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History

We started in Vermont. But really, we started in Eastern Europe.

After the fall of the Berlin Wall, Vermont Governor Madeleine M. Kunin was invited to monitor the first democratic elections in Bulgaria. Inspired by the citizen-driven change that is possible in the world, she and her policy advisor, George Hamilton, committed to help communities in the Eastern European region address environmental, economic, and social challenges.

In 1990, after discussions with advisors including Douglas Costle and Jonathan Lash, Kunin conceptualized a new organization: the Institute for Sustainable Communities. 

Governor Kunin remains on our board and George Hamilton is leading our growing organization as we bring the approaches we’ve developed to new communities and new citizen leaders tackling the urgent challenges of urbanization and climate disruption.