It Is Easy Being Green
How do you Green your Spring? The Grants Managers Network’s conference is a great place to start. In the last issue of the Examiner we introduced GMN’s membership to the G4 (GMN Grantmaking Gone Green) Team (formerly the Kermit Squad). The team is identifying and promoting environmentally friendly practices to improve the philanthropic sector.
As we get closer to the 2010 GMN Conference, the G4 Team would like to offer you an opportunity to start preparing for your trip to Baltimore in a way that ensures that your conference experience is as convenient, fun, and Green as possible! To do this, we’ve brainstormed some simple ideas to help you, and your organization, go Green!
But first, what do we mean by Green? In philanthropy, greening encourages organizations to critically analyze their processes, policies, and practices in order to make them more environmentally sustainable. We’re all concerned with accomplishing the mission of our organization, and here is the good news: environmentally sustainable practices are often more efficient, saving precious resources of time and money that can be put toward achieving your organization’s mission. Now that’s a win-win!
The G4 Team will discuss the findings of Beyond the Recycling Bin: Greening Practices of Grantmakers, its first report on greening practices in philanthropy at the conference. The “eggs” were laid for this report when the team was formed at the 2009 GMN conference. The “tadpole” (team) has been swimming around learning how to be Green and now it’s ready to hop out of the GMN “pond” and help put this new knowledge and power to use. The G4 Team will host three Green sessions at the conference.
The first session will focus on the initial findings from the member survey and on using the report as a tool. It will also highlight easy ways to implement Green practices, regardless of organization type, asset size, and whether or not an organization rents or owns its space. The other two sessions are organized by type of grantmaking institution: private foundation, community foundation, or grantors of government funds. These sessions, which will address how to implement more sustainable and efficient practices, are designed to promote honest conversations about barriers and opportunities related to implementing greening practices.
To prepare ourselves, G4 team members have taken on a wide range of Green challenges within their organizations and will report on their experiences, from trying to implement paper free electronic grantmaking, to attaining Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification, along with tips and resources to take back to your department and organization.
But, your Green experience in Baltimore doesn’t have to be limited to the conference sessions. GMN is conscious of the impact of the conference on the environment — the travel, meals, printed materials, and use of conference facilities all take their toll on the environment. This year, GMN, with the assistance of the G4 Team and the Conference Committee, has tried to balance the need to offer an enjoyable, participant-friendly conference with our desire to reduce its environmental impact by providing members with Green alternatives.
Thus far, the following are being done to help Green the conference:
- Using electronic marketing primarily to promote and update members on the event;
- Implementing a paperless conference registration option, where participants can opt to receive a flash drive to store conference-related documents and presentations in lieu of paper copies;
- Reducing the number of handouts distributed by offering conference presenters the option to have their presentations placed on the flash drive;
- Purchasing environmentally sustainable and safer product giveaways and offering them to conference participants on an elective basis, allowing the option to choose not to take products that won’t be used;
- Using double-sided copies on100% post-consumer waste recycled paper throughout the conference for essential handouts;
- Providing appropriate recycling containers for participants and vendors to use throughout the conference;
- Distributing a memo to conference vendors and sponsors on easy ways they can reduce their environmental impact while attending the conference, and
- Encouraging vendors to share with conference participants Green measures taken by their organization.
While staying at the hotel, conference participants will also have the opportunity to choose to participate in Green services offered by the conference hotel, the Baltimore Marriot Waterfront, such as:
- Making your hotel reservations electronically and receiving an electronic receipt;
- Investigating whether your foundation participates in a carbon offsetting program that can help reduce your carbon footprint;
- Participating in the hotel’s linen reuse program, which offers guests the option of using their linens for more than one night;
- Leaving behind unused shampoos/soaps provided by the hotel when checking out;
- Requesting reusable silverware and glassware, rather than disposable, plastic products, when ordering room service;
- Opting to receive electronic bills in lieu of paper bills, and
- Asking the hotel concierge about public transportation options instead of private cars to travel around the city and back and forth from the airport.
To enjoy your free time outside of the conference, the GMN conference host committee has researched ways to Green your Baltimore experience. There are a lot of fun places to go for refreshments while you’re out for a stroll, like Liquid Earth for fresh-squeezed juices and raw food, the V-NO Wine Bar for organic and local wines, or the Blue Moon Café for sustainable, organic, and locally roasted Bluebird Coffee. Pizzazz Tuscan Grille, an Italian restaurant with organic gluten-free fare and vegan and vegetarian options, is at the Pier 5 Hotel, and has a living food menu available on certain days.
Within a half-mile walk east of the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront hotel is the Fells Point neighborhood, with its cobblestone streets and eclectic collection of stores, boutiques, and restaurants. You can also walk to many of the Inner Harbor attractions, shopping, and restaurants through a series of bridge walks that will take you from pier to pier. For a long or short hike, check out the 15-mile Gwynns Falls Trail from the Visitor’s Center at the Inner Harbor.
Remember, Green can be good for helping the environment, achieving your mission, and for having fun!
Have a suggestion or comment on GMN’s Green activities? Then start a topic on the discussion board!
2010 Conference Preview
The GMN Examiner Editorial Team
The GMN Examiner is published three times a year through the dedicated efforts of GMN members and volunteers.
Ericka Novotny – Editor
Allison Gister – Associate Editor