Amy Luers, Skoll Global Threats Fund

TITLE: Director, Climate Change

FUNDING AREAS: Climate change, deforestation, smallholder productivity and food security, sustainable markets.

CONTACT: Visit PeopleFinder for email and phone number (paid subscribers only)

PROFILE: Amy Luers is Director of Climate Change for the Skoll Global Threats Fund. Her official bio on their website shares:

Amy Luers has over twenty years of experience working at the interface of economic development and environmental sustainability. Dr. Luers came to Skoll Global Threats Fund from Google where she was the Senior Environment Program Manager leading a series of information and communication technology initiatives for climate risk management, with efforts in Latin America, South East Asia, and Africa. Prior to Google Dr. Luers headed the Climate Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists California Office, where she led collaborative analysis and outreach efforts to inform alternative state and federal policy options.

Dr. Luers started her carrier working on sustainable development in Latin America. She spent six years living and working throughout Latin America on development and resources management. She is co-founder and former executive director of Agua Para La Vida (Water for Life), a small NGO dedicated to enhancing sustainable access to potable water in rural Latin America.

Dr. Luers has over three dozen publications in peer reviewed journals, edited books and in the popular press on society’s vulnerability to global environmental changes and on climate policy. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and sits on committees of the National Academies of Sciences and the International Council for Science. A respected leader on issues at the intersection of big data, climate, and resilience, Luers was awarded a Bellagio/Poptech Fellowship for innovation in big data and resilience, and has served as an adviser to the United Nations and the White House on Data and Climate initiatives.

She holds a Ph.D. in environmental science and an M.A. in international policy studies, both from Stanford University, and a M.S. and B.S. in environmental resources engineering from Humboldt State University.


Richard Mott, Wallace Global Fund

TITLE: Director for the Environment

FUNDING AREAS: Environmental resource depletion, climate change, biodiversity

CONTACT: Visit PeopleFinder for email and phone number (paid subscribers only)

PROFILE: Mott is the director for environment at the Fund. His Fund bio shares: 

RICHARD N. MOTT joined Wallace Global Fund in late 2007, and serves as Director for Environment.  Before coming to WGF, Mr. Mott was vice president for international policy at World Wildlife Fund in the United States, having served as treaties officer at WWF-International outside Geneva, Switzerland in 1990.  In these roles he was responsible for managing WWF’s work on climate change, wildlife trade, whaling, toxics, and development assistance.  Prior to his work at WWF, he directed the Atmospheric Pollution Program at the Environmental Law Institute in Washington, DC, and served as a judicial clerk on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.  Mr. Mott received his B.S. from Tulane University in 1981 with distinction for an honors thesis in subtropical plant ecology.  He received his Juris Doctor from the University of Oregon in 1985, where he was associate editor of the Oregon Law Review, with specialties in ocean and coastal law, and natural resources law.  He has published in various academic journals on topics ranging from NEPA law to air pollution policy, with articles in the popular press on biodiversity, climate change, whaling, and other environmental issues.

Elizabeth Miller, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation

TITLE: Program Associate for the Enviroment

FUNDING AREAS: Climate change, sustainable agriculture

CONTACT: Visit PeopleFinder for email and phone number (paid subscribers only)

PROFILE: Elizabeth (Liz) Miller is a program associate for the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation's Environment Program. Her official foundation bio states:

Elizabeth Miller joined the foundation in 2011 as the program associate for the Environment Program. In this capacity, she is responsible for the day-to-day administration of the Environment Program’s active grants and for developing new grants under the foundation’s local sustainable agriculture strategy. 

In addition to her work at the foundation, Miller serves on the steering committee of the Community Food Funders, a philanthropic organizing project that aims to build a robust food system in New York City and the surrounding region. She holds a master’s degree from SUNY’s College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, New York, where she studied public participation in environmental decision making.

Elizabeth Miller joined the foundation in 2011 as the program associate for the Environment Program. In this capacity, she is responsible for the day-to-day administration of the Environment Program’s active grants and for developing new grants under the foundation’s local sustainable agriculture strategy. 

