Board of Directors
(Click each name to see the full bio)
Reverend Mariama White-Hammond - President - Minister for Ecological Justice, Bethel AME Church
Rev. Mariama White-Hammond was born in Boston, MA in 1979. The child of two preacher-doctors, Mariama grew up with an understanding that God calls us all to serve our fellow man. Mariama’s activism began in high school and continued at Stanford University where Mariama was involved in campus politics and in the arts. She majored in International Relations, studied abroad in Chile, and focused on the political and economic development in Latin America and the Caribbean in the aftermath of dictatorships and/or civil wars.
In September 2001 Res. Mariama became the Executive Director of Project HIP-HOP (Highways Into the Past – History, Organizing and Power), an organization she had been involved with the organization since high school. At PHH, she used the arts as a tool to raise awareness about social issues and help young people to find their voice and share their ideas with the world. She taught young people to draw on the history of their ancestors for wisdom and strength. During her time there, PHH youth created artistic pieces on issues ranging from juvenile incarceration to funding for public transportation. They performed throughout Greater Boston in camps, homeless shelters, senior citizens homes and public transit stations as well as for leaders like the Mayor Walsh and Governor Patrick.
For her work in the non-profit sector Rev. Mariama has received numerous awards including the Barr Fellowship, the Celtics Heroes Among Us, The Roxbury Founders Day Award and the Boston NAACP Image award. In June 2014, she stepped down as Executive Director to focus on her work within the church
In 2006 Rev. Mariama accepted her call to ministry in the AME Church. In 2014 she enrolled at Boston University School of Theology where she is a Masters of Divinity Candidate graduating in May 2017. In April 2016, she was ordained in the African Methodist Episcopal Church. She serves on the ministerial staff at Bethel AME Church where she is the Minister for Ecological Justice and the Interim Youth Pastor.
Rev. Mariama’s challenges the Christian church to embrace a more radical understanding of the life and mission of Jesus Christ. She believes that the church must be responsive to issues like street violence, mass incarceration, climate change, AIDS, food security, and human rights. In particular she is focused on engaging the Black church on climate change and ecological justice issues. Rev. Mariama speaks throughout the country on the issue of ecological justice, is engaged in environmental and social justice legislation and serves on both local and national boards and committees like the Mass Interfaith Coalition for Climate Action and Green the Church. In addition to her work at Bethel AME Church, Rev. Mariama is also a fellow with the Green Justice Coalition, a collaborative of people-of-color-led environmental groups.
Megan Shore - Secretary - Elmina B. Sewall Foundation
Megan’s adult life is heavily influenced by her upbringing in the fishing community of Gloucester, MA where she developed a deep love for the ocean, commitment to community and respect for the role that natural resources play in the overall well-being of people. After four years in the cornfields of Ohio, where she attended the College of Wooster, Megan returned to New England and has been in Maine ever since.
Megan has worked in the nonprofit field for over 20 years, primarily focusing on fisheries, land conservation, and organizational capacity building. Megan joined the Elmina B. Sewall Foundation in 2010 where she currently serves as the Senior Program Officer. Working at the Foundation brings together her diverse interests, skills, and commitment to contributing to the well-being of people, environment and animals.
Hiking, paddling, gardening, attempting to play fiddle and messing about with two kids and two dogs tends to keep Megan busy when she’s not in the office. After intermittent attempts over the past thirty years, Megan now enjoys going for regular runs (or at least the feeling after the fact).
Shane Lloyd - Treasurer - Yale University - Assistant Director of the Afro-American Cultural Center
Shane Lloyd is a diversity and inclusion practioner with extensive experience in higher education, public health, and non-profit organizations. As a highly sought-after facilitator and trainer Shane specializes in conducting workshops on various dimensions of social identity, with special expertise in the areas of race and socioeconomic class, while integrating research in behavioral economics, psychology, organizational behavior, sociology, and public health. Shane is know for facilitating dynamic and interactive workshops that equip participants with vocabulary, frameworks, and concrete action steps to advance inclusion. Over the course of his career, he has partnered with academic departments, HR units, and senior leadership teams to develop impactful short-term and long-term strategies aimed at ensuring that all members of an organizational environment can thrive and contribute in meaningful ways.
Prior to joining Cook Ross, Shane held positions at two of the nations' leading academic institutions - Brown University and Yale University - coordinating programs for students of color to have a positive impact on theor matriculation, transition to college, retention, and academic and co-curricular success.
Shane currently sits on the boards of Class Action, a national non-profit that promotes reflection and dialogue about social class, and the New England Grassroots Environment Fund. Shane is a former board member of the Center for Mediation and Collaboration-Rhode Island. Shane earned a Master of Public Health degree from Brown University and a Bachelor's in Behavioral Neuroscience from Northeastern University.
