Friends and Founders Celebration – July 20th, 2017


I joined the Board of Directors many years ago because I believed in the organization’s mission and its commitment to work towards achieving its goals not only by participating in the public policy process, but also by informing the public and fostering grassroots involvement.

I had worked professionally and academically in land use and environmental planning, and saw Board service as a way to contribute to 1000 Friends and its goals.

While originally our signature activity was supporting and helping with implementation of the state’s “Smart Growth” planning law, the organization’s mission and focus has evolved dramatically over the past two decades.

Unlike many environmentally-related organizations – who can tell their story in a nutshell (“we save rivers”, “we support solar energy”, “we care for the XyZ watershed”, etc), 1000 Friends has a more complex message to communicate. We’re interested in all the important inter-related factors that lead to healthy communities and sustainable landscapes and ecosystems.

The organization conducts activities not just pertaining to the parts, but to the whole, i.e., recognizing that the parts are interconnected.

Our current work in transportation, healthy neighborhoods and communities, Green Tier local governments, green infrastructure to protect/restore our waters, empowering citizens in pursuing their community and environmental goals, and much more, all reflect the many dimensions of our mission.

I believe that sustaining 1000 Friends (and other non-governmental groups) through good times and hard times is essential to realizing the future we want for Wisconsin – a great state with wonderful natural resource endowments, healthy and vibrant communities, and active citizens proud to call Wisconsin their home. —Steve Born