The Green Institute is a non-profit organization whose mission is to promote environmental stewardship and create economic opportunity through sustainable community development. They pursue this mission through programs, projects, and initiatives centering on sustainable development, energy conservation, recycling of materials, and other related efforts.
I am an environmental attorney and former wildlife field scientist. These days I'm not in the field as much as I would like to be, but I am keeping busy on environmental projects. I am a Board member with the Green Institute, dedicated to urban land stewardship and energy alternatives in the Twin Cities area of Minneapolis and St. Paul. We do important work with developing energy alternatives, community empowerment and watershed protection for the Mississippi River. The Green Institute originated from an environmental justice movement against the siting of a solid waste transfer station in a residential area of South Minneapolis' Phillips Neighborhood. After 12 years of resistance, neighborhood residents succeeded in preventing construction of the large facility. Residents then directed their passion toward a more sustainable vision of community development. In 1993, neighborhood activist Annie Young and others formed the Green Institute. Program operations began in 1995 with the opening of the ReUse Center, a retail store providing quality salvaged building materials. Six years later, the Green Institute employs 40 staff members and has an annual budget of $3.3 million. In 1997, the Institute formed DeConstruction Services to more aggressively procure and market used building materials. Realizing one of the organization's original dreams, the Institute broke ground in 1998 for a major commercial center on the land once slated for the transfer station. The Phillips Eco-Enterprise Center opened in Fall 1999, and is now home to many environmental industry firms and several non-profit organizations including the Green Institute. -- Sally L. Benjamin