TRAVERSE CITY—The Michigan Land Use Institute is now the Groundwork Center for Resilient Communities.
The nonprofit advocacy center celebrated its 20th anniversary on May 13 with a standing-room only event at the Franklin restaurant in downtown Traverse City—and kicked off its future with the new name.
“This has been a long time coming,” said Groundwork Center Executive Director Hans Voss. “Over the past 20 years, our work has outgrown our name. We’re more than just a land use organization, and we need a name that reflects that.”
MLUI was founded in 1995 as a citizen-based organization that advances solutions to Michigan’s most pressing economic and environmental issues. Over two decades, the group has emerged as a leading advocate for clean energy, local food, and expanded transportation choices.
Voss said that as the group’s work has expanded, the name often caused confusion. In 2013, MLUI launched a serious analysis of its name and brand. Through surveys and interviews with hundreds of supporters and the public at large, it was clear that the existing name was not communicating the expansiveness of the group’s work in clean energy, local food, and transportation choices.
“We’ve always seen our efforts as laying the groundwork for a better future—from a strong, clean energy economy, to a vibrant local food system, to transportation good for the environment and the pocketbook,” Voss said. “We’re changing our name, but our mission remains the same. It’s all about resilience—developing durable communities that can thrive over the long haul.”
The organization is currently working on several projects, including:
- Building support for passenger rail travel between Traverse City and Ann Arbor.
- Keeping oil out of the Great Lakes, and raising awareness about the 62-year-old oil pipelines currently crossing the Mackinac Straits.
- Supporting the local food economy, through its successful Taste the Local Difference program, and ongoing efforts to bring more local food to schools and other institutions.
“We’re making this change at really strong point in our history,” said Groundwork Center Board Chair Craig Sharp. “Our programs are achieving remarkable results and continue to gain momentum; the staff and board are as strong and cohesive as they have ever been; and, we have a broad base of dedicated supporters. Our goal with this name change is to attract even more people to our mission to achieve even stronger results.”