Our Philosophy

Grand Aspirations is founded on the values, principles and strategies of the solutionary method, which is about seeing the world in terms of the solutions possible all around us. Throughout our programs, emerging leaders work together to advance personal competence in this method, build a community around it, and enact it in the broader world.

VALUES:  Our values are the ideals that drive our work and our vision for the future.  We hold ourselves to these values in the processes we undergo and the outcomes we seek.

  1. Sustainability: We integrate cultural and ecological systems for lasting solutions that promote whole-picture, long-term healing and transformation.
  2. Prosperity: We create the economic conditions that allow for people to thrive. The prosperity we seek is not solely material wealth, but also flourishing opportunity, holistic well-being, and interdependency.
  3. Justice: We recognize the value of every person and stand firm in the belief that the green economy cannot flourish if some are left out. We seek an equitable society where everyone has the resources and the freedom to meet their needs and contribute to society in their unique and creative ways.
  4. Community: Community is the solution. Diverse and creative communities are stronger and smarter than any of us alone, and we aim to strengthen the bonds amongst one another at the interpersonal, local, and national level to bring meaning, creativity, and resiliency to our work.

PRINCIPLES: Our principles guide the way we approach our work.  They are the key insights that contribute to our strategies.

  1. Make Progress: Our green economy solutions are based on new approaches that out-compete unsustainable practices and fulfill multiple needs.
  2. Collaborate: We bring together community-based innovators to create locally-appropriate solutions. We are an adaptive network, building bridges among groups to realize new opportunities. We diversify our collective wisdom and understanding through the relationships we build.
  3. Be Entrepreneurial: We recognize the abundance of financial, social, ecological, and intellectual resources around us, and work creatively to generate and sustain what we need through our work.
  4. Empower Cyclically:  We foster deep participation and learning through our work, intentionally and continually developing new leadership within ourselves and others.
  5. Build for the Long-Term: We achieve concrete results that lay a foundation for initiatives’ growth, instead of their completion, and create long-lasting change.
  6. Think Critically: We deepen our personal and collective understanding of how the world works in order to create rapid, whole-systems transformation.
  7. Honor Process: We encourage consistent individual and group reflection and planning. Our leaders apply the lessons they learn to their future initiatives and their own livelihoods.

STRATEGIES: Strategies apply our principles to a pathway of action that will achieve our goals.

  1. Train Emerging Leaders: We teach transformative and career-building methods in community organizing and social entrepreneurship that help youth leaders create sustained and systemic change. We create competence in these skills through implementation.
  2. Build Transformative Learning Communities: We grow from the experiences we share with our fellow leaders. Our collaborative ventures encourage reciprocal, team-based problem solving and bring together unlikely partners to create solutions together.
  3. Achieve Concrete Results: We develop projects that will take measurable steps towards the creation of the green economy and have real benefits for the communities we work with. Successful initiatives will lay the foundation for dramatically higher-quality and broader-scale efforts.
  4. Create the Models: We launch community-based green economy initiatives in communities nationwide that serve as innovative models to be shared and replicated.
  5. Share the Vision: We share our stories with the world to advance a vision of concrete and scalable solutions that catalyze grassroots leaders to transform the political, economic, and cultural landscape of the green economy.
  6. Adapt the Process: We capture, evaluate, share, and adapt the processes we use so as to assist new solutions by ourselves and others.

 

The Cycle of Empowerment

The Cycle of Empowerment shows our approach to leadership development. We believe that emerging leaders must be empowered not just to exercise their own abilities to great ends, but also to turn around and empower others in the same way.

 

Ecology, Economy, and Equity united by Community

As demonstrated in our values, we believe that the so-called “triple bottom line” of ecological sustainability, economic prosperity, and social equity are necessary components of any vision for the future. However, they must also be deepened by the community that compels those values forth and enacts them in the world.