Bethesda Green was an idea—a vision of how a start-up nonprofit organization could galvanize people to create a more sustainable and healthy community. With communities worldwide facing unprecedented economic, social and environmental challenges, it was uncertain that educating and empowering citizens and companies would amount to anything beyond what individuals alone could create. But today, thanks to so many in our community, it has and is occurring!
Honest Tea TeaEO Seth Goldman and Montgomery County Councilman George Leventhal co-found the Bethesda Green Zone in an effort to make Bethesda a community that can sustain growth, reduce congestion, and be environmentally friendly.
Livability Project and SBNOW Win Contract (Nov 2007):
Dave Feldman, CEO of the Livability Project, and Mike Mielke, Executive Director of the Sustainable Business Network of Washington (SBNOW), win the contract to direct the organization.
Dave Feldman becomes Bethesda Green’s first Executive Director. The Bethesda Green Board of Directors is established, with members from local government, business, and residents and Bethesda Green is awarded its 501 (c) (3) status.
Bethesda Green Builds a Team and Brand (Jan-Aug 2008):
Bethesda Green launches volunteer working groups — Education, Outreach and Marketing; Renewable Energy; Recycling & Sustainable Materials; Sustainable Transportation; Sustainable Food and Agriculture — to engage the community through public events.
“Pilot Project: Recycling Bins in Downtown Bethesda” (May-Dec 2008):
Bethesda Green and Bethesda Urban Partnership (BUP) launch a pilot to test two recycling bin types — Big Belly and Victor Stanley — for downtown Bethesda.
“Be Green” Showcase (Sept 2008):
Over 400 people and 40 local vendors participate in the Be Green showcase at the Hyatt Regency Bethesda.
The first of several electronics recycling events takes place at Whitman High School in partnership with the Montgomery County Division of Solid Waste Services. Residents drop off nearly 100,000 pounds of electronic waste including small electronic appliances, cell phones, computers, and televisions.
Chevy Chase Bank generously donates 3,000 sq. ft. of space above their bank branch on 4825 Cordell Avenue. Soon after, Capital One announces its acquisition of Chevy Chase Bank and plans for renovation are put on hold.
“Go Green America” Expo (March 28-29, 2009):
Bethesda Green hosts an eco-community pavilion at this expo to showcase top green brands in the county.
Gazette Article “Bethesda Green Forges Ahead” (Feb 11, 2009):
Despite challenging economic times due to the recession, the year-old Bethesda Green forges ahead with plans to promote bio-diesel fuel production from grease from Bethesda restaurants, pair with county departments for a small business incubator, and expand its reach in the community.
Recycling Everything (June-Dec 2009):
Partnered with county, Bethesda Green hosts e-cycling and paper-shredding events, collecting over 200,000 lbs. of electronics, 400 lbs. of cardboard, 13,710 lbs. of paper for shredding, and 3 trucks worth of clothing and goods to be donated to those in need.
Launches 3,000 sq ft facility to showcase green building materials, products and services such as new flooring, lights, appliances, paints, and electronic systems. The space was renovated through the generous donation of local firm Donohoe Construction Company, multiple subcontractors and local suppliers. Gov. Martin O’Malley declares October 1st Bethesda Green Business Incubator Day.
Bethesda Green Greens Bethesda
Bethesda Green and working groups help launch multiple programs to green Bethesda.
- Procured and installed 15 recycling bins in Bethesda Business District in partnership with BUP that collected 3,600 lbs. of plastic, aluminum and glass containers.
- Organized 1st annual Farm Tour with over 20 participants.
- Introduced GreenerLiving series to teach residents about energy efficiency, home energy audits, heating/cooling and solar power, and tax credits/financing options.
- Hosted several events for local partners such as Green Building Institute, U.S. Green Building Council, Leadership Montgomery, and Slow Food.
- Promoting the Bethesda Green message by participating in street festivals “Imagination Bethesda” and “Taste of Bethesda.”
