Environmental Organization Community Analysis

We seek to connect groups who are dedicated to improving community well-being and the environment for all.

This project is an effort to understand and connect the work of organizations improving our environment in the Rochester Region. The definition of an “environmental organization” is shifting and an intersectional approach that recognizes the role of the social and natural environment in the work of many organizations is needed. The end result will be a publicly available database of organizations, a better understanding of what is being done to build a more sustainable and just community, and a research process that models community participation and engagement.

Ultimately we hope this project will lead to a more connected environmental movement locally, the application of resources in ways that lead to change for those that need it most, and a shared vision that has been developed and adopted by the community.

Rochester Environment Directory

Learn about and connect with the organizations in our region that are doing the work of creating a sustainable and just future.

Final Report

The final report of our analysis includes insights and next steps for Rochester’s environmental community.

Research Questions

  • How can we create an equitable, inclusive, and collaborative local movement?
  • Who are the environmental organizations in the region and how do we identify them?
  • What are their priorities, core activities, strategies, and challenges?
  • How do local organizations define “environmental justice”, “sustainability” and “climate justice”?

Project Origin

This project began as a conversation between the Rochester Ecology Partners (REP) board of directors and representatives from the Rochester Area Community Foundation (RACF). We recognized that a project like this would benefit both organizations as REP, a newly formed organization, seeks to understand where it fits into the ecosystem of local organizations and RACF builds a strategy around sustainability and environmental justice as a program area. For several months a team of volunteers convened by REP, in collaboration with RACF, have worked to develop a proposal for funding and launching the project. The Emil Muller Foundation provided initial funding to launch the project.


In doing this work we aim to adhere to principles and practices that lead to just and equitable solutions. This begins with approaching things from a perspective where community members are equal partners in the research. Additionally we will use a broad definition of an environmental organization and an intersectional lens that will ensure equity and inclusivity.

To better understand who is doing what, where they are doing it, and how they are doing it, a research team will use a reflective process of inquiry to establish methods of research. Proposed methods include document review, surveys, and interviews. Relationship building will be central to our approach.

Project Benefits

Shared Definitions
  • Common framework for communication
  • Connect to larger movements nationally and globally
  • Easier to connect around the same issues or across issues
  • Easier to connect with resources
  • Highlight common challenges
  • Illuminate soultions that are working
  • Identify gaps and opportunities
Network Building
  • Collaborative Opportunities
  • Resource sharing

Project Team

Principal Investigators

  • Tonya Noel
  • Adrienne Perovich
  • Chris Widmaier

Research Design Team

  • Dr. Kathleeen Donovan
  • Ann Howard, JD
  • Dr. Jane Coggshall McConnochie

Advisory Committee

  • Calvin Eaton
  • Antonius Chess
  • Jennifer Lowenstein
  • Carter Remy
  • Nathan Hayes
  • Sally Howard
  • Julio Jordan

Project Sponsors

This project is made possible with generous support from the following organizations:

  • Emil Muller Foundation
  • Rochester Area Community Foundation

Please reach out if you are interested in supporting this project.