Board of Directors
(Click each name to see the full bio)
Vidya Tikku - President - Boston Community Gardens
Born and raised in India, Vidya was formally trained and worked as an architect in New Delhi, India where her work transitioned over the years from residential designs to exploring environmental impacts of urban growth. Her work with Development Alternatives analyzed the capital and resource needs for running environmental micro-enterprises in the towns of Orchha and Jhansi in India, in an effort to stem seasonal migrations into Delhi.
Vidya got an opportunity to participate in a Masters program at the Washington University in St Louis in 2000, where she learned about engaging with the community in planning urban growth. The experience led to a passion for developing effective community consensus. Her work as a program manager at the Neighborhood Parks Council led her through the parks and streets of San Francisco- engaging the community and bringing them to the table with the City to steward the neighborhood parks and playgrounds. She spearheaded the study ‘Green Envy’, a study using GIS based gap analysis to inform planning for new open space infrastructure.
In 2004, Vidya moved to the East coast and served as the Vice President at Boston Natural Areas Network until 2014. Her accomplishments there included doubling the organization’s budget and staff, developing the annual strategic organization and program plans and budgets, developing models for community stewardship and productive relationships among community, government, elected officials and philanthropy and creating innovative programs serving youth, teens, city residents and general public. She launched the Produce to Pantries program that donates over 8,000 lbs of fresh food to nearly 500 Boston families. In 2015, Vidya became the General Manager for the community gardens in Boston at the Trustees of Reservations. She also currently serves on the MA NOFA Board and is working towards a certificate in International Environmental Policy at the Harvard Extension school in Cambridge.
Susan Schroeter - Vice President - 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.
Ryan Torres - Secretary - Greater Burlington YMCA
Is the Community Health Initiatives Director at the Greater Burlington YMCA. Ryan provides strategic direction, tactical oversight and supervision to programs and initiatives designed to improve the health of Vermont’s citizens.
Ryan’s work has focused primarily on the Eat Well Play More (EWPM) Initiative, a collaborative of diverse statewide partners promoting policy change to address childhood obesity in Vermont. EWPM focuses its policy efforts on improving nutrition and increasing physical activity in early childcare, in school, and in out-of-school settings while increasing access to high-quality, affordable foods for all.
Prior to working at the Y, Ryan was a Philanthropic Advisor at the Vermont Community Foundation for 5 years, where his work focused on environmental issues, food systems and nonprofit capacity building.
Shane Lloyd - Treasurer - Yale University - Assistant Director of the Afro-American Cultural Center
Shane currently works as the Assistant Director of Yale University's historic Afro-American Cultural Center (known affectionately as the House). In the role, he provides culturally-affirming programming and intercultural education for Yale's campus with a particular focus on the experiences and histories of the Black community at Yale and beyond. His portfolio includes supporting the Afro-American Cultural Center Peer Liaison Program, outreach programming for Black Graduate and Professional Students, advising of the House’s resident groups, and coordinating intercultural programming with critical identity-based centers on Yale’s campus.
Outside of Yale, Shane is a senior trainer for a Boston-based nonprofit called Class Action, which provides educational workshops and organizational consulting around matters of class identity and classism. Shane holds board memberships with Class Action, the New England Grassroots Environment Fund, and the Associate Board of the New England Region of the Anti-Defamation League. Shane earned his MPH at Brown University and his BS in Behavioral Neuroscience from Northeastern University.
Tamika Francis - Boston Alliance for Community Health
Tamika R. Francis is the Community Engagement Manager for the Let’s Get Healthy, Boston! (LGHB) a U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Partnerships to Improve Community Health program. She has sound Caribbean heritage, having lived or worked on several islands on bilateral international development projects funded by the World Bank, USAID and the European Union. She moved to Boston ten years ago, where she immediately found herself connected to social justice issues. She is committed to people centered development, and approaches that collaborates with those most affected by a problem, to work towards a solution. Her lived experiences, coupled with work in multi-sectors, led to her role as the resident engagement strategist, and key architect behind LGHB’s Healthy Community Champions program – a resident led public health and organizing initiative.
Tamika has a strong passion for the outdoors, farming, wholesome food and reverence for traditional and indigenous practices. She first connected to the Grassroots Fund as grantee when she worked in farm based education with theMOVE, a Boston based organization that connects urban families to farm through volunteering. She volunteered with the grant making committee in 2013, and has never left. The Grassroots Fund embodies her own values, as well as utilizing her ‘daughter of a farmer’ experience, and her professional interests.
She earned her Bachelors in Geography from the University of the West Indies in 2003, and her Masters in Sustainable International Development from the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University in 2010, where she focused on conservation and capacity building in the context of small island developing states. When she is not working, she can be found expanding her cooking repertoire, or, visiting as many UNESCO world heritage sites as possible, however, the list keeps growing, making her goal a moving target.
Sarah Kelley - Island Foundation
Sarah Kelley is Senior Program Officer at the Island Foundation, a private foundation based in Marion, MA that funds primarily in Southeastern Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Maine. She manages the Foundation’s Environment program area, which includes grantmaking in the areas of Working Landscapes (sustainable agriculture, food systems, and fisheries); Climate Change, Alternative Energy, and Regional Planning; Land, Water, and Habitat Conservation; and Marine Mammals. Before coming to the Foundation in 2009, she served for 5 years as Executive Director of Southeastern Massachusetts Agricultural Partnership (SEMAP), a nonprofit dedicated to preserving and expanding sustainable farming and access to local food.
In joining the Grassroots Fund Board, Sarah looks forward to building on the Island Foundation’s long connection with the Grassroots Fund, going back to its founding. As a supporter of the Grassroots Fund's work, especially RootSkills 2015 in New Bedford and the upcoming RootSkills 2016 in Providence, 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.
Sarah lives in Providence, RI with her family. In her spare time, you can find her keeping an eye on the garlic crop in the front yard raised beds.
Danielle Megliola - Seacoast Women's Giving Circle
Danielle joined the board of the Grassroots Fund to pursue her passion for the environment and to promote positive change at a grassroots level. Danielle is currently a board member, and former chair, of the Seacoast Women’s Giving Circle: a philanthropic organization on the NH Seacoast “dedicated to improving the quality of life in the region through collective giving and grassroots action.” Each year, the SWGC studies a topic that affects the Seacoast, such as the environment, substance abuse, or food insecurity, educates the community, requests proposals from local nonprofit organizations, chooses recipients, and collectively funds the grants through a pool of individual donations. She has seen the power of educating community members to build empathy and community connections, while solving problems that impact our neighbors and friends.
Prior to moving to New Hampshire in 2007, Danielle worked as a consultant in New York, London, San Francisco and other cities, designing and implementing creative solutions to business challenges.
She resides in Portsmouth with her husband, three sons, and a (male) dog. She is a passionate supporter of the local food movement. In her free time, when she is not eating all the amazing local food, she enjoys books, board games, tennis, kayaking, swimming, biking, trail running, hiking, and any other activity that brings her outdoors.
Jonathan Scott - Clean Water Action
Jon's bio will soon be posted.
Megan Shore - 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).
Reverend Mariama White-Hammond - 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.