CREATE Initiative Recognized for Environmental Innovation

Photo of fourteen team members of CREATE Initiative in a wooded area.

May 21, 2020—The CREATE Initiative, led by STEP Assistant Professor Bonnie Keeler, has received the 2020 Environmental Innovation Award from Minneapolis-based Environmental Initiative, a nonprofit organization that works with business, nonprofit, and government leaders to develop collaborative solutions to Minnesota’s environmental problems. The Environmental Innovation award recognizes a project with “the potential to positively impact communities by addressing a unique intersection of issues, utilizing a new approach or otherwise creatively tackling environmental challenges.” 

Co-led by Kate Derickson and Bonnie Keeler, CREATE’s goal is to provide environmental leaders with the tools and education needed to understand the complexities of historical processes and their effect on contemporary green investments. In one of its projects, the initiative brings together community-based practitioners and academic researchers in a Policy Think Tank, a group dedicated to developing new tools for realizing socially just environmental futures. This initiative has also developed a toolkit, Sharing in the Benefits of a Greening City, the of its kind to synthesize policy work with academic literature to address green gentrification issues.

“Engaging community members in a different way — as partners in the research process — allows the CREATE Initiative to co-create tangible resources that are valuable to the communities they work with and to appropriate University resources more broadly to give back to partner communities (rather than extract intellectual capital, as so often results when research is done “on” or “to” communities)," wrote the evaluation team.

Congratulations to the CREATE team on their distinguished award.