Our Team

Our Board & Staff


  • Reverend Mariama White-Hammond

    President - Pastor, New Roots AME Church

    Read Bio

    Reverend Mariama White-Hammond

    Rev. Mariama White-Hammond is a pastor, advocate, facilitator, and farmer whose work spans issues and sectors as she seeks to create a more just and sustainable world.

    She was recently appointed Chief of Energy, Environment and Open Spaces for the City of Boston under Mayor Kim Janey. In that role she oversees everything from Archeology to Animal Control. In particular she is focused on what Boston can do to combat climate change, reduce environmental inequities and protect Boston’s urban ecosystem for everyone to enjoy. She is the founding pastor of New Roots AME Church, a multi-racial, multi-class community that is innovating new ways of doing church.

    Rev. Mariama uses an intersectional lens in her ecological work, challenging folks to see the connections between immigration and climate change or the relationship between energy policy and economic justice. She was a fellow with the Green Justice Coalition, which brings together eight social/environmental justice groups from around Massachusetts. She is the chair of the New England Grassroots Environmental Fund and the co-chair of RENEW New England.

    She was the Executive Director of Project HIP-HOP, a youth arts organization, focused on teaching the history of the Civil Rights Movement and engaging a new generation of young people in activism. She has spoken and preached throughout the country and was the MC for the 2017 Boston Women’s March and the 2018 Boston People’s Climate Mobilization. She has a company, Change Agency, with her husband, Turahn Dorsey, that encompasses her public speaking, writing and consulting work with organizations committed to deepening their social justice work.

    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. She was selected as one of the Grist 50 Fixers for 2019, Sojourners’ 11 Women Shaping the Church, and Get Konnected!’s Boston’s Most Impactful Black Women 2021.

  • Bilal Tajildeen

    Vice President - CT Council for Philanthropy

    Read Bio

    Bilal Tajildeen

    A lifelong Waterbury, CT resident, Bilal joined the Connecticut Council for Philanthropy team in 2020 as the manager of membership and culture. His primary responsibilities will include building community and connections with members from across the state, creating opportunities for education and exploration, supporting the Council’s affinity spaces, and continuously working toward more equitable and inclusive practices across Connecticut’s philanthropic sector.

    Prior to joining the Council, Bilal worked as a program officer at Connecticut Community Foundation where his major grantmaking portfolios included community organizing, eldercare, and youth development. He also assisted In the Foundation’s community leadership efforts including staffing the Pride Fund (grantmaking by and for the LGBTQ community), serving on both the Waterbury Bridge to Success community council and the equity think tank, and as a member of the Supporting Organizing Work CT (SOW CT) steering committee.

    Bilal earned a master’s degree in English from Central Connecticut State University, primarily focusing on queer theory and political theory as well as LGBTQ literature. He serves as the vice president of the board of the New England Grassroots Environment Fund, a director on the board of the New Haven Pride Center, and as a national PLACES fellow through the Funder’s Network.

    In his spare time, Bilal continues to pursue his academic interests as an occasional guest lecturer at Central, the University of Connecticut, and community centers around the state and is funneling his passion for architecture and prowling Zillow toward getting his real estate license.

  • Sarah Kelley

    Treasurer - Project Director/Consultant: SAFSF Special Project on Sustainable Fiber & Textiles

    Read Bio

    Sarah Kelley

    Sarah Kelley has over 15 years experience working at the intersection of philanthropy, sustainability, and equity. She is the Principal of Common Threads Consulting, working with philanthropic clients on strategy development for a range of topics. She currently serves as Project Director/Consultant for Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems Funders (SAFSF) for a Special Project on Sustainable Fibers and Textiles. She is also the author of "Common Threads: U.S. Foundation Opportunities in Sustainable 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. Sarah 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 participatory grantmaking model has radically shifted the organization and the work that is funded, and she works to bring these lessons into her consulting projects with other clients and partners. 

    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. 

  • Megan Shore

    Secretary - Elmina B. Sewall Foundation

    Read Bio

    Megan Shore

    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).

  • Leah Bamberger

    Director of Sustainability, City of Providence (RI)

    Read Bio

    Leah Bamberger

    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. 

  • Kimberly Blakemore

    ESG senior manage, Analog Devices

    Read Bio

    Kimberly Blakemore

    Kimberly is the ESG senior manager for Analog Devices, a global semiconductor technology company. Her work spans several sustainability initiatives, including the Ocean and Climate Innovation Accelerator, a first-of-its-kind consortium launched by Analog and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution focused on the critical role of oceans in combatting climate change. She previously served as program officer for Tufts Health Plan Foundation. She began her career in investment banking and corporate strategy, bringing a multi-sector lens to her work. Kimberly holds an MBA in Sustainability from Antioch University New England and a BA in Art History from Cornell University. Although based in Massachusetts, she can often be found in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, trail running and skiing. She is excited for future explorations with her young son and husband.

  • Lindsey Dupont

    Best Friends Animal Society - Estate and Planned Giving Administrator

    Read Bio

    Lindsey Dupont

    Lindsey Dupont, JD is a planned giving and management professional currently serving as the Estate and Planned Giving Administrator 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. In this dual function role, Lindsey oversees the administration of estates and the day-to-day operations of Best Friends’ planned giving program.