In addition to her work at the foundation, Miller serves on the steering committee of the Community Food Funders, a philanthropic organizing project that aims to build a robust food system in New York City and the surrounding region. She holds a master’s degree from SUNY’s College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, New York, where she studied public participation in environmental decision making.

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Penny Davies, Ford Foundation

TITLE: Program Officer

FUNDING AREAS: Climate change

CONTACT: Visit PeopleFinder for email and phone number (paid subscribers only)

PROFILE: Penny Davies is a New York-based program officer who works within the Climate Change and Rural Communities program for the Ford Foundation. Her official foundation bio states:

Penny Davies is a Ford Foundation program officer, based in New York, working with organizations on international and national climate change policies that benefit low-income rural communities, particularly indigenous peoples. Her grant making also focuses on efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, and on global and local work specifically aligned with the foundation's Brazil, Indonesia, and Mexico and Central America offices. In addition, Penny joins Ford's collaboration on the Climate and Land Use Alliance (CLUA), whose members include the ClimateWorks, David and Lucile Packard, Cargill, and Gordon and Betty Moore foundations.

Penny joined the foundation in 2012 after her tenure as the senior forestry advisor for the Department for International Development (DFID) in the British government. In this role, she led DFID's global policy and program work on forests, working closely with the World Bank, UN agencies, the European Commission, bilateral development agencies and civil society organizations. Penny held other positions at DFID, including team leader for extreme poverty, economic growth and climate change in Bangladesh; head of the regional office in Central America; and forestry coordinator for Indonesia.

Previously, Penny was a regional agroforestry consultant for a European Union agricultural frontier program in Central America as well as a rural economist at the Bolivian Centro de Investigación Agrícola Tropical.

Penny played a central role in developing the United Kingdom's international forestry initiatives and has consistently worked to strengthen rural grassroots organizations, build alliances between government and civil society, and promote policies that benefit forest communities.

Penny holds two master's degrees—one from the University of Oxford on forests in relation to land use and the other from the University of London on agricultural development and economics. She received her undergraduate degree in English literature, with an emphasis on African literature, from the University of Bristol.


Deborah Burke, Rockefeller Brothers Fund

TITLE: Program Associate, Sustainable Development

FUNDING AREAS: Climate change, clean energy, energy conservation

CONTACT: Visit PeopleFinder for email and phone number (paid subscribers only)

PROFILE: Deborah Burker is a program associate for the Rockefeller Brothers Fund in their Sustainable Development program. Here's additional information from the fund's own website:

Before joining the RBF, Ms. Burke worked as a research assistant at New York University’s Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy. From 2008 to 2011 she served as the senior policy advisor to Oregon State Representative Jules Bailey (D-Portland). In this role, she managed the representative’s portfolio, including assisting on several successful bills to promote sustainable economic development programs, energy efficiency, and alternative energy incentives. Last summer, Ms. Burke had the opportunity to work in the United Kingdom’s House of Commons as a parliamentary researcher for the West Lancashire Member of Parliament Rosie Cooper. Ms. Burke holds a B.A. in political science from Portland State University’s School of Urban Affairs, as well as her M.P.A. in nonprofit and public management and policy from New York University’s Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service.

Helen Chin, Surdna Foundation

TITLE: Program Officer, Sustainable Environments

FUNDING AREAS: Sustainable environments, economic development, arts and culture.

CONTACT: Visit PeopleFinder for email and phone number (paid subscribers only)

PROFILE: Helen Chin is the Surdna Foundation's program officer for sustainable environments. She is also a member of of Eno, a non-partisan think-tank that promotes policy innovation and provides professional development opportunities across the career span of transportation professionals, whose official bio of her shares:

Prior to joining the Surdna Foundation, Ms. Chin worked for West Harlem Environmental Action, leading initiatives on land use planning and transportation that were identified as core concerns by the community and New York City to advance its sustainability efforts. She also worked as Acting Deputy Director at the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) where she managed a grant portfolio with programs in over 15 countries, providing indigenous communities with the skills and resources needed to preserve and protect natural resources and wildlife habitats.

