Grand Aspirations is looking for a National Administrator!

As I’m sure that many of you have heard by now, we are looking for a National Administrator to help us out with our national operations by overseeing the day-to-day administration of Grand Aspirations and keeping other national staff and support team members on track on their self-created action plans and timelines. This position is especially exciting, since it is a turning point for the growth of our organization and certainly the closest to a full time position that we have yet been able to offer!

This is an amazing opportunity to really help us get a step up on our annual operations, and start to build a career in the Green Economy! If you have experience with non-profit management, accounting, and personal and group facilitation, please definitely take a look at this opportunity! As always, we would love to hear from you. You can read more on our website at

Leo Qin, Advisory Council.

Dispatches from Portland: Marathon Edition

Hi all,

This is Leo from Portland, here to tell you about the marathon organizing month we’ve just had. May has been a crazy whirlwind of emotion/progress and it doesn’t look to be letting up soon!

First off, we have confirmed Memorandums of Understanding with all of our community partners! Not only will they be receiving the data that we collect about community interests this summer, but they will also work directly with our participants to refine and upgrade their engagement strategies! As we say, an involved community is a strong community, and as organizers, it is part of our duty to get people involved in the spaces in which they live. What could be more elementary?

May has also been a crazy recruiting month for us. We have not only had rolling admissions from the Grand Aspirations national admissions process, but we in Portland have started another round of recruiting in our public universities in high schools. I personally spoke to over 60 college students about two weeks ago, and many are eager to create the change they want to see in the world!

All in all, it’s been a crazy month for us in Portland. Just when we could use it to slow down, it speeds right back up again. It’s all for the better though… we’ll have a dynamite Summer of Solutions this year!

PS. Congrats to all the programs that have recently kicked off, and any that are kicking off in the near future!

Updates from Portland

Greetings from Portland!

This is Leo, your friendly Portland Summer of Solutions Program Leader! I’m just writing to inform you about some of the exciting things that have been happening around Portland.

Two weeks ago, we signed our first Memorandum of Understanding with a local community partner, Million Monarchs! Million Monarchs focuses on individual and community solar power projects, specifically seeking to connect residents of low income communities to the resources they need to finance solar power installations. This is not only good for the environment, but actually saves money in the long run!

This summer, Portland Summer of Solutions will work with Million Monarchs to raise community awareness of their solar installation efforts through their inclusion as an item on our survey-challenge model of community engagement! Furthermore, Summer of Solutions participants will work directly with Million Monarchs to create and implement strategies to raise awareness of individual and community solar projects in the deep Southeast neighborhoods of Portland!

Hope everything’s going well across the country!


Greetings from Portland!

Greetings from Portland, OR!

We here at the Portland Enrichment Program are incredibly excited to be firing up for our next Summer of Solutions!

In Portland, we work primarily with an organization called the Foster Green Eco-District. They are main stakeholders in a fairly large area of Portland with the same name. The neighborhoods that the Eco-District encompass are all incredibly diverse and working class. Many of the residents are new immigrants or work irregular and abnormal hours. This, if course, is not the image that most people have of Portland, and we intend to fulfill several goals of social justice through our projects, among others.

Last year, we conducted a listening project with over one thousand people in the Eco-District designed to gauge the interests that residents had in regards to sustainability and neighborhood livability. We have streamlined the process from last year, and this summer we will work towards our goal of visiting every resident of the Eco-District over the next three years. This is no small feat, as the Eco-District contains over twenty-five thousand unique addresses. We are aided in this goal by our many community, city, state, and regional level partners.

When we visit residents of the Eco-District, we conduct a survey of their interests, but we also engage them in producing a sustainable future for themselves. The Foster Green Community Challenge is a way for residents to sign up and take personal steps to live sustainably. Many of the actions are low or no cost.

Another initiative that we are undertaking (and this writer is spearheading) is what we call the Challenge in a Box. The model that we have created and are testing in the Foster Green Eco-District is one that we would love to see  expanded not only to other regions of Portland, but also to other cities all across the United States. The Challenge in a Box contains the materials, directions, and models that we have used to greatly expedite the startup process in other places. The faster the Challenge is set up and ready to go, the faster that strong Community Engagement data and effects may be generated.

We hope you’re excited at the prospects of our newly rejuvenated program! We can’t wait to get started!

Leo Qin, Program Leader