Who We Are

Climate + Energy Awards


In honor of the Climate + Energy Project’s ten year anniversary, we launched the inaugural Climate + Energy Awards to recognize individuals and organizations that are leading the way to a clean energy future in Kansas.  

Impact Award
A lifetime achievement recognizing an individual whose work resulted in positive, long-term, broad impacts on climate, energy, and environmental issues across the state.
Mark Richardson Sustainer Award
A volunteer-recognition award for someone who has regularly engaged with CEP for at least five years.
Changemaker Award
Recognition for an organization or individual whose recent work has significantly advanced climate, energy, and/or environmental issues in Kansas.

2019 Award Recipients

Impact Award

Mary Fund

Kansas Rural Center, Topeka, KS

Mary Fund has dedicated her life to sustainable agriculture and rural communities.  A strong presence at the Kansas Rural Center for the last 40 years, Mary has worked bravely and tirelessly to raise issues of environmental concern – from clean energy to clean water, healthy soils to local foods, and so much more. Mary never shies away from bringing up the important, if controversial issues, including most recently highlighting climate change in town halls across the state. Mary is as direct in her opinions as she is curious about what others think, which makes her a valuable partner to all. Mary has elevated rural issues to legislators while simultaneously addressing challenging issues with rural audiences.

Mary’s no-nonsense, common-sense approach has been foundational to conversations about environmental issues for decades.

Mark Richardson Sustainer Award

Kim Bellemere

Grassland Heritage Foundation, Lawrence, KS

Kim Bellemere has been a reliable and enthusiastic partner with the Climate + Energy Project for the last eight years, first as a steering committee member for Water + Energy Progress and most recently as a strong WEALTH partner.  In her work as the Director of Outreach at the Grassland Heritage Foundation, Kim speaks passionately about the important role of grasslands and native plants as a climate solution.

Kim’s leadership on climate change among conservationists has lit a spark for change and catalyzed partnerships to address climate issues locally. 

Kim’s nominator explained, “I’ve often felt overwhelmed by the climate change discussion until I started having conversations with Kim and noticed the work that she was doing with the Grassland Heritage Foundation. Small steps lead to big ones, and it’s people like Kim that take the first step so that the rest of us can follow.”


Changemaker Awards

The Merc Co+op

Lawrence, KS

The Merc Co+op has elevated solar power and electric vehicles as clean energy solutions in a high-profile location. Through a full rooftop array, two solar covered carports and a solar covered patio, the community-owned grocery store installed 688 high performance solar panels to provide 29% of their energy each year, when combined with an electric vehicle charging station and a solar covered pergola the panels will produce enough energy to power 22 homes each year. The Merc’s highly visible location for solar panels and one of the few Electric Vehicle charging stations in Lawrence has strong potential to inspire other businesses to get on board with clean energy. The Merc Co+op is also working to ease the pressures of food deserts in Kansas by opening a grocery store in Wyandotte county.

Since 2012, the co-op has reduced electricity consumption by 30% through LED lighting and preventative maintenance, in addition to reducing waste, improving access to local foods, and presenting sustainable options for the northeast Kansas community.

Metro KC Climate Action Coalition

Kansas City, KS

The Metro KC Climate Action Coalition has rapidly elevated the issue of climate change in northeast Kansas. Initiated by Lindsey Constance and Mike Kelly, the MKCCAC provides a vehicle for local and state elected officials to take action on climate change.  The coalition brings together diverse local elected officials to use their power to tackle climate change at the local and state level. MKCCAC has organized several events, including the upcoming Metro KC Climate Action Summit in Kansas City on September 14. They are in the process of developing a local action playbook, a climate emissions inventory, and more. This bipartisan coalition has made impressive progress convening elected officials across the state line, leading with conversations about regional climate change solutions.

Past Award Winners

2018 Award Winners

Impact Awards

Larry Erickson, Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas

As a Kansas State University Chemical Engineering and Food Science professor emeritus, leader of the Kansas Natural Resource Council, and organizer of the annual KSU Sustainability Dialog, Larry’s 54 year career reflects a dynamic approach to pressing climate and energy issues; his public outreach and volunteer leadership has had far-reaching impacts across the state for decades. Larry is always willing to lend expertise, insights, and a listening ear to people working for change in Kansas.