Ms. Chin spent a significant amount of time in Africa and Asia working directly with communities and went on to consult for the Wildlife Trust of India. Before joining IFAW, she was the Community Programs Manager at the New England Aquarium and held positions with the Natural Resources Defense Council working on national environmental policies. Ms. Chin attended Tufts University and holds a Master’s degree in Urban Environmental Policy.

David Kaimowitz, Ford Foundation

TITLE: Director, Natural Resources and Climate Change

FUNDING AREAS: Land rights, natural resources, climate change, sustainable development, agricultural development

CONTACT: Visit PeopleFinder for email and phone number (paid subscribers only)

PROFILE: David Kaimowitz is an agricultural economist with a long career in policy surrounding the world's natural resources. His Ford Foundation bio shares: 

David Kaimowitz leads the foundation's work on natural resources and climate change. His grant making has focused on giving poor rural families greater access to and control over forests and other natural resources, with a particular emphasis on indigenous peoples. He has done grant making both in support of global projects and in the Mexico and Central America region.

Before joining the foundation in 2006, David was director general of the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) in Bogor, Indonesia. CIFOR is one of the world's most prominent research centers concerned with tropical forests and is affiliated with the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research. Prior to becoming director general, David worked at CIFOR as a researcher, specializing in issues relating to forestry policies and how nonforestry policies and trends affect forests and forest-dependent people.

David has also held professional positions at the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture in Costa Rica, the International Service for National Agricultural Research in the Netherlands, and the Nicaraguan Ministry of Agricultural Development and Agrarian Reform.

David has a PhD in agricultural economics from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and has written or co-written seven books and published more than 100 scientific texts.

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Mariella Puerto, Barr Foundation

TITLE: Co-Director of Climate

FUNDING AREAS: Climate change and energy efficiency in Massachusetts

CONTACT: Visit PeopleFinder for email and phone number (paid subscribers only)

PROFILE: Mariella Puerto is the co-director of the Barr Foundation's climate program. Her foundation bio shares: 

Mariella Puerto is a co-director for Climate, managing Barr’s grantmaking and other initiatives that catalyze the transition to a clean-energy economy. This includes promoting policies and practices that accelerate the adoption of energy efficiency and renewable power sources in the New England region and connecting to similar efforts nationally. She serves on the board of the Environmental Grantmakers Association and as co-chair of the Funders’ Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities’ GREEN! Working Group.

Prior to joining the Foundation in 2001, Mariella spent four years as deputy director of the Robert Wood Johnson Community Health Leadership Program and three years as founding director of the Boston Lead Action Collaborative, a public-private partnership created to address the high rates of childhood lead poisoning in Boston. Before embarking on her career in the nonprofit sector, Mariella was a co-op owner of a vegetarian restaurant in Vermont.

Born in Malaysia of Filipino, Chinese, and Thai heritage, Mariella immigrated to the United States in 1986. She earned her bachelor’s degree in political science from Brandon University in Manitoba, Canada, and her master’s degree in political science from Ohio University.

Judy Adler, Turner Foundation

TITLE: President and Treasurer

FUNDING AREAS: Water and energy management, environmental sustainability, healthy living

CONTACT: Visit PeopleFinder for email and phone number (paid subscribers only)

PROFILE: Adler is the president and treasurer of the Turner Foundation. Her foundation bio shares: 

As President of the Turner Foundation, Judy is responsible for implementing the Foundation's mission of protecting and restoring our natural systems - air, land, and water on which all life depends. Before being appointed President, Judy managed the energy and water programs at the Foundation. Judy has over 20 years of environmental experience in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors. Prior to joining the Turner Foundation, Judy worked for the State of Georgia's Sustainability Division where she managed a team of engineers that helped businesses and institutions reduce their environmental footprint. She also worked as a project manager and project engineer with Metcalf & Eddy, Inc. (now AECOM) where she provided environmental services for industrial, municipal and federal clients.
Judy received a Bachelor of Engineering from Vanderbilt University summa cum laude and a Master of Science in Environmental Engineering from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Judy is a licensed professional engineer, LEED Green Associate, Certified Energy Manager, and former Chair of the Board of Directors for the Institute of Georgia Environmental Leadership. Judy lives in Atlanta with her husband, Ted Hull, and daughter Iris. In Atlanta, you may find Judy leading a courageous group of Girl Scouts, cooking and trying out the latest new restaurants with friends, and exploring the great outdoors with her family.

