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Give back while shopping this holiday season

November 13th, 2017

The holidays are fast approaching (Crazy, right?! Where did 2017 go?) and with the holidays comes shopping.

I wanted to remind everyone shopping this holiday season that you can give back while buying your niece that new science experiment kit.  Amazon has this great thing called AmazonSmile.  What’s this you ask?  AmazonSmile is a simple and automatic way for you to support your favorite charitable organization (Environmental Initiative) every time you shop, at no cost to you. When you shop at smile.amazon.com, you’ll find the exact same low prices, vast selection and convenient shopping experience as Amazon.com, with the added bonus that Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to your favorite charitable organization. You can choose from nearly one million organizations to support.

How does this work?

How do I shop at AmazonSmile?

To shop at AmazonSmile simply go to smile.amazon.com from the web browser on your computer or mobile device. You may also want to add a bookmark to smile.amazon.com to make it even easier to return and start your shopping at AmazonSmile.

Which products on AmazonSmile are eligible for charitable donations?

Tens of millions of products on AmazonSmile are eligible for donations. You will see eligible products marked “Eligible for AmazonSmile donation” on their product detail pages. Recurring Subscribe-and-Save purchases and subscription renewals are not currently eligible.

Can I use my existing Amazon.com account on AmazonSmile?

Yes, you use the same account on Amazon.com and AmazonSmile. Your shopping cart, Wish List, wedding or baby registry, and other account settings are also the same.

How do I select a charitable organization to support when shopping on AmazonSmile?

On your first visit to AmazonSmile smile.amazon.com, you need to select a charitable organization to receive donations from eligible purchases before you begin shopping. We will remember your selection, and then every eligible purchase you make at smile.amazon.com will result in a donation.

Can I change my charity?

Yes, you can change your charity any time. Your AmazonSmile purchases after the change count towards your newly selected charity. To change your charity, sign in to smile.amazon.com on your desktop or mobile phone browser and simply select “Change your Charity” in “Your Account.”

What charities can I choose from?

You can choose from almost one million eligible 501(c)(3) public charitable organizations, which includes Environmental Initiative.

Thanks for your contribution this holiday season

I hope this was a helpful reminder for your holiday and everyday shopping on Amazon. If you still have more questions, do not hesitate to reach out to me.

Thank you to everyone that supports Environmental Initiative. We could not do this work without you. Happy Holidays!

Sacha Seymour-Anderson


Development Director

Thank you, thank you, thank you…

January 11th, 2017

Thank you to all of our very generous donors for their support during our year-end fundraising campaign. We could not continue to grow, solve problems collaboratively, and build relationships without supporters like you. Here is a shout out to everyone that donated:


Sacha Seymour-Anderson


Development Director

Your Support is Needed, Now More Than Ever

December 22nd, 2016

How many times have you heard that phrase during the waning weeks of 2016?

I’ve written and said it myself hundreds of times since election day. As true as it is, and for so many worthy causes, it becomes hard for any of us to remain open to all that is asked of us during this season of mass solicitation. The onslaught of sincere and compelling requests begins on Give to the Max Day and doesn’t let up until the new year arrives.

Nevertheless, we know Minnesotans are exceptionally generous and we dig deep to support good causes and essential services, even when we have given greatly already. We are fortunate the giving of meaningful gifts is so deeply embedded in our culture, and it makes a lot of great work possible here that can happen only here, or at least that must happen here first.

The radical generosity of Minnesotans is a norm in any year, but we also know this year is different for many of us. We know many Minnesotans feel discouraged by the state of politics in our country and are struggling with despair about our collective prospects for a cleaner environment, a stronger economy, and a more equitable society. It has become harder and harder for many of us to hold fast to the conviction that we can come together across differences to solve our shared problems.

“Better together” can be a tough sell these days, but that’s exactly what I have found myself having to do the past several weeks. I’ve talked to hundreds of individuals since election day, representing a wide range of political viewpoints and interests. So many of those conversations have gone to dark places, but only a few have stuck there.

The overwhelming response of our friends and partners has been one of resolve and renewed commitment to the values that are so Minnesotan and with which we describe Environmental Initiative’s work – better together, open exchange, stewardship, outcome-focused, and solutions driven. Many of you have told us the outcomes of this election cycle do not change the increasingly clear realities of what is required of responsible businesses, creative nonprofits, and dedicated government agencies, let alone the individuals who champion environmental solutions and the triple bottom line.



Starting on the morning of November 9, I heard over and over again that the shifting of political winds changes nothing about existing corporate sustainability commitments, nor the fundamental need for Minnesotans to find common ground and work collaboratively toward shared solutions through policy change. Many have spoken passionately to the fact that the only option for continued progress is in the engagement of diverse stakeholders, and especially in the partnership of sustainability leading businesses with the most creative and effective of our public servants.