Green Certified (Dec 2009)
Bethesda Green is recognized as one of 11 organizations to be certified under the county’s new Green Business Certification Program.
Broad Recognition (Jan–Dec 2009)
Dave Feldman, Executive Director, recognized as one of “Top 25 CEO’s You Need to Know in 2009″ by The Gazette of Politics and Business and as “Innovator of the Year” by the Daily Record.
Bethesda Green and State Delegate Tom Hucker co-host a reception so businesses and elected officials can exchange ideas about green business innovation in the state.
“Fields of Green Internship Fair” (March 27, 2010):
Bethesda Green hosts a fair to connect local employers and students as a way to promote job growth. Attracted more than 100 students from all over the DC metro area.
“Solar Bethesda Expo” (June 12, 2010):
Hundreds of attendees show up for the showcase featuring the latest information about solar-powered technologies, purchasing options, and incentives for home installations.
Attendees come to Imagination Stage to recognize and celebrate the collective progress of Bethesda Green’s environmental movement. Seven Bethesda Magazine Green Awards are given to businesses, communities, and individuals.
Procured an additional 18 recycling bins and collected approximately 3,800 lbs. of cans, bottles, and plastic for recycling, in partnership with Federal Realty Investment Trust
Bethesda Green Incubator makes an impact
BG Incubator companies contributed benefits to the community, such as healthier food choices (farm products and prepared snack foods); energy efficient products (solar panels, appliances, home improvement); environmentally beneficial products (pollution reduction and water run-off reduction); and improved community awareness of the environment, impact of consumer choices and ways to act in a more eco-friendly manner.
Bethesda Green takes active role in local and regional community.
- Partners with and exhibits at American Council on Renewable Energy National Policy Forum
- Hosts event to recognize State approval of Benefit Corporation, permitting Maryland businesses to assume a new corporate form based on triple bottom line.
- Promotes launch event on Capitol Hill of “Last Boat Out,” a documentary by Laura Seltzer Productions.
- Hosts monthly happy hours at different restaurant venues in Bethesda
Partnership with University of Maryland (Feb 2011):
The new partnership, sparked by UMD’s desire to expand its commitment in Montgomery County, provides added business and technical resources to Bethesda Green’s Incubator companies. Bethesda Green formalizes a relationship with the Dingman Center of Entrepreneurship within the Robert H. Smith Business School and the Engineering School’s MTech.
Greening Condos (March–July 2011)
Introduced series of information presentations and panel discussions to residents of more than a dozen condominiums about ways to reduce their building’s environmental impact, save energy, and lower their utility bills
Maryland Gone Green (March 31, 2011)
Hosted networking breakfast to celebrate release of Maryland Gone Green publication, produced by with partner The Gazette of Politics and Business to highlight Maryland businesses that have “gone green.”
Bethesda Green becomes the charter sponsor of Montgomery Community Media’s monthly half-hour TV series “Think Green,” Montgomery County’s only locally produced TV show addressing “green” issues in the county.
Green Home Expo (June 9, 2011)
Hosted educational event with almost two-dozen vendors providing conservation tips and information on clean energy options, recycling, storm water management, renewables, energy efficiency and composting.
Bethesda Green goes to Yogyakarta, Indonesia (Sept 26-27)
Executive Director Dave Feldman led two programs on green business incubation as the U.S. representative at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) conference
Introduced new program to connect farmers with consumers through series of four events — breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a trip to a local farm
2nd Annual Awards Gala (Oct 5, 2011)
With partner, Bethesda Magazine, we recognize seven green champions for their vision, leadership and commitment with nearly 300 attendees at the Round House Theatre in Bethesda.
TEDx Manhattan Viewing Party (Jan 19, 2012):
Bethesda Green, Full Plate Ventures, and Slow Food DC present a free simulcast viewing party of the TEDx Manhattan “Changing the Way We Eat” program in New York City. The one-day event highlights several aspects of the sustainable food movement and the work being done to shift our food system from industrially based agriculture to one in which healthy, nutritious food is accessible to all.