Walt Reid, David and Lucile Packard Foundation

TITLE: Director, Conservation and Science

FUNDING AREAS: Climate change, environmental science research, biofuels, marine conservation, biodiversity restoration

CONTACT: Visit PeopleFinder for email and phone number (paid subscribers only)

PROFILE: The David and Lucile Packard Foundation funds conservation through its Conservation and Science program. Reid is the director of conservation and science here. His foundation bio shares: 

Walt joined the Foundation in 2006 and is the director of the Conservation and Science Program. Prior to joining the Foundation, he was a consulting professor with the Institute for the Environment at Stanford University from 2005 to 2006. Walt was responsible for the creation of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, which he directed from 1998 until the release of the findings in March 2005. From 1992 to 1998, he was vice president of the World Resources Institute in Washington D.C. Walt is a member (and past Chair) of the Board of the Climate and Land Use Alliance and a member of the Board of Editors of Ecosystems. He previously was a member of: the Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services working group of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST); the Board of “The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity” (TEEB) project; the governing committee of the Policy and Global Affairs Division of the National Research Council; the Board of the Society for Conservation Biology; and the Board of Editors of Ecological Applications and PLOS-Biology. Walt earned his Ph.D. in zoology (ecology and evolutionary biology) from the University of Washington in 1987 and his B.A. in zoology from the University of California at Berkeley in 1978.

Jorgen Thomsen, MacArthur Foundation

TITLE: Director, Climate Solutions

FUNDING AREAS: Conservation, environmental sustainability, marine conservation

CONTACT: Visit PeopleFinder for email and phone number (paid subscribers only)

PROFILE: Jorgen Thomsen has spent much of his career at the helms of massive conservation programs, protecting the most vulnerable hotspots of biodiversity around the world. At the MacArthur Foundation, he's continuing that work but is expanding it to take on the underlying threats to biodiversity, including climate change. His foundation bio shares:

Prior to joining the foundation in 2009, Thomsen spent 14 years with Conservation International as Senior Vice President of the organization’s Conservation Funding Division and as Executive Director of the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund, which included leading a $260 million grantmaking and partnership development facility for civil society organizations in the most biodiversity rich areas of the world. Before this he was the chief executive of TRAFFIC, an organization that monitors trade in natural resources, and he held positions at WWF and IUCN, and in the Danish ministry of environment.
Thomsen has a MSc in zoology and also attended law school at the University of Copenhagen in his native Denmark.


Lois DeBacker, The Kresge Foundation

TITLE: Managing Director, Environment

FUNDING AREAS: Climate change

CONTACT: Visit PeopleFinder for email and phone number (paid subscribers only)

PROFILE: The Kresge Foundation first launched its Environment Program in 2008, selecting Lois DeBacker to lead the program, then as Senior Program Director. Her foundation bio shares:

Lois DeBacker serves as managing director of The Kresge Foundation’s Environment Program, which focuses on helping communities build resilience in the face of climate change. She joined the Kresge staff in February 2008. 
Lois’ experience includes more than 16 years at the C. S. Mott Foundation in a series of positions of progressive responsibility, including the role of Associate Vice President-Programs. Before joining the Mott Foundation, Lois worked for 10 years in Michigan state government in both policy-development and program-management capacities.
She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from the University of Michigan and a master’s degree in public affairs from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. Her graduate work focused on urban and domestic policy.
Lois is the recipient of the 2015 Nicholas P. Bollman Award from the Funders’ Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities. She serves on the External Advisory Board of the University of Michigan’s Graham Environmental Sustainability Institute and as the secretary of the board of directors of the Birmingham Bloomfield Art Center. She is the immediate past board president of the Consultative Group on Biological Diversity. 

