Our History

In the spring of 2019 local attorney, housing advocate and former city councilor Greg Gilbert joined forces with green building expert and climate justice advocate Rachel Wagner to address the community's compounding problems of a persistent housing shortage, systemic wealth inequities, and the need for much more action regarding the climate crisis. Recognizing that these problems were not mutually exclusive, they began to discuss mutually inclusive solutions. They found common ground in the tenets outlined in the proposed Green New Deal, and utilized this concept to devise an integrated, community-wide, equitable approach to housing development, economic opportunity and climate mitigation. 


Green New Deal Housing is a Minnesota State nonprofit corporation. 

Our Board of Directors

Our mission is advised and advanced by our Board of Directors, a diverse group of skilled and experienced advocates for system-wide solutions. Our Directors are people who are making good change (and “good trouble”)  in this world despite the barriers present in it. 


Greg Gilbert, President

Stacie Renné, Vice President

Yael Ikoba, Treasurer

Janet Kennedy, Assistant Treasurer

Will Munger

Kristine Piasecki

Mark Plemel


Greg Gilbert

Greg Gilbert is an attorney who has worked in Duluth for over 30 years, focused on advising community organizations, the non-profit sector and small businesses. He also served on the Duluth City Council for 12 years and on Boards of Directors for various non-profit organizations including, most recently, the HRA of Duluth. Through his work and relationships with local government, business and non-profit organizations, Greg has created tremendous goodwill in Duluth, which he now uses to effectively open doors and build support for Green New Deal Housing. He is committed to creating nimble and innovative solutions to remedy the entrenched systemic problems facing communities, especially communities with historic disinvestment.

Rachel Wagner

Co-Founder & Interim Executive Director

Rachel Wagner

Rachel Wagner is a designer, consultant, educator, and business owner who has worked in the area of green design for over 20 years. An acknowledged “building energy geek,” she is recognized regionally and nationally for her expertise. She now applies her skills to the intersections of design, education, climate change mitigation, and economic and racial justice. She has served on local boards and commissions focused on environmental stewardship and sustainability, climate action and energy efficient building. She currently serves on the Advisory Council for the Western Technical College Career Pathway Program of Building Science and Energy Management and is a co-founder of the Outside the Box youth education program.