Organizational Landscape Analysis

This project is an effort to understand 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.

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?


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 Outputs

We plan to produce the following:


  1. Structures for implementing an equitable, inclusive and collaborative research process that is driven by best practices.
  2. A definition of the movement we are studying that includes the concepts of sustainability, environmental justice, and climate justice.
  3. A publicly available database of organizations with basic information about their priorities, core activities, strategies, and challenges.
  4.  An analysis of the priorities and challenges present in the data from organizations.
  5. A set of materials, printed and digital, that communicate the key findings of the landscape analysis. 

Principal Investigators

Chris Widmaier, Executive Director, Rochester Ecology Partners

Tonya Noel, Founder, Flower City Noire Collective

Adrienne Perovich, Associate Director, Research & Grants
Tishman Environment and Design Center

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.


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.

Project Status

Updated 2/28/22

We have piloted the project with students at local colleges and are currently seeking community support. Students in a writing class at St John Fisher helped us to understand what our interview process and analysis could look like while students in a sustainable communities class worked on helping us to get a list of organizations started in a way that gives us a starting point for identifying organizations through the lens of just sustainabilities. In our search for community support REP was recently awarded a $20,000 seed grant from the Emil Muller Foundation, an important milestone and signal of support for this project. We have also also received support from the Rochester Area Community Foundation in the amount of $20,000.00 for this project. At this point we are working to build our research team and are recruiting members of our advisory and research design teams. Please reach out with the form below if you would like to get involved.

Contribute to this project

Please reach out if you are interested in getting involved.

We need:

Ideas and feedback about the project
Letters of support for the project
Research team members
Support in the form of volunteers, grants, and donations
Information about organizations


What organizations and people do we need to know about?

Please share the names of organizations and that we need to include in our study. 



Project Updates

Community-Engaged Learning Award

Community-Engaged Learning Award

The St. John Fisher College Community-Engaged Learning Program recently awarded Rochester Ecology Partners a Reciprocity Award for our work with students in Dr. Jim Bowman’s community writing course. Channing Harell, Brooklyn Kicherer, Hailey Rice, and Chloe Wu piloted survey questions and analysis for our newly launched Environmental Organization Landscape Analysis project. Their work informs how we go about building a better understanding and stronger network of the organizations creating a more just and sustainable Rochester.

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Emil Muller Foundation Grant Will Foster A Better Understanding of Environmental Organizations in the Greater Rochester Region

Rochester Ecology Partners (REP) was recently awarded a $20,000.00 grant from the Emil Muller Foundation for a project that will lead to a better understanding of environmental nonprofit organizations in the Rochester Region. The Environmental Organization Landscape Analysis this grant supports will lead to greater alignment and collaboration between organizations and partners from other sectors. This project furthers REP’s mission of connecting all people to nature where they live, work and play by fostering relationships and developing publicly available resources for community members seeking to influence a more just and sustainable future for our community.

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