Connect // Green networking

Interested in meeting local ecopreneurs?

Uptown resident Nora Pittenger, 23, hosts EcoTuesday events every fourth Tuesday of the month at Pizza Lucé in the Warehouse District. The meeting draws speakers involved in local efforts to promote sustainable business practices.

It’s an informal networking event and great way to connect with others and learn about new business ventures in the area.

Pittenger, a Target Corp. business analyst, became an ambassador for EcoTuesday in Minneapolis after attending an EcoTuesday night in San Francisco in 2007 — the first city to launch the sustainable networking initiative.

“That night [in San Francisco], I left more connected and energized than I could have anticipated. In one room, you get to meet people with varied interests in making a positive restorative mark on the environment and who are dually devoted to community,” she said. “It’s the only kind of ‘business’ I’m interested in. Through EcoTuesday, I’ve forged incredible friendships and learned so much about the Minneapolis community. It allows people to increase their social capital and walk away with new ideas.”

There are also EcoTuesday meetings in Detroit, Los Angeles, Seattle, Silicon Valley and Washington, D.C.

At the Minneapolis EcoTuesday event on March 24, Joe Serrano, founder of Vantagio, a Twin Cities-based garment care provider specializing in dry cleaning and laundry pickup and delivery, spoke about the company’s efforts to use green products.

Besides EcoTuesday, folks looking to mingle with other green-minded locals should check out Twin Cities Green Drinks (TCGD) — a social networking event that is held the second Wednesday of every month. A plug for the group on its website says its an opportunity “to charge your eco spirit, make some new connections and learn a thing or two.” There are now 488 cities across the world participating in this network.

Event details: (EcoTuesday) April 28, 6:30–9 p.m. Pizza Lucé, 119 N. 4th St. (Twin Cities Green Drinks) May 13, 6–7:30 p.m. location TBD (

(Note: This story has been updated to correct the date for the next EcoTuesday gathering.)


Jeremiah Connects

The Jeremiah Program, a nonprofit based in Loring Park that helps single mothers and their children get out of poverty, is launching “Jeremiah Connects,” a new annual event featuring women who have overcome significant challenges in their lives and become successful entrepreneurs.

The inaugural program will feature Tastefully Simple founder Jill Blashack Strahan as the keynote speaker. Her presentation, “Burning Bright — How to Move Through Fear and Overcome Obstacles,” will reflect on the hardships she faced while living in Northern Minnesota and how she transformed her life.

“Jill Blashack Strahan’s message is even more relevant today,” said Gloria Perez, president and CEO of Jeremiah Program, in a prepared statement. “It’s an inspirational message that will resonate to all families and leaders struggling in this economy and inspire us all to reach our fullest potential.”

Event details: April 21, 7–9 a.m. Minneapolis Convention Center, room 101, 1301 2nd Ave. S. $35


Dining Out for Life

More than 120 restaurants — including several in Southwest — are participating in the Dining Out for Life event on April 30.

Restaurants donate a portion of their sales of the day to The Aliveness Project — a community center for people living with HIV/AIDS in South Minneapolis. Last year the event raised $104,000 for the organization.

Dining Out for Life takes place in more than 50 cities around the world. This is the 15th annual event in Minnesota.

For more information: Visit or call (612) 824-LIFE (5433). To volunteer, sign up at

To pass along news about other community involvement opportunities, e-mail [email protected]