Item Coversheet

Board Action Request

Item Description:
Neg Agmts PR00000589 with East Side Neighborhood Svcs, PR00000590 with State of MN (North Hennepin Comm College) and PR00000591 with Tree Trust for Green Partners Environmental Education grants, 01/01/19-12/31/19, total combined NTE $50,000

BE IT RESOLVED,  that the County Administrator be authorized to negotiate Agreements PR00000589 with East Side Neighborhood Services in an amount not to exceed $20,000, PR00000590 with State of Minnesota (North Hennepin Community College) in an amount not to exceed $20,000, and PR00000591 with Tree Trust in an amount not to exceed $10,000 for Green Partners Environmental Education grants to engage residents in environmental education projects during the period of January 1, 2019 through December 31, 2019; that following review and approval by the County Attorney’s Office, the County Administrator be authorized to sign the Agreements on behalf of the County; and that the Controller be authorized to disburse funds as directed.


History: The Green Partners Environmental Education Program provides support and funding to organizations to implement projects that engage and empower residents to protect and improve the environment. Funding for the Green Partners Environmental Education program comes from the Solid Waste Enterprise Fund.


The county recently concluded an evaluation of the grant program to reassess goals, analyze project outcomes, check alignment with community needs and county goals, and look for efficiencies in program management. A number of changes were made based on feedback gathered from a public engagement process that involved current and past grantees, past applicants, community groups, grant managers of other programs, and county staff. Key changes include:


  • Updated project criteria and created separate applications to better support goals for adult and youth audiences. Youth projects focus on developing an environmental ethic and interest in environmental stewardship and projects with adults focus on motivating behavior change.

  • Applications will be accepted once per year (previously twice a year) to provide more support for grantees throughout their projects.

  • Allowed past grantees (organizations who have successfully completed a one-year Green Partners project) to be eligible for two-year grants, with the second year contingent upon successful progress in year one.

  • Simplified grant reporting requirements by eliminating the mid-term report and updated questions in the final report to ensure what is collected is useful and timely.

  • Improved resources provided to potential applicants, including sample applications, more training on behavior change and reporting, and project planning assistance.


Since the program was established in 2012, 133 grants totaling more than $1.3 million have been awarded. The county released a request for proposals in July 2018 and 43 proposals were received.


There are 11 additional agreements for Green Partners environmental education projects that will be approved administratively because their funding requests and other agreements with the county are less than $50,000 each. Those 11 grant projects total $199,700 and include the following organizations: Clean Water Fund (Minneapolis), Cleveland Neighborhood Association (Minneapolis), Climate Generation: A Will Steger Legacy (Hennepin County), Congregations Caring for Creation (Hennepin County), Girl Scouts of Minnesota and Wisconsin River Valleys, Inc. (Hennepin County), Great Plains Institute (Saint Louis Park), Metro Blooms (Brooklyn Park, Minneapolis), Minneapolis Toy Library (Minneapolis), Northside Resident Redevelopment Council (Minneapolis), Partnership Academy (Richfield) and Spark Youth (Minneapolis). 


Current Request This request is to authorize the County Administrator to negotiate three Green Partners environmental education grant agreements for environmental education projects with the following organizations:


  • East Side Neighborhood Services (Minneapolis), $20,000–East Side Neighborhood Services will engage 150 youth in Minneapolis learning about water protection through a project called H2 Whoa! during their out of school time programs.

  • State of Minnesota, North Hennepin Community College (Brooklyn Park), $20,000–North Hennepin Community College will engage 150 American Indian and indigenous youth and community members in environmental stewardship, waste reduction, and water protection though an immersion learning experience called the Dave Larsen American Indian Immersion Experience: Nimino-bimaadiziwininaan (environmental stewardship is our way of life) and Ganawendan nibi (care for the water).

  • Tree Trust (Hopkins), $10,000–Tree Trust will engage more than 200 residents in learning about and taking action to care for trees in Hopkins, including managing ash trees.


These three agreements require board action because each organization has other contracts with the county that in totality exceed $50,000.

Impact/Outcomes: The recommended Green Partners environmental education projects support the county’s goals of promoting environmental stewardship, engaging communities, enhancing quality of life and protecting the environment for current and future generations. Groups listed in this request will engage more than 500 residents becoming environmental stewards and in taking action to protect the environment by reducing waste, improving water quality, and protecting trees. These projects will reach more than 23,000 residents with environmental messages. Two of the projects engage underserved and hard-to-reach communities, and two of the projects engage youth. Organizations are required to administer evaluations developed by the county to assess changes in participants’ environmental behaviors. Previous evaluations have shown that this model of environmental education is effective in motivating participants to make behavior changes that have a positive impact on the environment.