I’ve been awestruck by how many of you have said yes to an additional contribution, often giving just what we ask, and sometimes even exceeding our request. Even when an additional financial contribution is not possible, I’ve had energizing conversations about opportunities for new projects and other important work to be done. Generally, I’ve interrupted your day to ask for your personal support in the form of individual membership, and I would understand if people were a little prickly or disinterested. On the contrary, the response is almost universally warm and understanding, and even appreciative. It reminds me that we are part of a community that is committed to working together and knows what is required to make that possible.

Mike.EOY1I’m grateful for all of your support, including your financial contributions at this important moment in Environmental Initiative’s work. As many of you know, any contribution between now and year-end will be matched dollar for dollar, so that the impact of your gift will be doubled. We still have $15,000 left to raise by year-end (that’s halfway!), so that we will have the resources required to rise to the challenge of this moment when our work is more critical than ever before.

I hope that you will be able to help us meet our goal and make it possible for Environmental Initiative to step up to the challenge of helping Minnesotans be better together when so much of our politics and culture would have us moving in the opposite direction.

The answer to what I mean when I say “now more than ever” is simple – now more than ever we need to remember that we are better together, and now more than ever we need to invest in the partnerships and relationships to put better together to work for a stronger Minnesota.

Mike Harley


Executive Director

16 Reasons to Give this Season

November 16th, 2016


Toward the end of every year, Environmental Initiative takes time to reflect and be thankful for our collaborative efforts. We’ve launched new projects, gathered business leaders, and informed serious policy decisions— but we cannot do what we do without you.

November 17 and 29, Give to the Max Day and Giving Tuesday, are two days of the year when individuals across the state make donations to the causes they care about. In 2016, our staff grew to 16 employees, so to celebrate we discussed 16 reasons to give to Environmental Initiative.

Here are our thoughts on the most important reasons to donate today:

The 16 Most Important Reasons to Give:

1. “No one can solve environmental problems alone, and we all have to help! We’re better together.” – Greg Bohrer, Senior Manager, Agriculture and Environment Program

2. “I think our most exciting project right now is the Minnesota Sustainable Growth Coalition. It’s an unprecedented venture, seeking a sustainable and renewable supply chain.” – Brian Columbus, Business Manager

3. “For those who believe in collaborative, inclusive, partnership-driven change, now is the time to support Minnesota’s best example of this behavior on environmental issues.” – Bill Droessler, Director, Air Program

4. “We’re an organization that truly works with people in mind. Our efforts have far-reaching health benefits for individuals living across the state.” – Rachel Dupree, Communications Associate

5. “We’re not a single issue nonprofit—we work to improve Minnesota’s air, land, water, public health, and energy practices. Your donation can mean a lot of different things.” – Emily Franklin, Communications Director

6. “Invest in innovation! We’re not afraid to try things that have never been done before.” – Ellen Gibson, Senior Director, Project and Programs

7. “Environmental Initiative is truly courageous in its approach. We are an organization of big thinkers and we deliver real results.” – Sam Hanson, Director, Sustainability

8. “Help us celebrate our 25 years of established and results-driven work with your support and partnership!” – Mike Harley, Executive Director

9. “Our policy programs are always changing, and your gift allows us to scope new projects and respond to community needs.” – Meleah Houseknecht, Director, Environmental Policy

10. “Now, more than ever, we need to work to find common ground to solve our state’s environmental problems.” – Erin Niehoff, Project and Administrative Assistant

11. “We’ll use your gift in the most responsible way possible for the greatest impact.” – Judd Larson, Chief Financial Officer

12. “We don’t say it because we’re “Minnesota nice,” but we’re the best at what we do. From consensus to execution, we are efficient, effective, and always striving to get better. I’m proud of the work we do and you should be too.” – Bjorn Olson, Senior Environmental Project Associate

13. “We don’t just pioneer projects, we also lift up the work of others. We seek out local environmental champions and honor them every year at the Environmental Initiative Awards.” – Andrea Robbins, Director, Designer and Engagement

14. “When you give to Environmental Initiative, it demonstrates that your values align with ours.” – Dani Schurter, Project Manager

15. “We bring people together that normally may not sit at the same table and work to build consensus, which is something the world needs more of these days.” – Sacha Seymour-Anderson, Director, Development

16. “In a time of division, Environmental Initiative cuts through disagreement, partisanship, and rhetoric to build lasting partnerships that lead to real, measurable environmental results.” – Mikey Weitekamp, Senior Project Manager

Mike Harley


Executive Director

2014 Ended With a Bang. What Will 2015 Bring?!

January 8th, 2015

From everyone here at Environmental Initiative, I would like to take a moment to say, THANK YOU! Thank you to everyone who invested in Environmental Initiative in 2014 and made us the successful organization that we are.

We had a year-end goal of raising $10,000 from individual donors between November 10 – December 31, which would unlock an additional $10,000 in matching funds from our current and past Board of Directors. Thanks to you, we blew our goal out of the water — including the $10,000 match, over $22,000 was raised!

