“A truly sustainable region will not come to fruition unless all of the municipalities feel they have a shared sense of purpose, support each other’s efforts and work together to achieve common goals.”

In 2013, Sustainable Jersey’s Mercer County Sustainability Coalition was formed as an effort to bring sustainability-minded individuals and organizations together with the intention of networking and collaboration.

Sustainable Jersey, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that provides tools, training and financial incentives to support communities across the New Jersey as they pursue sustainability programs, helped to convene the Coalition as one of its regional hubs. Currently, 75 percent of New Jersey’s towns and cities participate in the Sustainable Jersey program.

Thanks to the Mercer County Sustainability Coalition, municipal green teams, environmental commissions, nonprofits and the Mercer County Office of Economic Development and Sustainability regularly connect and share best practices from their own communities and across the state.

Thanks to the Mercer County Sustainability Coalition, municipal green teams, environmental commissions, nonprofits and the Mercer County Office of Economic Development and Sustainability regularly connect and share best practices from their own communities and across the state.

Sustainable Jersey staff realized that a key ingredient for municipal success in developing sustainability programs is participation in a regional network. Sustainability goes beyond geographic boundaries. Water supplies, river beds, transportation networks, and the air we breathe are all shared between municipalities and counties within a region. It makes sense that a truly sustainable region will not come to fruition unless all municipalities feel they have a shared sense of purpose, support each other’s efforts and work together to achieve common goals.

“Leaders from the various green teams and organizations around Mercer County were meeting sporadically, so we knew that the foundation for a coalition was there,” said Randall Solomon, co-director of Sustainable Jersey. “Through the Princeton Area Community Foundation grant, we’ll help facilitate taking the coalition to the next level. We’ll have the capability to assist Mercer County individuals and organizations in forming lasting partnerships that will improve quality of life issues throughout the region.”

Thanks to the Mercer County Sustainability Coalition, municipal green teams, environmental commissions, nonprofits and the Mercer County Office of Economic Development and Sustainability regularly connect and share best practices from their own communities and across the state. The group facilities the discussion of opportunities to work together on projects, and the opportunity to learn from experts on trending issues on economic, environmental and social sustainability.

“Because every town in Mercer County is participating in Sustainable Jersey, the county offers the perfect opportunity for a strong regional hub. Our goal through this initiative is to see each town actively participate in the Mercer County Sustainability Coalition. There’s no other way to achieve real regional sustainability,” said Donna Drewes, co-director of Sustainable Jersey.

The Mercer County Sustainability Coaltion is ripe for the Greater Mercer Grants for its ability to increase collaboration to achieve a common goal, said Michelle Cash, Community Foundation Vice President, Grants and Programs.”The environment does not respect municipal boundaries. This fact makes sustainability the perfect topic to encourage municipal entities to form collaborative groups and forge shared goals,” said Cash.

Resources:

Sustainable Jersey