Lukas Haynes, Mertz Gilmore Foundation

TITLE: Vice President

FUNDING AREAS: Climate change, community development in New York, and domestic human rights

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

IP TAKE: Haynes works collaboratively and strategically with investment groups, NGO alliances, and like-minded foundations to foster progress on environmental and human rights goals at the local, state, and regional levels.

PROFILE: Many conservation advocates set up shop in Washington, D.C. and press for federal action on climate change and clean energy, only to come away frustrated by the political inertia. Lukas Haynes is leading change by a different route. As vice president of the Mertz Gilmore Foundation, which he joined in 2006, he fosters sustainability efforts within communities and states, building an impetus for change locale by locale. The hope is that targeted changes within the parts may galvanize a greater long-term change throughout the whole.

Haynes champions a green, fossil-fuel-free national economy. To that end, he supports a wide swath of programs and initiatives for renewable energy and energy efficiency. Putting the brakes on the development of new coal- and oil-powered utilities is a top goal of his as well, as evidenced by the $375,000 grant he has awarded to the Southern Environment Law Center and smaller grants to Appalachian Voices and the Chesapeake Climate Action Network. These three organizations are protesting coal-development proposals and stumping for clean-energy alternatives to coal in Virginia and the Carolinas.

Haynes heavily emphasizes the economic and financial angles of climate change and other environmental issues too. He has often spoken of the need for sustainability advocates to be "strategic" and "opportunistic" about the programs they support. By this, Haynes means they should constantly look for for clean-energy investment opportunities that have the potential to grow into solid enterprises which provide ample returns on the initial investment capital. And he has found many.

Haynes has given out millions, including to the Energy Foundation, a partnership of 16 investors who together, foster networks of clean-energy investment across the country. He also has given multiple grants to Urban Agenda to support, among other activities, its efforts to educate the governing boards of the New York City pension funds and the Office of the Comptroller about investing new resources in the clean energy sector. The Ceres Foundation has also received multiple awards from Haynes since 2008. Ceres works directly with investors, companies, and public-interest groups to spur adoption of green business practices and to communicate to the public the steep economic costs that inaction on climate change will have in the long term.

Many more initiatives to educate and mobilize the public have received Haynes's support. He has given multiple grants to Resource Media to equip television station scientists with the information and products they need to explain climate change to mass audiences and teach the public what it can do to curb pollution. Other recent grant awards include $15,000 to Bard College's Center for Environment Policy for an environmental leadership-training program for students; $35,000 to Global Kids to launch a program to train youth leaders on advancing climate justice; and $50,000 to the Union of Concerned Scientists for campaigns to communicate to the public the link between extreme weather events and climate change.

Although the foundation's grant recipients are to be found throughout the country, Haynes is, naturally, especially involved in initiatives in New York and the surrounding region. He has given multiple grants to the 1Sky Education Fund to support statewide activism for climate change policy and stricter regulation of coal-fired power plants' emissions. He has also allocated funds several times to the Pratt Institute's community sustainability projects in New York City; as well as to Pace Law School's Energy and Climate Center for its advocacy of clean-energy policies in New York State ;and Environment Northeast to promote a low-carbon fuel standard and energy efficiency policies in the state, and to assist in the implementation of a multistate cap-and-trade system, the Northeast Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, to which New York is party.

Human Rights

Environmental issues such as climate change aren't the only areas in which Haynes supports sustained reform efforts. He's also committed to a broad range of human rights causes throughout the United States. Haynes has given multiple awards to Just Detention International for its programs to curb sexual violence in California's penitentiaries. He's also distributed funds to Centro Hispano Cuzatlan, which ensures housing rights, employment, environmental welfare, and immigration rights for the residents of Jamaica, Queens; to Make the Road Work, which lobbies for economic and social justice for all low-income communities; and to the New York Immigration Coalition to press for immigrants' rights and immigration reform.

Collaborative Action

No matter the issue at hand, Haynes strives for collaborative action wherever and whenever possible. He favors grant applicants whose efforts have active buy-in from partner organizations, and the Mertz Gilmore Foundation itself regularly works in tandem with other foundations. When Mertz Gilmore grants go out, they almost always do so as part and parcel of a larger funding campaign to which other foundations and organizations contribute sums as well. As Haynes has been known to say, "There's no time to waste on petty turf stuff."

Collaboration comes naturally to Haynes, given that he came to Mertz Gilmore following an extensive career in global development and foreign services. He graduated with a master's degree in international relations from Oxford University and worked at Oxfam and the State Department. He also was an executive officer at the MacArthur Foundation, where he oversaw grantmaking in international peace and security.

Haynes came to Mertz Gilmore in 2006 after serving as a program officer for the MacArthur Foundation's International Security and Peace Program. Prior to that, he worked on Barack Obama's senate campaign, offering foreign and security policy advice. Haynes was also a member of the US State Department's Policy and Planning staff, serving as a speechwriter for then Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright. Haynes earned his bachelor's from the College of William and Mary, and his master's in international relations from Oxford University and has authored a number of publications while working as an analyst for the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the International Crisis Group, the Salzburg Seminar, and the International Peace Academy.