Denis Hayes, Bullitt Foundation

TITLE: President and CEO

FUNDING AREAS: Marine ecosystem conservation, clean energy, and green infrastructure

CONTACT: Visit PeopleFinder for email and phone number (paid subscribers only)

PROFILE: Denis Hayes is the president and CEO of the Bullitt Foundation. His foundation bio shares:

As president of the Bullitt Foundation, Denis leads an effort to mold the major cities of Pacific Northwest and British Columbia into models of sustainability for a rapidly urbanizing planet. The Foundation applies ecological principles to the design of healthy, resilient human ecosystems. Under his leadership, the Foundation designed and constructed the Bullitt Center—the world’s greenest office building—which it operates as a commercial enterprise.
Denis was the principal national organizer of the first Earth Day in 1970 and took the event international in 1990. It is now the most-wide-observed secular holiday in the world. As board chair of the international Earth Day Network, Denis is gearing up for the 50th Earth Day anniversary in 2020. Over the years, Hayes has been special assistant to the Governor of Illinois for natural resources and the environment; senior fellow at the Worldwatch Institute; adjunct professor of engineering and human biology at Stanford University; Regents’ Professor at the University of California; and a Silicon Valley lawyer at the Cooley firm. Denis has been a visiting scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, DC and at the Bellagio Centerin Italy, and a Richard von Weizsäcker Fellow of the Bosch Foundation. During the Carter Administration, Hayes was the director of SERI — the nation’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
Hayes has received the national Jefferson Medal for Outstanding Public Serviceand the Rachel Carson Medal as well as the highest awards bestowed by the Sierra Club, the Humane Society of the United States, the National Wildlife Federation, the Natural Resources Council of America, the Global Environmental Facility, the Interfaith Center for Corporate Responsibility, the American Solar Energy Society, and the Commonwealth Club. He has served on dozens of governing boards, including those of Stanford University, the World Resources Institute, the Federation of American Scientists, the Energy Foundation, Children Now, the National Programming Council for Public Television, the American Solar Energy Society, Greenpeace, CERES, and the Environmental Grantmakers Association. Time magazine selected Hayes as one of its “Heroes of the Planet”. He has been profiled as “Newsmaker of the week” by ABC News and as “Today’s Person in the News” by the New York Times. Denis and his wife, Gail Boyer Hayes, co-authored COWED: The Hidden Impact of 93 Million Cows on America’s Health, Economy, Politics, Culture, and Environment (WW Norton, 2015).


Michael Northrop, Rockefeller Brothers Fund

TITLE: Program Director, Sustainable Development

FUNDING AREAS: Climate change, clean energy, energy conservation

CONTACT: Visit PeopleFinder for email and phone number (paid subscribers only)

PROFILE: Northrop is the program director of sustainable development at the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. His foundation bio shares: 

Michael Northrop is the program director for the Sustainable Development grantmaking program at the Rockefeller Brothers Fund where he focuses on climate change and energy. Northrop has been a lecturer at Yale University’s Forestry and Environmental Studies School for the last 14 years, where he has taught a course on environmental policy campaigns. Previously he was executive director of Ashoka, an international development organization that supports “public sector entrepreneurs” and an analyst at First Boston, an investment bank in New York City. Northrop serves on New York City’s Sustainability Advisory Board, on the city’s Waterfront Advisory Board, and on the boards of the Rainforest Action Network, Inside Climate News, and Princeton-in-Asia. Northrop has a Master of Public Administration from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton, where he was an English major as an undergraduate.

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Larry Brilliant, Skoll Global Threats Fund

TITLE: Acting Chairman, Skoll Global Threats Fund

FUNDING AREAS: Climate change, water, pandemics, smallholder productivity and food security, sustainable markets, nuclear proliferation, and Middle East conflict

CONTACT: Visit PeopleFinder for email and phone number (paid subscribers only)

IP TAKE: Having worked for decades in the developing world on health and environmental issues, Brilliant keenly appreciates the impacts that climate change and disease outbreaks have on the world’s poorest.

PROFILE: Larry Brilliant, MD, MPH, was on the scene in 1975, when the last smallpox victim in history was found in a village in Bhola Island, India, and brought to the World Health Organization’s smallpox eradication unit for treatment. Working on behalf of the United Nations as an epidemiologist in that unit, Brilliant saw a girl, Rahima Banu, survive and leave the hospital to grow up, marry, and raise four children. Brilliant cherishes the memory of that village and the triumph that it represents to him. But now he can no longer visit it—the entire village is underwater, a casualty of climate change.