Bethesda Green Kicks Off Regional Cleantech Open (March 6, 2012)
Entrepreneurs with the next great idea for energy efficiency, green building, water conservation, waste reduction or green technology are introduced at the launching of the DC Cleantech Open, the nation’s leading clean technology business competition.
Green Bike Racks Come to Bethesda (May 9, 2012):
Through a partnership with Honest Tea, Federal Realty Investment Trust, The Coca-Cola Company, and Bethesda Urban Partnership, 10 new bike racks made from recycled beverage containers are installed in the Bethesda area.
Bethesda Green hosts Solar & Green Home Expo to showcase green home expert services and solar providers. Program includes: investment opportunities and incentives for home installation.
Bethesda Green hosts an entrepreneurship program as part of Startup Maryland’s three-week “Pitch Across Maryland” bus tour. The event features entrepreneurs pitching their business plans to a panel of experts chaired by Seth Goldman, founder and TeaEO of Honest Tea, and is followed by a networking reception.
Bethesda Green holds third annual gala at 2000 Tower Oaks Blvd., a LEED Platinum-certified office building in Rockville. Our theme, “The Sky is the Limit” recognizes pioneers in local environmental stewardship and showcases several dozen innovators in a simulated green city.
Finance Workshop Series for Green Businesses (Nov 2012–June 2013)
Bethesda Green presents five workshops designed to prepare tech and non-tech entrepreneurs in sustainable businesses to be investor-ready. The series, supported by the county’s Department of Economic Development, covers topics of understanding your market, what investors are looking for and what to expect during due diligence. The program culminates with selected entrepreneurs pitching their business to judges and qualified investors.
Sustainability Is about Preparation (Dec 5, 2012)
In the wake of the derecho and Hurricane Sandy, Bethesda Green hosts an Emergency Preparedness panel discussion with Metro-area leaders to help residents prepare for future storms and disasters.
Greening the National Capital Region: The Commercial Real Estate Commitment to Building Green ( April 30, 2013)
Bethesda Green, in partnership with NAIOP Maryland/DC, convenes commercial developers and real-estate leaders to discuss the latest innovation in green commercial building.
Bethesda Green partners with Mark Leisher Productions and Journey’s Crossing to inspire and educate the community about global and local water issues and innovative solutions. The festival presents a day of short films, featuring the award-winning documentary “Chasing Ice,” along with other expert presentations and exhibits.
Greening Restaurants Program (June 2013):
The Greening Program is launched in which local restaurateurs are surveyed about their green practices and are taught 10 easy ways to green their establishments.
Investor Pitch Training Program (June 2013):
Bethesda Green holds a new program for entrepreneurs in the green industry, which is designed to put highly qualified entrepreneurs in front of active investors and give sophisticated feedback on their readiness to seek investment.
Bethesda Green celebrates five years of promoting sustainable living at its Gala at the newly renovated Bethesda Blues & Jazz Supper Club. Highlights include recognition of the 2013 Bethesda Magazine Green Award Winners and local leaders who are addressing environmental challenges with innovative solutions.
Savenia Labs Founder John Jabara is named Maryland Entrepreneur of the Year by the Maryland Clean Energy Center (MCEC), an award that recognizes an individual that brings new technologies, products, or services to the market in Maryland.
New Strategic Direction (Approved, Dec 6, 2013)
Bethesda Green continues to make Bethesda a model sustainable community for all businesses and residents with the introduction of its Second Strategic Framework and three focus areas.
- Incubate Green Businesses — stimulate next generation business models and solutions
- Educate Community About Sustainability — raise awareness and inspire action through programs, online communications and education center
- Facilitate Implementation of Green Solutions — catalyst for physical infrastructure and programs that make Bethesda a more sustainable community
Veronique Marier hired as new Executive Director
The Bethesda Green Board of Directors hired Véronique Marier, a resident of the Bethesda area since 1994, as the non-profit’s new executive director. She is a passionate environmental leader with a proven track record in both public and private-sector organizations. For more info, click here.