We are so humbled by everyone’s support and this shows we truly are better together. Thank you again to all the individual investments that helped us surpass our goal:

Sacha Seymour-Anderson


Development Director

A Big Thank You: 2013 End of the Year Giving

January 14th, 2014

I would like to take this time to thank you; all our members big and small, that made 2013 a great year.  Environmental Initiative crushed our individual membership campaign that ran from November 12 to December 31. We raised over $10,000 during this time period and were blown away by your generosity. I would also like to thank our current and past board of directors for making the $10,000 match available to help double individual members’ contributions.  Whether you donated $5 or $1,000, we could not do the work we do without your support.

Individual supporters that helped us achieve our $10,000 goal:


Sacha Seymour-Anderson


Development Director

Matching Gift Programs

December 11th, 2013

Did you know you can double – or even triple – the impact of your donation with a matching gift from your employer? Many employers offer a matching gift program as a benefit to their employees.

Employer matching gifts are a simple way to maximize your contribution to Environmental Initiative — providing more resources to build partnerships to Two deer in winterimprove Minnesota’s environment.

It’s easy to have your donation matched. Talk to your personnel or business office to see if your employer matches gifts to the environment.  Xcel Energy and Amerprise are just a few companies that we know match employee’s gifts to Environmental Initiative.

So, how does it work? Most companies ask you to complete and return a short form and may require Environmental Initiative’s tax identification number: 41-1718834.

If your employer does offer a matching gift, please send your completed form to:

Environmental Initiative
Attn:  Sacha Casillas
211 North First Street, Suite 250
Minneapolis, MN 55401

If you have any questions, please contact Sacha Casillas, Director of Membership and Development at 612-334-3388 ext. 101.

Happy Giving!

Sacha Seymour-Anderson


Development Director

Create Your Member Login

February 19th, 2013

Over the past several months, Environmental Initiative has been transitioning to a new system to help us manage our fundraising, communications, and event registration functions. Our new system is in place and it will allow you to update your contact information, check which events you have registered for, and view your membership status. Sounds great right?

Like many other membership-based organizations, you will now need to create a login and password to update your contact information and ensure you receive member discounts for our events. It’s easy and just takes a few minutes.

To create your login:

  1. Click here and choose a login and password (the password must be at least 6 characters).
  2. Fill in your contact information
  3. Click submit and you’re done!  You will be sent a confirmation email.

Once you have created your login, keep it in a safe place and use it each time you register for an event, or when renewing your membership.

Creating your login will not only allow you to receive member discounts, but it will also automatically fill in your contact information when you register for an event – saving you a little time over the long run.

Thanks so much for being a member and for your patience as we make this transition! If you have any questions, feel free to contact me or contact Andrea Robbins at 612-334-3388 ext. 109 with any questions.

Sacha Seymour-Anderson


Development Director

2012 Campaign Wrap-Up

January 8th, 2013

We here at Environmental Initiative, have some great news to report…because of members like you, we exceeded our fall fundraising campaign goals.  Thank you!  We kicked off the campaign back on November 15 (on Give to the Max Day) with the goal to raise 120 donations from new, renewing, or extra gifts by December 31 to unlock a $10,000 challenge-matching fund that was established by our current and past Board of Directors.  We could not have accomplished this goal without your support of our work.  Thank you all again so much and here is to a great year in 2013.

Below is a list of our members that helped us exceed our goals:


Sacha Seymour-Anderson


Development Director

Expand the Choir, Find Common Ground

November 30th, 2012

In the thirty (plus) years since I left college I have worn many hats; field biologist, National Park Service ranger, laboratory director, community organizer, lobbyist, regulator, and environmental consultant.  My friend Phil Hunsicker suggests that this indicates that I can’t keep a job, but I prefer to think of my career path as a study in how one gets things done – which activities or strategies are most likely to lead to lasting protection or improvement of the environment.

I still strongly believe that there is an essential role for the government, and that strong regulation and enforcement are essential for protection of public health and natural resources.  However, I have also learned that harnessing the self-interest and creativity of the private sector can often lead to more innovative solutions (and more comprehensive adoption) of effective policy while avoiding the antagonism associated with many public debates in our past.

Environmental Initiative is a high functioning nonprofit organization, but it is also represents a “place” where thoughtful and respectful conversations can occur, and creative ideas matured to lead to better, faster, and sometimes more cost effective environmental programs.  I was recruited to participate in Environmental Initiative by a leading mentor in the conservation community, but I have likely learned more from my friends in the “regulated community.”

Too often conservationists “preach to the choir,” but if our goal is sustainable economic development (good jobs) and a safe, vibrant ecosystem than we need to expand the choir, reach across the aisle, find the areas that we can agree on and inform public policy with ideas that work.  By supporting Environmental Initiative you are supporting ideas, conversations, projects, and sound policies. Please join me in making sure these conservations continue to lead to outcomes that matter.


A note from Environmental Initiative:
Our current and past Board of Directors (including Don Hickman) generously donated $10,000.00 in matching funds for Environmental Initiative’s year end fundraising efforts. We only need 29 more contributions to unlock this generous match. We hope you will consider supporting us with a tax-deductible year end gift. Make your contribution today:

Don Hickman


Environmental Initiative Board of Directors
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