The human capacity to save lives through innovation and, conversely, the human potential to destroy lives through the destruction of ecosystems and resources—both are intensely personal to Brilliant. Today, as acting Chairman of the Skoll Global Threats Fund, he speaks and labors across the globe to advance climate-change mitigation and disease prevention, along with other human development causes.

They all tie together, he often tells his audiences. Climate change exacerbates disease, as well as water shortages, warfare, and other threats to human well-being.

His work at Skoll is something he deemed important enough to leave Google for; before coming to Skoll, Brilliant was Chief Philanthropic Evangelist at the giant, meaning he ran their foundation.

“We need to work not just on primary prevention of global warming, but on the secondary prevention of the consequences of global warming on the poorest and most vulnerable,” he said at the January 2007 Skoll World Forum—two years before becoming an employee of the foundation.

Since his time at Skoll, Brilliant has dispensed considerable sums toward the primary and secondary goals alike. In addition to the $15 million that he granted to the Climate Reality Project, and $750,000 to Rockefeller Philanthropy Services, both for campaigns to raise public awareness about climate change, he has also allocated sizable grants to initiatives that remedy climate-change-related water shortages: $700,000 to Friends of the Earth-Middle East for water initiatives in Israel and the Palestine Authority; and $300,000 to the Inter-American Development Bank for a program to analyze drought patterns in the La Plata Basin, Argentina.

Projects to combat diseases are also top-priority items for Brilliant. He’s given $750,000 to the International Council for the Life Sciences to fund new data networks for identifying and stopping disease outbreaks in Africa and the Middle East, and $440,000 to Global Solutions for Infectious Disease to enhance rapid diagnoses of new disease outbreaks throughout the developing world.  

Medicine’s progress in developing treatments and vaccines for diseases such as smallpox is an exciting long-term trend to Brilliant. He’s said that he personally looks forward to seeing guinea worm and polio be eliminated next.

But also he stresses the importance of early detection and treatment. Speaking at a conference at Oxford University in London in September 2012, he spoke highly of the progress that the world has made in spotting new disease threats: In 1996, it took 167 days to find an epidemic, but only 23 days in 2009. He called for ongoing work to make detection and diagnosis even faster—the sooner we catch an outbreak, he noted, the more lives we can save.  

“It’s the most exciting thing that’s happened in epidemiology in my lifetime since the eradication of smallpox,” he said of early detection and diagnostic methods.

Brilliant praises digital disease-detection systems as important tools for this. Organized action by the world’s governments is critically important to him, as well. In the same lecture, he singled out words of approval for Connecting Organizations for Regional Disease Surveillance (CORDS), an international platform through which health departments of many national governments communicate with each other about new health risks and coordinate solutions. CORDS launched in 2009 with startup funds from a number of foundations, including Skoll.  

“You need good governance,” he said. “Until we get cooperation from governments we can’t stop epidemics. We’re never going to stop the first virus from jumping from an animal to a human. So we have to act after that.”

Brilliant first visited India in 1970 after spending a brief time in Nepal, where he studied at a Himalayan monastery. He left with the blessing of his teacher Neem Karoli Baba, who told Brilliant that he was destined to help put an end to smallpox—a destiny that Brilliant lived out over the next 10 years, which he spent on the WHO’s smallpox eradication team.

From the 1980s onwards, he worked in government capacities at the state, federal, and international levels, and founded “Pandafense,” a consortium of experts that assess future risks of influenza pandemics. In addition, he volunteered for tsunami relief in Sri Lanka and was a “first responder” for the CDC’s smallpox bioterrorism-response program. He has also authored two books and dozens of articles on global health policy, infectious diseases, and blindness.  

His educational background, like his career path, reflects an interdisciplinary approach. Dr. Larry Brilliant earned a Master’s in both health planning and economic development from the University of Michigan. He later received a medical degree from Wayne State University School of Medicine and is board certified in preventative medicine and public health. He served as To learn more about him, read his official bio.


