Grand Aspirations believes in the power of working together. As an organization, we think about our place in a system of change and seek to leverage the collective work of a broader movement. We trust local groups and communities to take leadership in appropriately applying our strategies and methods to their local contexts. We value the skill-sets and expertise that many other groups bring to the collective challenge of building a just, prosperous, and sustainable world. As opposed to competing for scarce resources, we approach collaboration with an eye towards creating synergies that unlock new capacity, create mutual benefit, and deepen the personal and organizational relationships that knit movements together.

Want to partner with Grand Aspirations? Please contact Nathan Jones on the Organizational Development Team: or 971-344-8295

National Partnerships:

National Partners of Grand Aspirations connect us to other communities and allow us to share vital resources and capacity between and across efforts:


Energy Action Coalition is a coalition of 50 youth-led environmental and social justice groups working together to build the youth clean energy and climate movement. Working with hundreds of campus and youth groups, dozens of youth networks, and hundreds of thousands of young people, Energy Action Coalition and its partners have united a burgeoning movement behind winning local victories and coordinating on state, regional, and national levels in the United States and Canada. Grand Aspirations is a partner organization in EAC, and has helped the coalition develop campaign work focused on the green economy and summer opportunities for youth.


The Sierra Student Coalition (SSC) is a network of high school and college students from across the country working to protect the environment. The SSC is the youth-run (age 14-30) chapter of the SierraClub, the nation’s oldest and largest grassroots environmental organization. The SSC is collaborating with Grand Aspirations to share and exchange leadership training resources in collaboration with their existing youth training programs (SPROGs). It has also served as a source for Summer of Solutions program leaders for several local programs.


Generation Waking Up is a global campaign to ignite a generation of young people to bring forth a thriving, just, sustainable world. Generation Waking Up uses multi-media “Wake-Ups” to inspire and engage young people in leading our current moment of transition and supports youth groups in developing local coalitions and innovative solutions. Generation Waking Up is collaborating with Grand Aspirations in integrating wake-up activities into Summer of Solutions programs and harnessing Grand Aspirations opportunities as action outlets. Generation Waking Up is also collaborating directly in supporting the 2011 Oakland Summer of Solutions program.

Local Program Partnerships:

Local and regional organizations support and host several local Summer of Solutions programs and other solutionary projects in their local communities:


GlobalExchange is a membership-based international human rights organization dedicated to promoting social, economic and environmental justice around the world. Global Exchange served as Grand Aspirations’s fiscal sponsor during 2008 through mid 2010, providing non-profit status for the Summer of Solutions and helping us get established. They now coordinate the Detroit Summer of Solutions Program – the Green Economy Leadership Training (GELT) – that is a part of our network of programs.


The Ohio Student Environmental Coalition is a statewide network of student groups working for a clean, safe, and just future for all.  OSEC is supporting the 2011 Summer of Solutions program in Cleveland; the Near West Empowerment and Renewal (NeWER) Approaches program.


The OMNI Center is a vibrant group of people in Northwest Arkansas who hold a vision for a culture of peace in an earth restored. We’re taking pragmatic steps toward justice, equality, open communication, meaningful networks and a healthy earth as we work on many different activities and programs together. The OMNI Center supports the Fayetteville Summer of Solutions program, currently in its second year in 2011.

StudentEnvironmentalActionCoalition (SEAC)

SEAC is a student run national network of progressive organizations and individuals whose aim is to uproot environmental injustices through education and action. SEAC defines the environment as including the physical, economic, political, and cultural conditions in which we live. By challenging the power structure which threatens these conditions, SEAC works to create progressive social change on both the local and global levels. SEAC supports the Build It Up West Virginia 2011 Summer of Solutions program.


United Church of Rogers Park seeks, by thinking globally and acting locally, to make known God’s love for persons of all races, ethnicities, sexual orientations, physical and mental abilities and economic classes. UCRP hosts the 2011 Summer of Solutions program in the Rogers Park neighborhood of Chicago, IL; Leading the Energy Transition; Sprouting Green Opportunities (LET’s GO).


Full Circles Foundation is an ambitious, long-term empowerment track for girls with high but unrealized potential, and is based in Raleigh, NC. Beginning in Kindergarten and extending to twelfth grade, girls are given opportunities to thrive through a holistic combination of humanities, health, environmental, civic, and entrepreneurial education. The Full Circles Foundation is currently in its first year and is being by Grand Aspirations running a Summer of Solutions program in 2011.

Regional Partners:

These regional partners are providing consistent support, outreach, and programmatic collaboration with Grand Aspirations and solutionary efforts in their primary areas of focus.


TheNICE (NorthwestInstituteforCommunityEnrichment)

The Northwest Institute for Community Enrichment builds collaboration between diverse constituencies in order to create, define, and maintain community-based and entrepreneurial initiatives which enrich our communities. The NICE is in the process of becoming a Grand Aspirations hub, is currently fiscally sponsored by Grand Aspirations, and is supporting the four 2011 Summer of Solutions programs in Oregon as well as piloting the NICE Consulting platform and the SOIL Training.


