Rural Utah Project

We’re merging! Meet Stewardship Utah

TJ Ellerbeck
Copy of Invite you to an open house

This is TJ Ellerbeck, the Rural Utah Project’s Executive Director, with David Garbett, Executive Director of O₂ Utah, with some exciting news to share! 

You might’ve already heard, our two organizations are merging and forming a new nonprofit — Stewardship Utah! 

As Stewardship Utah, we will be working to protect the land, air, and water for all people in Utah through elections, policy, and democracy.

This means you can expect us to continue our work in San Juan County as well as addressing our state’s big environmental issues like air pollution, climate change, and the drying Great Salt Lake.

Combining the Rural Utah Project’s extensive experience organizing and registering voters in rural parts of the state with O₂ Utah’s expertise in elections and policy in the urban corridor, Stewardship Utah will be a comprehensive environmental and democratic effort representing all of Utah, from San Juan County to the Wasatch Front.

Our organizations have worked in tandem on a variety of projects — from partnering on electoral work and candidate endorsements to cheering each other on as each group has accomplished impressive feats — joining forces only makes sense.

We are still in the early stages of our merger (we’re working on our new website now!) but we wanted to let you know about this exciting change, and give you the opportunity to talk with us about it! 
We are hosting an open house at our new office (68 E 2700 S, South Salt Lake 84115) on July 10 from 4-7 p.m. Come hang out, meet the team, and learn all about what we’ll be up to as Stewardship Utah.

Founded in 2017, the Rural Utah Project has given a voice to underrepresented communities and created life-long citizen advocates in Southern Utah through voter registration, local mobilization, and issue organizing. 

Our work is highlighted by a voter registration initiative that led to the first-ever majority-Navajo San Juan County Commission. The Rural Utah Project also developed a novel rural addressing program that assigned physical addresses in the form of Plus Codes to Navajo Nation residents in Utah, allowing them to register and vote in their correct precincts.

The Rural Utah Project has worked across 10 counties, registered over 9,055 rural voters, and installed over 3,200 Plus Code addresses.

O₂ Utah opened its doors in 2019 to improve the Wasatch Front’s air quality through electoral involvement and political advocacy. 

Their legislative framework, Prosperity 2030, is a roadmap of bills targeting pollution from point sources, homes and buildings, and the transportation sector to reduce emissions by 50% along the Wasatch Front by 2030.

During the 2023 legislative session, the group wrote and passed HB 220 (Emission Reduction Amendments). The bill, representing Phase 1 of Prosperity 2030, set a standard on halogen emissions from industrial sources, specifically bromine pollution, which increases the Wasatch Front’s winter-time inversion up to 25%.

O₂ Utah has been heavily involved in the electoral process and has supported more than 75 state, county, and municipal candidates with campaign strategy and fundraising efforts.

Our teams are thrilled to embark on this venture to make Utah a healthier and more just place to live through Stewardship Utah!


TJ Ellerbeck and David Garbett

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