Clean Energy & Water
ECC takes a comprehensive, high-road approach to helping communities develop and implement cost-saving clean energy and water solutions.
Learn More
High-Road Jobs
The process of creating a more sustainable environment offers many opportunities to close the nation’s income and wealth gap.
Learn More
Climate-Resilient Economic Systems
Communities can withstand or rebound from climate disruption when they have access to regional, community-owned networks for critical needs.
Learn More
Participatory Democracy & Climate Justice
ECC develops multi-stakeholder coalitions to advance a high-road agenda that is inclusive, accountable and equitable.
Learn More

Our Mission

The Emerald Cities Collaborative (ECC) pursues a high-road approach to greening our cities, building resilient regional economies and strengthening our democracy. By building cross-sector collaborations, acutely focused on those historically left out of the economic and community development process, we help communities unleash their capacity to build high-road economies that are more sustainable, economically just and democratic.

Our Impact

Employment & Contracting

Construction & Retrofitting

Workforce Development & Training

260 mWDBE

Trained in socially responsible green building and infrastructure development across seven cities. 


Committed to a food processing facility that will employ a local, sustainable food economy through our Anchors in Resilient Communities (ARC) program. 


Retrofitted green and healthy, multi-family housing for low-income families. 


In energy efficiency, clean energy and green infrastructure contracts awarded to minority contractors. 

700 MW

Of high-road solar projects.


Number of  disadvantaged workers enrolled into union apprenticeship programs. 


Local workers placed into union jobs and use Black and Brown urban growers as suppliers.


High school students helped to earn industry credentials/ skills certificates; and helped over a dozen Latino students enroll in planning, environmental sci­ence and engineering programs.


Of negotiated ECC projects pay union or prevailing wages.

Our Work

ECC has proven that multi-stakeholder, intersectional models work. Whether your goal is to create more opportunities for underrepresented contractors, workers and youth to participate in sustainable development projects; or you seek to engage anchor institutions in local climate resilience efforts; or you need help building an inclusive local corps of environmental/ climate/economic justice advocates, ECC offers programs that can help guide your community along the high road.

Our Funders

Transitioning local economies from a low-road extraction model to a high-road sustainable one is no easy task. Thanks to the dedicated support of our funding partners, the Emerald Cities Collaborative has proven it can be done.


Joel Rogers, J.D., PhD.
COWS Director, University of Wisconsin & Co-Chair, ECC Board
“In 2009, our idea of a high-road economy was considered “interesting,” but untested. We spent a year building the vision and the partnerships, and the next decade turning our vision into action. Today, we have proven models of multi-sector collaboration focused on creating a more sustainable, equitable and democratic future.”

Sunia Zaterman
Executive Director, Council of Large Public Housing Authorities (CLPHA)
“[ECC] brings together a wide array of sectors to solve the problems of greening our cities, building our communities, and of economic justice.”

Gerald (Gerry) Hudson
SEIU Secretary-Treasurer and Co-Chair, ECC Board
“We are excited to see the growth of this vision and movement toward an equitable, clean economy. It is this dynamism and our results to date that inspire us to head confidently into the next decade.”