REAMP is an engaged and active network of nonprofits and foundations working on climate change and energy policy in an eight-state region of the upper Midwest. This ambitious project is aimed at transforming the upper Midwest energy sector into a model of clean, efficient and safe energy use, while reducing global warming pollution economy-wide 80% by 2050. RE-AMP brings environmental, labor, faith, youth, energy, conservation and other groups together to develop common priorities to achieve our goals in the areas of Clean Energy, Coal, Energy Efficiency, Global Warming Solutions and Transportation. REAMP connects Grand Aspirations with 120 non-profit and foundation groups across the Midwest and in 2011 is providing funding through the Youth Allies program to Summer of Solutions programs in Michigan and Minnesota.


The Cascade Climate Network (CCN) is a regional network of Northwest youth united to end the climate crisis and build a sustainable, just, and prosperous future for all. The Network consists of students and youth from across the Pacific Northwest who are actively working to address climate change in their bio-region, states and communities and campuses. The Cascade Climate Network has supported and collaborated with the Grand Aspirations programs in the Northwest connected with the NICE.

Climate Generation:
Established in January 2006, Climate Generation: a Will Steger Legacy (formerly Will Steger Foundation), located in Minneapolis, MN, educates and empowers people to engage in solutions to climate change, through its climate curriculum, youth leadership programs, and policy presence.  Climate Generation has seen firsthand the dramatic effects of climate change on both the environment and the human condition through the efforts of its founder, Will Steger, who has explored the Polar Regions for 45 years. Climate Generation collaborates with Grand Aspirations as a national network and youth organizer training resource, as well as the Summer of Solutions Twin Cities.

Emerging Partnerships:

These partnerships are forming – these groups are supportive and have helped with outreach or alerting us to local collaboration opportunities, but the partnership relationship is still developing


Green For All is dedicated to improving the lives of all Americans through a clean energy economy.  Green For All works in collaboration with the business, government, labor, and grassroots communities to create and implement programs that increase quality jobs and opportunities in green industry – all while holding the most vulnerable people at the center of our agenda. Green For All has supported Grand Aspirations through outreach to local leaders and youth around green economy programs and by connecting us with the green venture development and leadership development resources that they offer.


Center for Whole Communities is a land-based leadership development organization that regularly brings together leaders of different race, class, profession and ideology to find shared purpose and renew their collective strength. It fosters the innovative and collaborative responses from different sectors of the environmental and social movements that are necessary to address the complexity of today’s challenges. While nurturing in our alumni multi-disciplinary responses to challenges such as climate change and building economically competitive and equitable communities, our leadership programs directly confront the fragmentation that exists in American society around politics, race, class and privilege. The Center for Whole Communities has provided networks to local leaders nationwide, offers tools such as the Whole Measures system that Grand Aspirations has used to track progress, and is hosting a growing number of Grand Aspirations leaders at its Whole thinking Retreats.


The Empowerment Institute is the world’s premiere consulting and training organization specializing in the methodology of empowerment. Its state-of-the-art empowerment tools have been applied over the past thirty years to achieve measurable behavior change at the community and organizational level. Its clients consist of public sector agencies, corporations and non profits. The Empowerment Institute has served as a source of inspiration for several GA leadership development methodologies, and collaboration opportunities around the Cool Community Challenge are being investigated.


The Natural Leaders Network empowers a worldwide youth movement to strengthen the bond between children and nature. The Natural Leaders Network has supported Grand Aspirations in outreach to program leaders and applicants. Further collaboration discussions are underway.


The Cooperative Food Empowerment Directove (CoFed) is a training program and research institute that enables students to create ethically sourced, community-run cafes on college campuses. CoFed empowers an army of passionate and well trained food movement leaders and a new awareness in university eaters. CoFed is collaborating on cross-promotion of programs with Grand Aspirations and further discussion of food production collaborations are underway.

BrowerYouthAwards/ EarthIslandNewLeadersInitiative

The Earth Island Institute’s New Leaders Initiative is home to the Brower Youth Awards, the premier North American awards honoring bold young environmental leaders. Since 2000, the Brower Youth Awards has recognized 61 exceptional leaders with a cash prize, a high-energy week of activities in San Francisco, and ongoing leadership support. NLI also offers mentoring and project sponsorship to rising young leaders. The Brower Youth awards has provided outreach and promotional support to Grand Aspirations and other ongoing support to 2008 BYA winner Timothy DenHerder-Thomas.

Past Partners:


The Trek to Re-Energize America was a 2009 nationwide bike trip to Washington D.C. Riders departed from all across the country, sweeping up media attention and grassroots support as they go to highlight local efforts and mobilize communities and political leaders for leadership on climate solutions.The Trek was a fiscally sponsored project that highlighted the efforts of local programs as they passed by and served to interconnect the local work of the programs in a larger national message.


The Vermont Sustainable Heating Initiative is a non-profit organization dedicated to the establishment of affordability and sustainability in Vermont’s home heating economy. We believe that Vermont has the potential to be energy independent within the home-heating sector, and that this energy independence can and should be established in a manner that is socially, environmentally, and economically responsible. The Vermont Sustainable heating Initiative hosted Summer of Solutions programs in Burlington VT in 2009 and 2010.