In 2009, the League partnered with the Michigan Energy Office (MEO), Michigan Townships Association (MTA) and Michigan Association of Counties (MAC) to launch the Green Communities Challenge, which measured local government progress towards energy efficiency. In the ensuing years, the program has seen a number of significant changes, including a move to a web-based checklist format, the addition of new partner organizations and an expansion of topics covered beyond energy efficiency. After a series of successful statewide conferences and other educational events, which included participation from more than 130 local governments, the supporting organizations started to view the Challenge as one component of a broader program, the Michigan Green Communities network, designed to connect leaders from around the state and help them learn from one another.
Until now, this network has been largely an informal and unofficial entity, held together by verbal agreements and the common vision of a number of individuals. Today Michigan Green Communities is supported by six statewide organizations that have signed a formal memorandum of understanding: MML, MEO, MTA, MAC, the Department of Environmental Quality and the MML Foundation. Those organizations have agreed to commit staff time and other resources to the program, which will be led by a steering committee of local government leaders. The MML Foundation has agreed to serve as the fiduciary for Michigan Green Communities.
The Michigan Green Communities network continues to grow, so visit http://mml.org/green/ to get your community or organization involved and to keep up on the latest program updates. Thank you to all the communities and organizations that have supported this initiative from 2009 to today.
Luke Forrest is a Program Coordinator for Michigan Green Communities. Contact him via email or Twitter.