THE SALLAN FOUNDATION ANNUAL REPORT 2011
Executive Director's Report
Our 2010 Annual Report sought signs of forward motion and hope for the future of urban sustainability in the face of a struggling economy, a hostile federal political climate and citizens who often had other things on their minds. It's fair to say that our 2011 Annual Report sees the needle moving into more positive territory, although the challenges and worrisome realities of 2010 have not faded away. It is also imperative to observe that cities remain the locus of smart, sustainable innovation.
In New York City, 2011 saw both the inception and advancement of programs promised in Mayor Bloomberg's updated PlaNYC, opportunities to recast the urban infrastructure to make it more energy efficient and natural resource aware, and economic energy flowing into greener endeavors. The civic space that is home to the Sallan Foundation pulsed with engagement. In 2011, we continued to demonstrate an ability to perform as an agent for reimagining the roles and goals of the metropolis. We are now set on a course of action with goals that can be achieved with tenacious focus as we face forward into the future.
We develop projects and establish working partnerships to shine a light on sustainability efforts that can be executed at an urban scale. As the Executive Director of the Sallan Foundation, I mobilize the Foundation's resources with the objective of identifying, incubating and disseminating emerging trends and practices with the capacity to 'green' the built environment and bring its underlying infrastructure up to its fullest potential. Our strategy is to assemble the best ideas for making global cities into centers of environmental innovation and resilience. We cultivate effective advocacy but are not aligned with any profession, discipline or political party. Since opening our doors in 2005, we have served as an independent convener and facilitator of stakeholder collaborations and as an educator in the public realm.
The Sallan Foundation accomplished the following:
Broadcasting Emerging Ideas
The Sallan website, continues to evolve as a core communications tool. Over time, it has continued to prove its worth by expanding content on emerging ideas and practices for high performance cities and refining its broadcasting methods. As well, Sallan's presence in social media has grown.
Web Site Content — Since launching the Sallan website in 2005, it has become an essential tool for advancing the Foundation's mission. Not only is it the primary url for downloading Sallan-sponsored research, it is the vehicle for curating content on domestic and global green news as well as longer reports and think-pieces. The site attracts visitors from 30 countries.
Site-Generated Content — This year, topics of Sallan's guest Snapshot column ranged from the "smart grid" to parsing a climate decision by the Supreme Court, from green historic preservation to current green trends in real estate law. One of the best-read Torchlight columns spelled out the innovations and implications of the New York State's new power-plant siting law.
Special Features — The website spotlights Sallan-sponsored public events through mixed-media Wrap-Ups. This year, Wrap-Ups for both Reimagining the Metropolis panels were posted, as were features on both Market Makers panels.
Social Media — Sallan tweets five times a business day and its 'follower' base is growing. It also maintains a presence on the Sustainable Cities Collective website and posts comments on green-themed sites including Yale University 360 and the Council of Foreign Relations green blog.
In Other Media — Sallan established a presence of the Sustainable Cities Collective website by posting two articles and notices about Sallan-sponsored events. It continues to post on-line in the New York Times, Yale University's 360, Gotham Gazette and the Council on Foreign Relations blog.
Fostering an Informed Public
The Foundation's goal is to foster an informed public that assigns priority to high performance urban agendas, while recognizing the emergent nature of this agenda-setting. To further this goal in 2011, Sallan developed, produced and participated in conferences and panels open to the public. Its ongoing strategy is to solicit participation of scholarly and professional experts, media and advocates to identify and advance core green urban issues.
- Pratt Institute and Terrapin Bright Green — Based on a successful Sallan-initiated high performance building series in 2005 and the first two panels of the four-part Reimagining the Metropolis series in 2010, Sallan and its partners organized and hosted the concluding panels this year. Dr. Anderson moderated the panel Revolution Is No Joke, featuring an affordable green-housing expert from Deutsche Bank, a mortgage underwriter and a real estate attorney. The final panel, Vision for A Near Future featured senior members of the Bloomberg administration.
- NYC-ACRE — Sallan developed the concept of a Market Makers panel and partnered with NYC-ACRE, an urban green-business incubator at NYU/Poly, on this two-part series. Moderated by the environment and energy reporter for Scientific American, the kick-off panel was held at the New York Academy of Sciences as part of Climate Week 2011. The second panel, had speakers from the Natural Resources Defense Counsel, Jonathan Rose Companies and the first big New York City law firm to negotiate a "green lease".
- New York Academy of Sciences — As part of Sallan's work on the NYAS Green Buildings Group, the Executive Director organized a panel on Green Building Metrics in partnership with Terrapin Bright Green.
- Clean Tech Corridor — The Sallan Foundation was one of several sponsors for Solar Energy In New York, which assembled a panel of renewable energy business and finance experts to consider pending State solar power legislation.
- NYU Real Estate Institute — Dr. Anderson was asked to return as a faculty participant for the NYU Dollars and Sense certificate program organize by John Osborn, Esq.
In 2011, the Foundation advanced its goal of cultivating effective advocacy for greener cities by taking concrete steps to meet its objective of fusing useful knowledge with collaborations to advance a high performance urban agenda.
- Newman Real Estate Institute, CUNY — In 2009, as part of the Greener Greater Building Plan, New York City government enacted an innovative Benchmarking statute. Of national interest, the law requires large buildings to submit standardized data every year on their electricity, fuel and water use. The law also obligates the City to issue an Annual Benchmarking Report. Here the Sallan Foundation saw an outstanding opportunity to advance useful knowledge for greener cities by soliciting ideas about how to maximize the utility and impact of this annual report. To this end, the Foundation and the CUNY Newman Real Estate Institute jointly organized the Friends of Benchmarking. The goal of the Friends is canvassing and organizing the collective wisdom of real estate and utility stakeholders in addition to green building experts and advocates for the purpose of developing and presenting a Benchmarking White Paper to the City.
- New York Academy of Sciences — For a fifth year, Dr. Anderson participated on two green sciences advisory groups that provide ideas to staff for developing a year's worth of public programs.
- New York Academy of Sciences — For a fourth year, the Foundation served on two green science advisory groups that provided concepts, themes and speakers' lists to staff for developing a year's worth of public programs. Through her participation, Dr. Anderson was invited to moderate one panel on carbon offsets and developed a second panel on climate adaptation strategies for New York City and their implications for other coastal urban centers.
- New York League of Conservation Voters — Sallan continued to work with the Green Group, which brainstorms about local environmental legislation and how to rate the contribution of elected officials in advancing a green agenda.
- PlaNYC 2030 — In preparation for the 2.0 version of New York's influential green urban blueprint, PlaNYC 2030, the City's consulting firm interviewed Nancy and she participated in a roundtable on the economic development aspects of the updated PlaNYC.
- Manhattan Chamber of Commerce, Green Finance Subcommittee — As an informal member of the group, Sallan has ongoing opportunities to become better acquainted with emerging green businesses and representatives of established companies committed to sustainable practices and products.
- Bard College — For the second year, the Foundation participated in an advisory meeting regarding the establishment of the Bard College MBA in sustainability. The program will open its doors in 2012.
- Komanoff Energy Associates — Sallan was asked to participate in a brainstorming meeting with a group of mass transit, budget and Albany experts about gaining on better understanding of decision-making and debt-issuance decisions made by the MTA.