equitable, and prosperous regions and communities by increasing resource efficiency and sustainable infrastructure, protecting public and environmental health, expanding urban sustainability practices, and enhancing the affordable green housing field. The working group meets annually each fall and hosts Learning Network calls and webinars throughout the year to help funders learn more about green strategies and innovative practices. It also manages a funder listserv on topical green issues, and hosts a breakfast meeting at the TFN annual conference.

Strategic Collaboration

GREEN! supports work in three areas:

  1. Connecting Funders – linking funders to support their information exchange and joint learning
  2. Aligning Funders – linking funders to create and share a set of ideas, goals, and strategies
  3. Producing – linking funders to  support strategic collaborations, joint projects, special initiatives, and other projects

Our learning agenda centers on three issue areas:

  • Climate Mitigation/Adaptation in Urban and Metro Regions
  • Equitable and Sustainable Neighborhoods
  • Partnerships for Sustainability, working with the Carbon Neutral Cities Alliance, Partners for Places grant program, STAR Communities, and the Urban Sustainability Directors Network.

GREEN! Steering Committee

Jessica Boehland, Senior Program Officer, Environment, The Kresge Foundation (Co-chair)
Dana Bourland, Vice President, Environment, The JPB Foundation
Cheryl Casciani, Director of Neighborhood Sustainability, Baltimore Community Foundation
Helen Chin, Program Director, Sustainable Environments, Surdna Foundation
Lois DeBacker, Managing Director, Environment, The Kresge Foundation
Arturo Garcia-Costas, Environmental Program Officer, New York Community Trust
Nicola Hedge, Director, Environmental Initiatives, San Diego Foundation
Diane Ives, Fund Advisor for People, Place, and Planet, Kendeda Fund
Jon Jensen, Executive Director, Sustainable Ithaca, Park Foundation
Zoe Kircos, Director of Grants and Partnerships, People for Bikes
Michelle Knapik, President, Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation
Richard Manson, Program Vice President, LISC Green Development Center
John Mitterholzer, Senior Program Officer for the Environment, George Gund Foundation
Jenny Pereira, Director of Grant Programs, Rhode Island Foundation
Mariella Puerto, Co-Director of Climate, Barr Foundation (Co-chair)
Laura Rossi, Executive Director, Westchester Community Foundation
Jenny Russell, Executive Director, Merck Family Fund
Neelima Shah, Program Officer, Bullitt Foundation
Kelly Shultz, Environment Team,    Bloomberg Philanthropies
Jen Somers, Senior Program Manager, Buildings, Energy Foundation
Katie Swenson, VP, National Design Initiatives,  Enterprise Community Partners
Gaye Symington, President, High Meadows Fund
Lauren Taylor, Senior Program Director, Hyde Family Foundations
John Wilson, Program Director, Buildings, Energy Foundation
Darryl Young, Director, Sustainable Cities, Summit Foundation


Contact Ashley Quintana
(305) 667-6350 ext. 201