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About the Heroes of Sustainability Awards Gala

Each year, Alliance for Sustainable Colorado recognizes individuals or organizations making far-reaching impacts in sustainability at the Heroes of Sustainability Award dinner gala. The Heroes of Sustainability event brings together hundreds of Colorado’s corporate, nonprofit, academic and political leaders to honor extraordinary accomplishments that advance sustainability in environmental, economic and social arenas.

Are you interested in sponsorship and/or do you have questions about hosting a table? Contact us at [email protected] and we will let you know about all the options and benefits available to sponsors and table hosts. We look forward to hearing from you!

2017 Hero of Sustainability

Rick Fedrizzi

Rick Fedrizzi, Founding Chairman of US Green Building Council and CEO, International WELL Building Institute

On April 27, 2017, Alliance for Sustainable Colorado honored Rick Fedrizzi, Founding Chairman of the U.S. Green Building Council and now CEO and Chairman of the International WELL Building Institute, for his groundbreaking vision and leadership in transforming the built environment paradigm toward sustainability.

We also partnered with U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) Colorado to integrate their annual green building conference, Rocky Mountain Green, with our Heroes of Sustainability dinner gala.

A highlights video from the memorable evening can be found here.

Thank You to Our 2017 Heroes Sponsors



alpine bank alt investment
first affirmative Four Winds Interactive Logo
blank RBC



KG Clean Logo Mark Safty & Keri Hanson
johns manville Pax World Investments Principium Logo
Trillium Asset Management vision ridge

2016 Hero of Sustainability

amy goodman

Amy Goodman, host & executive producer of Democracy Now!

On April 20, 2016, the Alliance honored Amy Goodman, host and executive producer of Democracy Now!, as our sustainability hero.

Throughout her career, Goodman has worked tirelessly to provide unbiased, independent media coverage of critical issues, and the impacts on sustainability in particular and our media landscape in general are vast.

Goodman is the host and executive producer of Democracy Now!, a national, daily, independent, award-winning news program airing on more than 1,400 public television and radio stations worldwide. The recipient of numerous awards, Goodman is also the first journalist to receive the Right Livelihood Award, widely known as the ‘Alternative Nobel Prize’ for “developing an innovative model of truly independent grassroots political journalism that brings to millions of people the alternative voices that are often excluded by the mainstream media.” Goodman has co-authored five New York Times bestsellers. Her latest two, The Silenced Majority: Stories of Uprisings, Occupations, Resistance and Hope, and Breaking the Sound Barrier, both co-authored with Denis Moynihan, give voice to the many ordinary people standing up to corporate and government power. She co-writes a weekly column with Moynihan (also produced as an audio podcast) syndicated by King Features, for which she was recognized in 2007 with the James Aronson Award for Social Justice Reporting.

2015 Hero of Sustainability

Ellen Dorsey

Ellen Dorsey, Executive Director of Wallace Global Fund

In 2015, we honored Ellen Dorsey as our Hero. Click here to read more of her story, and to learn about the divest/invest movement to which she is so devoted.

2012 Hero of Sustainability

Dennis McGinn

Vice Admiral Dennis V. McGinn, USN (retired)

In 2012, we honored Vice Admiral Dennis McGinn as our Hero. Vice Adm. Dennis V. McGinn, USN (retired) is the President of the American Council On Renewable Energy (ACORE), a 501(c)(3) membership nonprofit organization dedicated to creating a more secure and prosperous America with clean, renewable energy. Admiral McGinn is a naval aviator, test pilot and national security strategist. He has served as the Director of the Air Warfare Division in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations; the Commander of the U.S. Third Fleet; and the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations, Warfare Requirements and Programs in the Pentagon. Admiral McGinn brings to ACORE his significant national experience in efforts to highlight the close link between energy, climate and national security. He is a strong advocate for innovative government policy, public and private partnerships, and investments that will promote clean energy growth and innovation.

If you would like to connect with Dennis on his current work, please visit the ACORE website.

2011 Hero of Sustainability

Denis Hayes

Denis Hayes

Our 2011 Hero of Sustainability was Mr. Denis Hayes. In 1970, Denis Hayes was National Coordinator of the first Earth Day, which is often credited with launching the modern environmental movement. An environmental lawyer by training, Denis headed the federal government’s Solar Energy Research Institute (SERI, now known as NREL, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory) during the Carter Administration, and was a founding co-chair of Ceres and the Ceres Principles. He is now President and CEO of the Bullitt Foundation, a $100-million Seattle-based environmental foundation. He is a board member of the Energy Foundation and serves on the boards of other environmental groups. Denis has been honored by the Sierra Club, the National Wildlife Federation, the American Solar Energy Society, the Humane Society of the United States, and the Interfaith Center for Corporate Responsibility, and was selected by Time magazine as one of its “Heroes of the Planet.”

 If you would like to connect with Denis on his current work, please visit the Bullitt Foundation’s website.

2010 Hero of Sustainability

Lester Brown

Lester Brown

Our 2010 Hero of Sustainability was Mr. Lester R. Brown. Lester is the founder and President of the Earth Policy Institute, and has been described by the Washington Post as “one of the world’s most influential thinkers” and as “the guru of the global environmental movement” by The Telegraph of Calcutta. The author of numerous books, including Plan B 3.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization when he develops a vision for an environmentally sustainable economy, chapters, articles, etc., he helped pioneer the concept of environmentally sustainable development. His principal research areas include food, population, water, climate change, and renewable energy. In 1974, he founded the Worldwatch Institute, of which he was President for its first 26 years. As President, he launched the World Watch Papers, the Worldwatch/Norton books, the annual State of the WorldWorld Watch, the annual Vital Signs, and the Institute’s News Briefs.

To keep up to date on Lester Brown”s current projects, please visit the Earth Policy Institute website.

2008 Heroes of Sustainability

In 2008, the Alliance recognized one Hero from each of the following sectors: business, nonprofit, government and education.

  • Business Sector: Evolve Apparel in Denver. The folks at Evolve believe they can turn a profit AND make the world a better place through the manufacture of custom uniforms and logo apparel from organic fabrics including bamboo, organic cotton, recycled water bottles, charcoal and corn fiber. Evolve only partners with those sources that share similar values.
  • Nonprofit Sector: Katrina Blair with Turtle Lake Refuge in Durango. Katrina Blair founded the Turtle Lake Refuge in 1997. The organization runs a small farm that provides organic and wild greens to all 10 Durango public schools – and many of the area’s restaurants. School children help grow and harvest the greens, thereby increasing their connection to the food they consume. The organization also runs a booth at the local farmer’s market and a twice-per-week luncheon café serving wild-harvested foods.
  • Government Sector: Fort Carson in Colorado Springs. Ft. Carson has reached out to the community to share lessons learned and to help develop and integrate regional sustainability. Twelve long-term sustainability goals were developed and adopted with ongoing community input. Successes include a 45 percent water reduction, a new 12-acre solar photovoltaic array, and new facilities constructed to the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED Silver criteria.
  • Education Sector: Brian Dunbar, Professor of Construction Management at Colorado State University, and Executive Director of the Institute of the Built Environment. Professor Dunbar has a long record of moving the green building industry forward through his efforts in education, industry projects, and cutting-edge research. He has been on the CSU faculty for 25 years. At CSU, he helped establish the Institute for the Built Environment – and serves as its Executive Director.