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First Steps

A new program to help community-based organizations embrace sustainability through simple, achievable measures.

take yourfirst step


Join a cohort of changemakers for a tailored journey that meets your needs, and moves the needle forward.

Membership is open for three cohorts, launching Fall of 2024

Schools and Classrooms

Bring sustainability education into the classroom to prepare youth for the jobs of tomorrow. Apply best practices across operations to save money and foster stewardship of the environment.


Discover the processes and opportunities that can reduce risk to fortify services and improve outcomes. Gain facility efficiencies and strengthen your bottom line.

Faith Communities

Align the principles of sustainability to your faith, connect with communities on the front lines of environmental injustice, and inspire congregants to make an impact.


About the Program

First Steps Meets you where you are.

We offer three unique tracks for members to customize their experience:

  1. Facilities

  2. ​Service

  3. Capacity Builder

Learn more about which track is best for you by taking this quick quiz!

First Steps Guides your Journey. 

As a member, you will receive a detailed, handheld booklet, specific to your cohort. It includes up to 13 steps with guidance, resources, examples, and activity templates. You will also have a human hand to steer you through the cycle, supporting your success along the way.

First Steps Strengthens Community.

Joining the program puts you in a collective of organizations working towards the same goals. For service track members, you will act on the front lines tackling projects that benefit those most impacted by local environmental injustices. 

Learn more about service projects below.

First Steps is impact in action.

In our pilot launch of the program in 2023, members saved on electricity costs, planted trees and pollinator habitat, created carpooling processes, reduced waste, built vegetable gardens and offered plant-based meals at their events. The needle is moving, will you be part of the change?

Why First Steps?

Community based groups are the forefront of leading healthy and thriving populations but are often navigating tough constraints. We believe that sustainability shouldn't be a practice of privilege. Institutions like schools, nonprofits, and houses of worship are already leaders, we want to equip them with the tools to maximize their ability to creating lasting, positive change. To make it accessible to all, First Steps has a pay-what-you-can model, with a suggested donation of only $100 per month. 

How do I become a member?

Becoming a member is simple! First, use the form below to sign up. Our program coordinator will follow up with you to schedule a meeting to learn about your goals and facilitate a capacity mapping exercise to chart your course and set up your workflow. You will receive the program booklet and credentials to access the web-application. We will host a kick-off event in October 2024, and then you can begin tackling the steps selected!

How does it work?

First Steps is a guided journey, where members embark on a set of defined steps, each cycle beginning in fall and commencing in summer. Our program coordinator will be your trusty companion, and a detailed program booklet will guide you through each step along the way. We will check in on your progress and send a curated newsletter of happenings, tips, and relevant resources each month. You will also be invited to members only events that foster connectivity between cohorts.

What does success look like?

You set the goals and we help you chose a track based on what you aim to achieve. Every journey is unique! Whatever the route you take, we will help you stay the course, and even offer micro-grants to get your activities off the ground. At the end of the cycle, you will be celebrated for your efforts, no matter how small or grand. Take our principles with you from there or sign up to participate another year if you want to build upon your momentum!

Track Options


Maximize Efficiencies

The steps in this track aim to reduce your emissions, save on utilities and reduce waste or help you prepare for commitments like going carbon neutral.

For those who desire tracking the numbers, saving money, and reporting out to stakeholders about your operational sustainability impacts.


Community Resilience

This option focuses on community projects and taking an outward approach to improving sustainability impacts, prioritizing the People pillar of sustainability.

If you want to lean into the health, wellbeing, and environmental justice aspects of sustainability, outside your own operations, this track is for you!

Capacity Builder

Ala Carte Style

Choose your own adventure with this track! Mix and match any steps we offer to work towards your priorities or explore new opportunities you have yet to discover.

This option allows groups to explore how sustainability intersects with existing goals and get familiar with a variety of steps for a true first step into a planet positive future.

Example Steps

Each step available to your cohort will be available in your program booklet and an accompanying web-application. Steps cover activities like checking your bills, reducing single-use waste, building a "green" team, and planting trees or pollinator habitat. Every step includes a detailed process, digital resources and tools to support your success, and a place to record your efforts. Some steps have alternative options to allow flexibility depending on your unique situation.


Join First Steps today!

Fill out this form to begin your journey, we can't wait to walk this path along your side.

First Steps Sign Up Form

Cohort Membership
Schools and Classroms
Faith Communities
Which program track are you interested in pursuing?
Optional donation to support the program. This is a pay-what-you-can model, suggested donation amount is $100 per month.

Thanks to our First Steps Sponsors

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