Bob Eye, Kauffman & Eye, Lawrence, Kansas

Bob Eye stands out as the go-to attorney for environmental and other public interest organizations in and outside the state for any issues related to Kansas. He is a wonderful supporter and advocate for climate and energy issues, and a generous mentor for environmental professionals and students. All Kansans who care about climate, energy, and environmental issues should appreciate what Bob Eye does to make our state a better place.


Elina Alterman, Kansas Health Foundation, Wichita, Kansas

Elina Alterman’s vision of health equity and civic engagement in Kansas has dramatically expanded and improved CEP’s programming in the past two years. Through her work at KHF, she facilitates nonprofit capacity building and collaboration across organizations and sectors to make progress on challenging issues facing our state and our communities. Elina’s vision has impacted the way nonprofits collaborate and connect in ways that will be felt for years to come.

Project Rally, Kansas City, Kansas

Project RALLY is a nonprofit in Kansas City, Kansas, working for change in their community by advancingRespect, Accountability, Leadership, Love, and Youth. In the past year, Project RALLY members have has engaged in every opportunity CEP has offered, including our Integrated Voter Engagement and KansasEnvironmental Leadership trainings. The Project RALLY team works in collaboration with the people around them, reaching out to learn more, teaching others how to be better, and always offering to give back to the community.


Scott White, Kansas Geological Survey

Scott has been a clean energy champion since his early work with the Kansas Geological Survey in 1999. From his days as a project and technical manager with JW Prairie Wind Power, his management of the Kansas Energy Information Network, to his current work with Cromwell Solar, Scott has been a terrific resource for CEP. He has helped with research and presented at roundtables on both wind and solar. He always takes time to answer questions for CEP’s team.

Gary Anderson

Gary has been a dedicated, longtime volunteer for the Climate + Energy Project, regularly engaging in legislative advocacy and events, including Wind Works for Kansas, WEALTH Day at the Capitol, and CEP’s Environmental Leadership Summit. Gary’s passion has supported many nonprofits, includingKansasSierra Club, Lutherans Restoring Creation, Jayhawk Audubon, Lawrence, KS, and Kansas Interfaith Action. He always shows up with a smile on his face, eager to help make Kansas a better place

2017 Award Winners

Impact Award

Nancy Jackson, Climate + Energy Project Founder

Nancy Jackson founded and directed the Climate + Energy Project from 2007-2010. Under her guidance, CEP received the Governor’s Commendation for Achievement in Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency in 2009. Nancy’s ability to focus on positive solutions became a founding principal of the organization and one that CEP continues today. Nancy created the foundation for CEP to skip the arguments about climate change and get right to work on solutions to actually reduce greenhouse gas emissions – more renewable energy and energy efficiency. By focusing on finding common ground with a wide variety of Kansans, building relationships based on shared values like thrift, faith and energy security, CEP has made huge impacts on the clean energy economy which in turn has reduced emissions.  Our work continues to follow the practical principles and common ground approach that Nancy instilled in CEP from the start, and it’s still the most effective way to lead Kansas to a clean energy future.


Mark Richardson, Farmer & Renewable Energy Advocate

Mark Richardson is easily the volunteer who has been with us the longest and engaged the most!  Mark has been a part of almost every campaign, always showing up with a smile, a positive and steady attitude, and a willingness to work. Mark exemplifies CEP’s common ground approach to elevating renewable energy, working with our neighbors, and finding solutions that work for Kansas. Mark is a long-standing, tireless supporter of our work and our staff, willing to put in the hours as a volunteer, speak up for renewables at the statehouse, and sustain the work as a board member.


Bruce Graham, Wind Energy Instructor, Cloud County Community College

Bruce Graham built the Wind
Energy Technology Program at Cloud County Community from an idea to a thriving program with 100% job placement. He worked with wind companies to develop textbooks while creating one class after another for CCCC. With over 100 students, six instructors, 26 courses, and four degree offerings (Wind Energy Tech, Substation Maintenance, Turbine Repair, and Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems -SUAS), the program is a thriving success. Bruce’s vision and dedication to wind energy, renewables, and technical education brought about significant changes and opportunities for renewables in Kansas.