In Their Own Words

Three Philanthropic Leaders Describe Their Work

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Darryl Young is director of Sustainable Cities at the Summit Foundation in Washington, D.C.

Tom Woiwode is director of the GreenWays Initiative at Community Foundation for Southeastern Michigan in Detroit.

Posted: Wednesday, March 2, 2016 5:04 pm

Tom Woiwode, director of the GreenWays Initiative at Community Foundation for Southeastern Michigan

The Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan came at smart growth initially through our GreenWays Initiative. The Initiative focuses on the creation of greenways — non-motorized pathways that connect neighborhoods, institutions and people and create a more people-friendly environment. We’ve done that three ways: investing in the project itself, either through planning grants or by putting money “in the dirt” (construction grants); hosting approximately 25 seminars/information sessions/training programs to ensure that the practitioners have the best information; and supporting an active public information initiative to help the general public and community leadership understand and appreciate the benefits of greenways. Over the 15 years that the GreenWays Initiative has been operating, we’ve invested approximately $35 million, which has leveraged an additional (roughly) $150 million in public support for such projects.

Jill Fuglister, healthy environment portfolio director at Meyer Memorial Trust

We are just getting ready to launch new funding programs after a complete program overhaul over the past year. The purpose of the redesign was to align our programs more completely and strategically with Meyer’s equity lens. Our funding approach aims to support work that improves environmental health in ways that account for current and historic advantages that favor some communities and disadvantage others, particularly low-income communities, communities of color, immigrants and refugees, Oregon’s indigenous communities and Tribes. Smart growth and sustainability fall squarely within our interests for the new portfolio since these are interdisciplinary fields that integrate human well-being and environmental health concerns. We intend to support sustainability and smart growth work in Oregon’s urban and rural communities.

Darryl Young, director of Sustainable Cities at the Summit Foundation in Washington, D.C.

The Summit Foundation’s Sustainable Cities Program supports urban sustainability in three areas: Common Frameworks and Indicators (helping cities establish baselines, targets, plans, policies, measures and verification; distilling best thinking into an understandable set of components; illuminating how the components function to maintain sustainability; detailing paths to success that are scalable and easily adaptable to local conditions and facilitating widespread adoption through collaboration and comparison), Inspirational Models (advancing practical, leveragable and transferable solutions; establishing new model policies that increase city sustainability and demonstrating city sustainability at a systemic level) and Visionaries (inspiring, informing and motivating city leaders; triggering a movement for city sustainability and identifying trends, suggesting alternatives and inspiring best practices).

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