September 2016

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SSDN Workplace and Neighborhood Challenge Case Study

The inspiration is in the challenge: The concept for the municipal workplace challenge stems from the Mayor Karl Dean’s Mayor’s Workplace Challenge started in Nashville. Mayor Dean challenged businesses and organizations to create more green, healthy and involved workplaces in Nashville. This challenge has snow balled to 6 other southern communities and inspired 244* businesses and organizations to challenge themselves to be part of making greener, healthier and more engaged communities. The workplace challenge invites businesses and organizations to track their progress around key metrics that ultimately create more sustainable businesses, and a more livable community. Businesses compete with each other to be the most sustainable business in the city using an online scorecard and website to submit and track progress.

Collaboration Project Overview - Despite the original challenge program hailing from Nashville this story actually begins in Chattanooga, TN. A motivated group of twenty city sustainability directors got together during the Southeast Sustainability Directors Network (SSDN) annual meeting. During this meeting they traded best practices, taught each other about urban sustainability innovations, and sought to build the SSDN network. During this summer meeting Laurel Creech, the then sustainability director from the City of Nashville, presented her recently launched Mayors Workplace Challenge program to her peers. Impressed with the impact of the program and the thoughtfulness of the program design a seed was planted in the imaginations of her peers. By the end of the three day convening six SSDN communities aligned around the desire to expand and replicate the Nashville program in order to implement it in all of their communities. Within a year of that meeting this ambitious group had secured grant funding from the USDN Innovation Fund to take this one city program to six additional communities in the region.

Collaborating Communities:

  • City of Miami, Florida (project lead)
  • Orange County, Florida
  • Sarasota County, Florida
  • City of Asheville, North Carolina
  • Durham City and County, North Carolina
  • City of Knoxville, Tennessee
The 2017 SSDN Annual Meeting 
We are excited to announce that we have set the date and location for our 2017 Annual Meeting. Please save the date for May 3, 4 and 5, 2017. We will be hosted by our fellow members and partners in Durham, North Carolina. Thank you to Tobin Freid and to Megan Carroll for your willingness to host another wonderful meeting. A special thank you also goes out to our Annual Meeting Planning Committee (Tobin, Megan, Cindy Holmes, Megan Anderson, Sara Kane and Mary Pat Baldauf) for all your your hard work so far. We will be sending out the content survey in October for member feedback on the meeting's educational sessions and details. Please take the survey and provide your feedback!
Peer Learning Exchange Grant Matchmaking Call
SSDN will host another All Network Call to weave members together around ideas that could turn into grant proposals to the upcoming USDN's Peer Learning Exchange grant opportunity. The next two application windows are in November 30, 2016 and March 30, 2017. More information about the Peer Learning Exchange can be found here.
Please join us for an SSDN Peer Learning Exchange Grant Matchmaking call on Tuesday, October 11 from 10am-11am EST. During this call we will hear from members who have grant proposal ideas and work to identify which ideas have the most interest from members. 
We invite you to submit ideas to Meg for Peer Learning Exchange grants that you would want to participate in by September 30th. We will send participants an agenda the week before the call.
SSDN completes Regional Networks Pilot Program Work Book
Over the past year, SSDN has participated as a Partner Network in the USDN Regional Networks Pilot Program. The goals of the program were to:
1) Define and strengthen the relationships between USDN and Regional Networks of Sustainability Directors in North America;
2) Formalize network building best practices for existing and emerging networks, so they can be supported as an urban sustainability field-building tool;
3) Provide support for interested networks for continued Regional Network growth; and
4) Scale field development opportunities through regional network.
Each participating network completed a work book throughout this process that serves as a guide to network structure, governance, leadership and programs.
Thanks to our SSDN representatives, Peter Nierengarten and Robin Cox, for taking the lead in this process. View the work book here!
Jobs and Opportunities
Florida Green Building Council Green Trends Conference - Hollywood, FL October 20-21st.  The agenda includes topics like:  green building; community solar; new Florida Energy Code; sustainability policy; cost benefit analysis; and resiliency! Please visit for further information. 

Contact Us
Southeast Sustainability Directors Network
A Project of the Chalice Oak Foundation

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Southeast Sustainability Directors Network · P.O. Box 27534 · Knoxville, TN 37927 · USA

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