Congratulations! Announcing our 2020 Inspiring Sustainability Award Winners

On November 10th, 2020, we were excited to finally announce our winners of the Inspiring Sustainability Awards at a live zoom event. If you missed the event, you can watch and hear directly from both winners by scrolling to the end of this blog.


The Inspiring Sustainability Award originated from Coulee Partner’s for Sustainability’s Harvest Dinner in 2010. Each year Coulee Partner’s recognized individuals, businesses, organizations and projects that exemplified sustainability in our region.


In 2018, the Sustainability Institute continued this award through the Inspiring Sustainability Awards. To us at the Sustainability Institute, The Inspiring Sustainability Award represents recognition for outstanding leadership in sustainability...leadership that inspires others within our community and beyond. (See past winners)


In honor of the awards 10th year, the nomination process was opened to our supporters and community members resulting in nine amazing nominations.


We want to thank our community for sharing such amazing sustainability examples and congratulate and celebrate all the nominees for 2020!



From these nine nominations, the Sustainability Institute Executive Board voted, and we are excited to announce the two winners for 2020. Each year we choose to highlight one individual and one organization for the award.


So without further ado, here are the winners of the 2020 Inspiring Sustainability Awards!



Our individual winner for 2020 is someone who has impacted our community by thinking beyond the present in hopes of creating a better tomorrow for all. This individual worked from paper to inception by planning roads, buildings, neighborhoods and communities all through a lens of sustainability. Jason Gilman guided citizen-led plans for major transportation corridors, increased the amount and quality of affordable housing, improved the city’s floodplain program, championed La Crosse’s neighborhoods and helped to revitalize downtown La Crosse. In addition, he advocated for diverse voices being included in planning process conversations and within leadership. Beyond his 5 years as the Director of Planning & Development for the City of La Crosse, Jason has served on many community boards rooted in sustainability including the YMCA Food Forest. It is clear that Jason’s commitment and leadership in sustainability needs to be celebrated. That is why we are proud and excited to award the individual 2020 Inspiring Sustainability Award to Jason Gilman.


Next, we want to recognize our organizational winner for 2020!


This startup business made a significant investment in downtown La Crosse and is committed to locally sourced food for their restaurant and locally sourced supplies for the distillery operation. Not only is their farmer forward approach commendable but they also utilize geothermal energy to produce their “field to glass” spirits. The La Crosse Distilling Company was one of the first to find a way to pivot and step up during the early parts of the Covid-19 pandemic. During the early stages of the pandemic, they refocused production to provide hand sanitizer...an item in short supply at the time and donated their product to citizens and over 140 organizations of the La Crosse region. It is this ingenuity, generosity and implementation of sustainability that makes La Crosse Distilling Co. the organizational winner of the 2020 Inspiring Sustainability Awards.


The Sustainability Institute once again would like to congratulate Jason Gilman & the La Crosse Distilling Co. along with all of the nominees for their commitment and contribution towards sustainability within the Driftless region.


Watch the 2020 Inspiring Sustainability Award Event below and hear from both our winners!


The Great Realization Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nw5KQMXDiM4


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