Nominations for the 2021 Environmental Initiative Awards are now closed. Winners will be announced in April. Contact Christina Vang-Dixon for more information or questions.

What We are Looking for

  • Collaborative projects, including two or more partners, that demonstrate innovative, creative approaches to advancing a healthy environment, a prosperous economy and an equitable society in Minnesota. Projects can be ongoing or have a project completion date up to two years before January 1, 2021.
  • Individuals who demonstrate leadership in working across difference and collaboratively approaching efforts that advance a healthy environment, a prosperous economy and an equitable society in Minnesota.
  • Learn more about the project awards process and criteria
  • Learn more about the individual awards process and criteria

Project Awards Categories

Energy & Climate

The Energy & Climate Award recognizes a partnership working across difference to reduce greenhouse gas or carbon emissions, cut energy consumption, enhance climate resiliency, advance energy efficiency, address the changing climate, or improve air quality.

Environmental Innovation

The forward-facing Environmental Innovation Award recognizes a partnership working on creative and innovative approaches for environmental breakthroughs or projects with the goal or implementation of systems change or transforming how people work in the environmental field.

Rural Vitality

The Rural Vitality Award recognizes a partnership working to solve community-scale environmental challenges in rural areas. The recognition may include grassroots efforts in revitalization or beautification; alternative land use strategies; convening partners to facilitate community understanding across racial and ethnic difference; or policy initiatives contributing to economic prosperity, environmental stewardship, and social justice for an improved quality of rural life.

Large-Scale Sustainability Impacts

The Large-Scale Sustainability Impacts Award recognizes a partnership involving large organizations, such as municipalities or companies, by creating and implementing replicable, scalable solutions to environmental challenges. Projects may include efforts to achieve a circular economy, pursuits extending beyond regulatory requirements, linking a new energy economy and equity practices, or practices to create more sustainable operations.

Local Sustainability Impacts

The Local Sustainability Impacts Award recognizes a partnership involving small organizations— such as non-profits, faith and community groups, or local businesses—working on collaborative, replicable efforts to respond to local sustainability challenges, improve community environmental health, or practices and engagement to advance environmental justice. Projects may include neighborhood-scale efforts, community-led practices, or environmental stewardship initiatives.

Individual Awards Categories

Courageous Innovator

The Courageous Innovator Award recognizes an individual under the age of 30 working in cutting-edge ways to build partnerships and innovative solutions to environmental health or environmental justice challenges.

Critical Collaborator

The Critical Collaborator Award recognizes an individual who has dedicated their career to creating a lasting impact on the environment, environmental health, or environmental justice through partnership and addressing environmental challenges.