The Oberlin Project


For members of the Oberlin community wishing to address climate change, the Oberlin Project offers an ideal opportunity. In fact, participation by the broader community is ingrained in the project, touching all aspects of Oberlin—the town, the college, alumni, students, faculty, regional political leadership, and every academic discipline. Success depends upon support across the spectrum, with contributions great and small, monetary and otherwise.

For the college, that means transforming a 13-acre site near Tappan Square into the Green Arts District—a thriving, environmentally sustainable center for the community and the arts, advancing our leadership in green innovation and creating new opportunities for student learning. Inspired by David Orr's bold "whole-system" vision, we will pioneer a practical model of local engagement that will set the direction for the future, here and in other communities across the country.

After listening to Orr, we set a few simple but ambitious goals for 2011:

  • To begin with 100 committed Founding Friends of the Oberlin Project, including community members, alumni, and national leaders in the field of sustainability.
  • To raise $1 million over five years from our Founding Friends—100 individuals investing $2,000 for each of five years. These funds will demonstrate wide and growing support for the project and are key to encouraging other funders.
  • To grow the Friends beyond 2012 and attract hundreds of supporters large and small.

About the Oberlin Project

The Oberlin Project is a joint effort of the City of Oberlin, Oberlin College, and private and institutional partners to improve the resilience, prosperity, and sustainability of the community. The Oberlin Project's aim is to revitalize the local economy, eliminate carbon emissions, restore local agriculture, food supply and forestry, and create a new, sustainable base for economic and community development.

Visit to learn more about the Oberlin Project.
Begin Now by Donating

What does it mean to be a Friend of the Oberlin Project?

To begin, you are joining a group of like-minded people to provide financial support. You may also be tapped to help advise on specific matters of design contacts to help build media awareness. Orr and other key leaders will provide updates on the Oberlin Project, and friends will have meetings in Oberlin and in cities across the country. Most importantly, you will have the satisfaction of making a meaningful and lasting difference to Oberlin and the world.

The good news is we are well on our way to reaching our goals, with more than 50 Founding Friends and nearly $600,000 raised. The even better news is that there are still plenty of opportunities to be involved, at all levels. All contributions, whether large or small, are meaningful to the project. That’s why we appreciate every single contribution made to the Oberlin Project.

When I was in Oberlin in October 2010 for the 10th anniversary celebration of the Lewis Center, I heard national leaders repeatedly call the Oberlin Project the most important full-spectrum sustainability initiative in America. I was impressed that small-town Oberlin, and the surrounding community, could be making such a difference. But then I looked around the room and acknowledged that deep and meaningful change takes a long time and a lot of preparation. I realized that Oberlin has been preparing for this challenge since its founding. I’m grateful to have the opportunity to play a role in this. I hope you’ll join me.

Anders Faijersson Ferguson ’75
Founding principal of Veris Wealth Partners and chair of Friends of the Oberlin Project