Verde is by and of low-income communities. We were born in NE Portland's Cully neighborhood, a neighborhood with more than its share of poverty, and less than its share of environmental assets. Verde was started by Hacienda CDC, an affordable housing provider based in Cully:
Hacienda CDC begins an Environmental Economy program, a disciplined effort to identify an environmental business opportunity appropriate for Hacienda CDC and its resident community. Beginning from an "Opportunities by Sector" list created by Ecotrust, Hacienda CDC staff analyzed demand, capital need, training need, and community capacity of each opportunity. A native plant nursery business was selected and a business plan created.
The Environmental Economy program becomes the Sustainable Development program, and receives significant grants from the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation and the Spirit Mountain Community Fund. Hacienda CDC decides to establish a wholly separate, independent nonprofit group to house the nursery business and future environmental job, training and entrepreneurial opportunities for Hacienda CDC residents and other disadvantaged communities. Verde incorporated on October 19, 2005, commenced operations on November 1, 2005, and received tax-exempt status from the IRS in October 2006 - retroactive to incorporation