Leah Bamberger - Director of Sustainability, City of Providence (RI)
Leah grew up in a suburban community in metrowest Boston. Her childhood experiences afforded her great access to nature and fueled a passion for the outdoors. Her family would also take frequent trips to nearby cities such as Boston, Worcester, Providence, and New York City. The energy and culture of these places was a stark contrast to her childhood neighborhood and she began making cities her home as soon as she was able to leave the nest.
As she pursued her academic career, first at the College of Charleston where she studied political sciene and environmental studies, and later at the University of Massachusetts - Amherst, where she earned a Masters in Regional Planning, Leah explored the symbiotic relationship between nature, people, and cities. She has since dedicated her career to helping cultivate healthy, equitable and more sustainable cities. She believes such places are critical to protecting the planet's most fragile habitats and unique landscapes, while also ensuring all people have access to nature, culture, and the diversity that our society needs to thrive in the 21st century.
Leah's professional experiences include working for the City of Boston under both the Menino and Walsh administrations as manager of the Greenovate Boston program. She currently serves as the Director of Sustainability for the City of Providence, of which she was appointed in April 2015 by Mayor Jorge O. Elorza. Leah has brought a wealth of experience in municipal sustainability efforts to Providence and has been a catalyst for racial equity and climate justice work at the City. Prior to these positions, Leah served as a consultant to a variety of local and regional governments and nonprofits in the northeast, supporting their climate and sustainability planning work.
Leah currently lives in Providence (RI) and enjoys hiking, backpacking, climbing, gardening, playing soccer, traveling, biking, and spending time with her family, friends and equally adventurous dog, Lucy.
Marian Evans - Southern CT State University, Department of Public Health, School of Health and Human Services
Born and raised in Bridgeport, CT. Graduated from Lauralton Hall (academy of Our Lady of Mercy) in 1981, received a Bachelor of Arts from Swarthmore College in 1985, and earned her Doctor of Medicine from Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine in 1991. She completed two residencies in Obstetrics/Gynecology and Anesthesiology. In 2015, she earned a Master's in Public Health (MPH) from Southern CT State University, and is currently an Assistant Professor. At Southern, she teaches undergraduate and graduate public health courses (Women's Health and Environmental Health), and serves as the graduate coordinator of the MPH program and chapter advisor to the Golden Key International Honour Society.
In 1999, she served as a Physician Scientist at the Yale Griffin Prevention Research Center. In 2004, she was appointed the Director of Health and Social Services for the City of Bridgeport, where she served in that capacity until 2010. She is a class of 2007, Connecticut Health Foundation Health Leadership Fellow, and a 2016 Community Leadership Program fellow of the William Caspar Graustein Memorial Fund.
In 2007, she was one of People to People's 20 national delegates to travel to India as an ambassador for public health. In 2009, she traveled to Cape Town, Johannesburg, and Soweto, South Africa on an international field study in public health. In 2017, she traveled to Cuba on a People to People Educational Exchange with the Academy of Women's Health exploring the maternal child public health infrastructure. In 2019, she completed her first faculty study abroad service, arts and culture trip to Bermuda with New Haven Promise, Summer Equal Opportunity Program, and University Access Program students. She is currently preparing to go to Puerto Rico in 2020 with students.
Served in the past as a member of the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit (COTHS), in Bridgeport, CT for 40 years, where she served as the Founder and Co-Director of the COTHS Health Ministry, being awarded numerous grants and other funding over those years.
She has received numerous awards: 2018-Elm City National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women (NANBPW), and Outstanding Faculty Member of the SCSU Multicultural Center, 2015-Outstanding Master in Public Health Student, 2014-Eta, Sigma Gamma Honor Society, 2013-Golden Key International Honour Society, 2011-2018-J. Philip Outstanding Teaching Award nominations, 2010-"Behind the Scenes" by COTHS Board of Trustees, 2009-"Women You Should Know" Bridgeport Black Pride; 2008-Woman of Distinction Housatonic Girl Scouts, and Fairfield County Environmental Justice Award, 2007-power to End Stroke Award and Fred Harris Turning Point Award American Heart Association, and 2005-Sojourner Truth Award Greater Bridgeport NANBPW.
Presently sits on the Board of Director's as the Vice-Chair for Community Health Network of CT Foundation, a board member of the Greater New Haven Green Fund, and the New England Grassroots Environment Fund. She is passionate about ministry to people in untraditional, and unconventional forms. (Tenacious, educated, professional, physician, researcher, scientist, professor, woman of faith, award winner, sister, caregiver, community activist, leader, mentor, and wife)
Sarah Kelley - Project director/Consultant - SAFSF Special Project on Sustainable Fiber and Textiles
Sarah Kelley has over 15 years experience working at the intersection of philanthropy, sustainability, and equity. She currently serves as Project Director/Consultant for Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systens Funders (SAFSF) for a Special Project on Sustainable Fibers and Textiles. She is also the author of "Common Threads: U.S. Foundation Opportunities in Sustainbale Fiber and Textiles", published by SAFSF. Previously, Sarah served for 10 years as Senior Program Officer at Island Foundation, where she directed the Environment portfolio and managed $1.2 million in annual grants. Her work at the foundation spanned sustainable agriculture, food, and fiber systems; climate and clean energy; and land and water conservation. She also developed and implemented a program on equity, inclusion, and environmental justice for the foundation, including an innovative cohort-based model for equity training. Previously, she was the Executive Director of a nonprofit dedicated to preserving and expanding sustainable farming and access to local food. She was also a 2018-19 RSF Integrated Capital Fellow, focusing on integrating investment and grantmaking strategies to drive change. She holds an M.S. in Plant and Soil Sciences from the University of Massachusetts and a B.A. in History from Yale.
