ADVANCE advisor profile: Frank Sherman | U.S. Green Building Council
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This article was previously published in its entirety on LinkedIn and this version is reproduced here with permission. Read the original article

Volunteerism is alive and well at USGBC! I have witnessed its growth over an arc of 20 years (my introduction to USGBC was at a conference in San Diego in 1996), and I am happy to report the arc of this organization is still in its ascendency.

The romance of my early days with USGBC was fueled by a commitment to green building and a passion to build an organization whose mission and vision was to be transformational. The grassroots efforts of so many volunteers, in so many communities around the country, helped build USGBC into a model of organizational excellence. It was then, as it is today, an organization with no direct precedent that continues to adapt and grow. In an environment where many well-meaning organizations struggle to deliver on their mission, USGBC is able to thrive. There is a renewed energy within the USGBC community emerging from its grassroots in communities all over the country, and it is exciting to see. 

Although it’s still late winter here in Philadelphia, there are signs of spring, and signs of new life springing up in our community. In the past year, USGBC planted the seeds for community change and renewal through the introduction of ADVANCE—an initiative that meets communities and organizations where they are and helps them start the journey to becoming healthy, efficient and sustainable places. 

The first effort in Philadelphia is starting to blossom, tended by seasoned and emerging USGBC professionals. ADVANCE is a breath of fresh air for members like me who are drawn to the grassroots vision that green building and sustainability can transform communities. ADVANCE re-engages me with the reasons I was attracted to USGBC in the first place, it has rekindled the romance of a moribund relationship and it has become the next opportunity to volunteer with USGBC. 

"Second life volunteerism" is a compelling concept for longtime USGBC members. Many of us have moved through the gamut of volunteer opportunities at the local or national level. I termed out after 12 years of continuous volunteer service, which was difficult to accept at the time. 

What I have found by engaging with ADVANCE is a second opportunity to further the organization’s mission and vision using experiences, skills and connections I have built over the years. It is a path that allows me to give back to my community and to mentor the next generation of green leaders. It’s not about me and the advancement of my career; it is about making a difference and making a better future. Second life volunteerism will be a legacy project. 

ADVANCE has the opportunity to be as transformational as LEED has become, by focusing on green building and sustainability within local communities. ADVANCE is specifically designed to address the unique opportunities and needs of community-based organizations. Its potential to address social equity concerns is huge. Its potential to serve as a platform for the next generation of green leaders is significant. Emerging green leaders need training and mentorship and they want experience, but most important, they seek opportunities to make a difference. The confluence of intention between generations (baby boomers and millennials) has not gone unnoticed. ADVANCE can bring these opportunities to full flower. 

I am grateful for opportunities that my association with USGBC has provided over the years. The friendships I have made and the opportunity to do meaningful work is hugely rewarding. There are many colleagues who feel the same as I do, for whom mentorship is a natural fit and fitting gift to those who will carry on important work. What can you offer? Who can you mentor? How can we advance our communities towards a better future? Join the effort to bring green building and sustainability to all. Join with us to mentor a new generation of leaders and help them advance.  


Interested in serving as a “second life volunteer” for community-based sustainability projects? Seeking to serve your community via equity project-based work? Learn how to build a team of ambassadors, advisors and volunteers to support projects that need the benefits of green the most. Join us for a presentation and discussion on how to recruit a team of committee leaders and short-term volunteers to advance the places you love. Hear from USGBC staff and successful on-the-ground volunteers.

Call: "How to assemble a team to advance your community-based project"

Thursday, March 24, 3:00 p.m. ET

Join the call

Interested in receiving direct updates on USGBC’s social equity work? Let us know!

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