Grand Aspirations was founded in 2008 to build youth leadership in the green economy. The flagship program of Grand Aspirations has been the Summer of Solutions, which began  in Summer 2008 in the Twin Cities of Minnesota alongside similar programs led by young people in Portland (The Northwest Institute for Community Enrichment – NICE), Oakland (Breakthrough Generation), and Appalachia (Mountain Justice Summer).

After 2008, the model of the Summer of Solutions expanded to several new cities across the country where new groups of “Solutionaries” were seeking to build new initiatives for a green economy in their home communities. Through 2009, 2010,  2011, and 2012, the program has taken roots in dozens of new communities throughout the U.S., engaging hundreds of participants in the skills and opportunities of the green economy. Learn more about the Summer of Solutions.

The Summer of Solutions has served as a launching point for many year-long green economy initiatives. In many of the communities that have hosted the Summer of Solutions, the participants and partners of those programs have carried on long-term projects that are creating economic stability and environmental resiliency. Some of those sites have become Grand Aspirations Hubs where young innovators are building self-sustaining models for change.


“For me, Summer of Solutions was an incredible experience.  It’s hard to quantify or communicate all the ways in which it impacted me, and I’m sure that I will not know or understand all of those impacts until years from now.  Suffice it to say that I was absolutely blown away…

It is the empowerment that comes part and parcel with being part of building solutions that are really REAL, and knowing that those projects and initiatives were started by people my age – my friends and co-organizers. If they can do it, we can do it too.”
- Callista

“This is the strongest and most inspiring aspect of Summer of Solutions:  Any dedicated group of individuals can put together a program which, due to its open and creative itinerary, can be adapted to the desires and dreams of its participants.  Working in this manner has taught me more than I can explain.”
- Andrew