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Sandra Smithey, Charles Stewart Mott Foundation

TITLE: Program Officer, Environment

FUNDING AREAS: Climate change, sustainability

CONTACT: Visit PeopleFinder for email and phone number (paid subscribers only)

PROFILE: Sandra Smithey serves as a program officer with the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, which shares the following bio:

As a program officer working with the Foundation’s Environment team, Sandra Smithey is responsible for grantmaking on international finance for sustainability. Smithey has an extensive background in public policy related to international development and the environment. Prior to joining the Mott Foundation, she worked with the Global Environment Center of the U.S. Agency for International Development, providing policy advice on sustainable development issues in numerous multilateral forums. Smithey’s professional experience also includes working for several U.S. and international nongovernmental organizations active in sustainable development issues.

Traci Romine, Charles Stewart Mott Foundation

TITLE: Program Officer, Environment

FUNDING AREAS: Climate change, environmental sustainability

CONTACT: Visit PeopleFinder for email and phone number (paid subscribers only)

PROFILE: Traci Romine serves as a program officer for the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, which shares the following bio:

Traci Romine handles grantmaking in the areas of international development finance and increasing access to clean energy in developing countries. She manages Mott’s environmental work in South America from Brazil, where she works on strategies to protect the region — including the Amazon rainforest and traditional communities — from large dams and other unsustainable energy and infrastructure projects. Romine and her family also reside in the Atlantic rainforest, where their “neighbors” include Howler monkeys, white tufted marmosets, toucans, and scores of other bird species. She began her career as a journalist after earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism from California State University, Northridge. Romine joined Mott in 2012, after working with Greenpeace, the Audubon Society, Oil Change International and the American Chamber of Commerce in Brazil. In 2011, while working from Miami, she received a national Audubon Society award for her work in response to the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Stephanie Bencivenga, Rockefeller Brothers Fund

TITLE: Program Associate, Sustainable Development

FUNDING AREAS: Climate change, clean energy, energy conservation

CONTACT: Visit PeopleFinder for email and phone number (paid subscribers only)

PROFILE: Stephanie Bencivenga is a program associate for the Rockefeller Fund’s Sustainable Development program. Her official bio on the fund's website shares:

Prior to joining the RBF, Ms. Bencivenga worked in sustainability communications, where she helped develop environmental messaging campaigns for nonprofits and governmental agencies, and promoted local and national releases of environmental documentaries. She also co-founded and served as the executive director of the urban agriculture nonprofit Get Dirty NYC. Ms. Bencivenga is a graduate of Boston College, where she studied finance. She holds a Master of Public Administration, with a public policy concentration from Baruch College, where she graduated with the highest honors of Phi Alpha Alpha.

Bencivenga also puts her previous professional experience and education into context on her Linkedin page:

My master's program at Baruch College provided me with an understanding of the political, administrative and economic factors that help shape public policies, which have helped me become a more effective advocate for environmental issues. In addition to my research, urban sustainability and policy analysis courses, my program evaluation class has prepared me to evaluate the needs of organizations and their capacity to implement their missions.

Prior to graduate school, the focus of my career was on environmental communications and advocacy. At Futerra, an environmental public relations firm, my work included serving as lead researcher for the industry white paper "The Greenwash Guide" and helping to draft press releases and create key messaging for environmental non-profit and governmental campaigns such as 1Sky’s green job campaign and the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. As an account executive at Fenton Communications, I served on the marketing team for the newly established clean energy department. My work primarily consisted of identifying and cultivating relationships with a strategic list of clean energy companies.

As a complement to my work in environmental communications, I have been an avid advocate for local and national environmental issues. I have worked with several community-based organizations to plan lectures and events to educate the public on topics such as energy efficiency and green urban planning. I have also organized rallies to advocate for stronger national and international environmental policies. Most recently, I founded an urban agriculture nonprofit that seeks to connect volunteers with urban farms and gardens in need of assistance in an effort to forge stronger community bonds and create a more sustainable city. I see my work within the community to be a rewarding and important step towards building a more sustainable New York City.