As a Grassroots Fund board member, Sarah has helped to build on the Island Foundation's long connection with the Grassroots Fund, going back to its founding. She has seen how the Grassroots Fund's trainings and grants provide vital opportunities for grassroots organizations and fill a unique niche in the funding landscape.
In 2019, Sarah moved to Washington D.C. with her family. In her spare time, you can find her running the trails in Rock Creek Park near her home.
Isa Mujahid - SOON: Stamp Out Oppression Now
Isa Mujahid, Founder and Organizing Director of CTCORE-Organize Now!, is a native of Bridgeport, CT. The child and grandchild of Civil Rights Era activists, Isa was aware from an early age the role that racial politics had played in the history of the United States in the oppression of marginalized groups, in particular African Americans. An opportunity to attend private schools in neighboring Fairfield, opened his eyes to the large disparities that exist in the small state of Connecticut. After graduating high school, Isa joined the U.S. Army and spent the time thinking how he could best serve his community and country. Upon returning home to CT, he sought opportunities to be engaged in civic and political activities. He began community organizing with ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) in Bridgeport.
Isa saw how effective community organizing was at winning demands from the powers-that-be and showing community members, who may have previously felt discouraged or unsure about their own ability to bring about social change, what was possible if communities work together in an organized and strategic way. Isa continued to organize with ACORN for several years - later organizing with the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) of Connecticut and FaithActs for Education in Bridgeport, before forming CTCORE-Organize Now!
Jonathan Scott - Clean Water Action
Jon began working with Clean Water in 1983, assuming responsibility for Corporate Relations and Legacy Giving in 2010. His experience with Clean Water includes canvassing door-to-door and on the phones, organizing, electoral and issue campaigning, and various development, communications and publications roles. He has visited Clean Water Action staff, members, partners, allies and supporters in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia,Maine, New York, Vermont, Washington, and the District of Columbia. Jon represents Clean Water Fund on the national Board of Earth Share.
Fun Fact: Jon is the only Clean Water staff person to have climbed Denali (North America's highest peak) and is also one of the only people in the world to have tossed -- and retrieved -- a Frisbee from its summit.
Susan Schroeter - Best Friends Animal Society
In the role of Vice-President of the Board of Directors, Susan Schroeter brings 20 years of non-profit fundraising and management experience to the Grassroots Fund. Currently the New England gift advisor for Best Friends Animal Society, a national animal welfare organization focused on bringing about a time when animals are no longer killed in U.S. shelters, Susan became interested in the mission and vision of NEGEF as a way to personally contribute to grassroots advocacy.
Susan previously worked for NH-based Clean Air-Cool Planet, CASA, AmeriCares, and UNICEF. She has also served on non-profit boards and local associations in the past including the International Board of PQMD (partnership for quality medical donations), and the Smith Farm Water Association. Originally from Ireland, Susan moved to the U.S. in the 90’s, lived & worked for 17 years in the NYC area and has lived in Stratham, NH since 2010 with her husband, pets, and two very eco-conscious children.
Bilal Tijaldeen - CT Community Foundation
A lifelong Waterbury, CT resident, Bilal joined Connecticut Community Foundation's staff in 2017. As a member of the program team, his grantmaking portfolio includes Community Organizing, Older Adults, Cradle to Career, and the Southbury Community Trust Fund. In addition, he assists in the Foundation's community leadership efforts by providing oversight to the Bringing Resources to Action to Serve Seniors (BRASS), a program that supports Waterbury's older adult population, by being a member of the Waterbury Bridge to Success Community Partnership's community council and equity think tank, and by being on the leadership of Supporting Organizing Work-CT, a statewide community organizing collaborative.
Prior to the Foundation, Bilal worked in development (grant writing, donor cultivation) for a nonprofit theater and as an assistant antiquarian bookseller, aiding in the cataloguing and processing of books, ephemera, and art in the areas of Americana, poetry and letters.
In his off hours, Bilal is pursuing a master's degree in English from Central Connecticut State University, primarily focusong on queer, postcolonial, and power theory as well as LGBTQ literature. He is also an active member of CT Equality, a statewide LGBTQ community organizing collective as well as on the board of the New England Grassroots Environment Fund, a regional grantmaker that funds at the intersection of racial equity, environmental justice, and community organizing.