Making an Impact: Footprint Project


When the purpose of your work is saving lives, it’s hard to think about anything else. But that’s not the case for Will Heegaard. He is also dedicated to improving the long-term sustainability of emergency and disaster response practices.


Will is a nationally registered paramedic working for North Memorial Ambulance Service. He has responded with the International Medical Corps to Typhoon Haiyan, the ebola outbreak in West Africa, and has been on the ground with Team Rubicon after disasters in Louisiana, Minnesota and Puerto Rico. It was during these deployments that Will saw some big spaces for improvement in how energy and environmental sustainability are implemented in the field.

In 2016, Will participated in a national Hackathon with the goal of tackling environmental degradation in humanitarian interventions, and the Footprint Project was born. Footprint's service model combines sustainability consulting with clean energy deployment so every humanitarian organization can fulfill their commitment to first do no harm, and every affected community can build back better. They have already accomplished several successful projects.

  • Caguas- Spring 2018, Partnered with Solar Libre to support the installation of a 4kw array with 12kwj of storage for a community kitchen in Puerto Rico.

  • Rampart, Fall 2017, Developed a 3kw array with 10kwh of storage to power a health clinic in Nevada.

Will is connected to Impact Hub MSP through John Goeppinger, Footprint’s CDO. John has acted as a "grant mercenary" for a number of nonprofits throughout Minnesota. To date, John has successfully secured more than $10 million in philanthropic, governmental, corporate, and individual gifts.

Will and The Footprint Project is currently a semi-finalist for MN Cup and Will also plans to apply for the FINNOVATION Lab Fellowship Program. In the meantime, Footprint will continue to follow their plans to green the international aid system by:

  1. Prototyping: Integrating environmental impact calculators with humanitarian logistics software to build a simple, effective platform for evaluating energy use in humanitarian response.

  2. Partnering: Working with humanitarian organizations to test our service model by developing sustainability metrics, deploying renewable energy systems and reporting progress to donors.

  3. Developing: Making Footprint the go-to platform to track and transition humanitarian response off diesel, so that every organization can improve their operational efficiency, and every affected community can develop through disaster.

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