Community Involvement

Jonathan was on the founding board and later served as president of Citizens’ Greener Evanston (CGE), a grass-roots group that works to make Evanston a more environmentally just, sustainable, and resilient community. He led CGE’s successful advocacy and educational campaign to bring low-cost renewable energy to all Evanston residents. Under Jonathan’s leadership as president, CGE expanded its work in environmental justice, local food, natural habitat, and sustainable transportation. He continues to lead CGE’s advocacy for continued funding of sustainability initiatives within the city budget and also serves on the task force monitoring progress towards Evanston’s goals of zero carbon and zero waste by 2050.

Jonathan’s renewable energy advocacy work led to his appointment by Mayor Tisdahl and re-appointment by Mayor Hagerty to the Evanston Utilities Commission, where he served for eight years, the last two as chairman. Working closely with both the City’s Public Works Agency and the Office of Sustainability, he helped develop the Community Choice Electricity ordinance as well as an energy and water efficiency ordinance.

Jonathan is a founding member of the Evanston Development Cooperative, a community-owned business that designs and builds affordable, sustainable housing by and for Evanston residents.

He is graduate of the Evanston Community Foundation’s Leadership Evanston program (LE XVIII). In 2013 he received the ECF’s Outstanding Volunteer Award for his leadership in a campaign to provide low cost renewable energy to Evanston residents, an accomplishment that reduced Evanston’s carbon footprint by 15%.


Jonathan’s wife, Chris, works in human resources and is an advocate for women’s rights and social justice. Jonathan is the primary caregiver for their 10-year-old twins who are in the two- way language immersion program at Washington Elementary School in District 65. The Nieuwsma family is active at First United Methodist Church of Evanston.

Education and Professional Background

Jonathan is a product of Illinois public schools from kindergarten through college. With an engineering degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana, Jonathan worked in industrial manufacturing for more than a decade and spent two years in a product management role in Germany. After returning home to get married, Jonathan did international supply chain development until life in an airplane became less appealing than spending time with his family.

Jonathan then combined his environmental interest with his engineering background and shifted focus to renewable energy. When not overseeing his children’s remote learning, Jonathan works on solar and wind projects throughout the country and is currently the principal partner at a renewable energy consulting firm.