Greenprint Partners, a Chicago-based B Corp founded by female entrepreneurs, believes that existing water-drainage infrastructure can be transformed into engines of sustainability that also reduce pollution and flooding.

Nicole Chavaz, CEO and co-founder of the firm, says the projects they have spearheaded in some of the Midwest’s grittiest cities have a serious positive social impact, too. They are increasing property values, spurring economic activity, and over the long run, researchers say, such changes in neglected communities can help improve physical and mental health.

One example is in Peoria, Illinois, where Greenprint teamed with municipal authorities and local NGOs to create “The Well Farm at Voris Field,” a hybrid poplar stormwater forest with 100 raised garden beds that are home to an urban agriculture apprenticeship program, flowering bioswales, and space for public gatherings. The project, sited in one of the poorest zip codes in America, plays an important part in mitigating a serious flooding issue – Peoria is on the banks of the Illinois River. That, in turn, helps prevents overflows in the city’s antiquated sewage treatment system, which had regularly poured raw sewage into the local ecosystem.  \

Chavaz and co-founders Laura Kimes, Greenprint’s vice president of operations, and April Mendez, VP of strategy, all graduated from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Business Management. In 2018, the firm was certified as a Woman’s Business by the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC). Chavaz spoke about the future of green infrastructure and how the water industry is developing with Karma’s Contributing Editor and PCRP Group Managing Partner Michael Moran. 

(Read the full interview on the Karma Network).

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