    Lindsey previously worked for the University of New Hampshire Foundation and prior to working in the non-profit sector was a practicing attorney in New Hampshire and Massachusetts focused on real estate and estate planning. Her work in these areas piqued her interest in planned giving and non-profit fundraising. Lindsey’s interest in sustainability, food systems, and environmental justice ultimately led her to the Grassroots Fund.

    A lifelong resident of New Hampshire, Lindsey received her undergraduate degree in political science from the University of New Hampshire and her law degree from the University of New Hampshire School of Law. Lindsey currently lives on the Seacoast with her husband and cat. In her spare time you will find her working in the garden or on the tennis court!

  • Marian Evans

    Southern CT State University, Department of Health, School of Health & Human Services

    Read Bio

    Marian Evans

    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).

  • Christine James

    Executive Director, The John Merck Fund

    Read Bio

    Christine James

    Over the four decades of her working life, Christine James has taught ESOL (English for speakers of other languages) classes in Boston for adult students from all over the world, served as executive director for a small, organic educational farm in Maine, advised faith-based and secular institutions on how to move to renewable energy to address climate change, worked for a small greenhouse operation in New Hampshire and a small art book reseller in Boston, raised funds for Boston’s large community center network, led a coalition of non-profits, businesses, hospitals, universities, and community members working to improve neighborhood health, safety, and cohesiveness in Allston-Brighton, researched the socioeconomic impact of fisheries regulations on fishing ports in Maine and Massachusetts as staff at MIT Sea Grant, and taught urban ecology in Springfield College’s program for adult students working in human services.  For the past thirteen years, Christine has drawn on her varied background to help The John Merck Fund resource nonprofits in New England and across the country that are working to protect human health and the environment. 

    Despite her recent move to Vermont, Zoom has helped Christine remain an active member of Church of the Covenant-Boston, where she serves on the progressive congregation’s Mission & Advocacy, Climate Jubilee and Generosity Generators committees. Since 2018, Christine has traveled to Honduras and Tijuana, Mexico, to stand in solidarity with peaceful protestors seeking political reforms, and with individuals and families seeking refuge in the US from violence, poverty and the ravages of climate change in their home countries. Over the past two years, she has sponsored asylum-seekers from Uganda and Haiti as they have pursued their cases in Boston.

    Christine has a B.A. in art history from Bowdoin College and an M.A. in urban and environmental policy from Tufts University. If not inside baking or knitting, Christine is outdoors—working in her garden, helping her husband with repair projects around their homestead, or exploring the beauty of rural Vermont on foot, by bike or in a kayak.

  • Sally Manikian

    Sally Manikian, The Conservation Fund

    Read Bio

    Sally Manikian

    Sally Manikian is a resident of Shelburne, NH, and has called Coos County home since 2007. A persistent creative thinker, her professional career spans a diversity of roles, tethered together out of a love of landscape, rural community, and social possibility. These professional roles include: adjunct professor, local community journalist, substitute teacher, community organizer, and backcountry recreation management. A defining personal role is as the caregiver and guardian for her two developmentally disabled siblings which drives her passion, experience and understanding of systemic marginalization as their advocate.

    Since 2016, Sally has served as The Conservation Fund’s NH and VT Representative. The Fund is a national land and water organization, working in all 50 states under a dual chartered mission of land conservation and economic development. Currently managing a portfolio of projects and work in both states that include traditional land conservation projects that expand National Forests or State Wildlife Management Areas or local land trust preserves or Community Forests, Sally continues to push for creative thinking about how to do land conservation better to advance equity in all forms: economic, social, and cultural. In addition to land conservation, Sally facilitates an economic development initiative in Coos County, supported by the Neil and Louise Tillotson Fund, rooted in the Value Chain and WealthWorks approach to economic development.

    Outside the Fund, Sally serves on the board of statewide leadership program Leadership NH, and is a professional racing sled dog musher. Sally and the Shady Pines Sled Dogs race in 100 mile to 250 mile races in the Northeast and Midwest, and Sally is the first female musher to win the Can Am 100, the most competitive 100-mile race in New England. She is a published essayist and writer, including the upcoming (Spring 2021) third edition of the Appalachian Mountain Club’s Guide to Outdoor Leadership, written specifically through the lens of JEDI. From 2014-2016 Sally served on the DEI committee of her previous organization and has participated in multiple JEDI and anti-racist learning communities and programs in New England, and is currently on The Conservation Fund’s internal DEI committee and a member of NH’s Race and Equity Economic Development working group.

    Sally’s regional leadership and community roots were most recently featured in Northern Woodlands magazine (‘The Space Between’) as well as NH Public Radio (‘Run, Rest, Run, Rest, Run: Sally Manikian is the ‘talk of the town’’ and ‘Mill Complex’). Sally holds a Master’s of Science and Economics in Postcolonial Politics from the University of Wales, Aberystwyth.


  • Tess Beem

    Program Manager

    Read Bio

    Tess Beem

    [email protected]

    In the summer of 2018, Tess joined the New England Grassroots Environment Fund as the Events and Seed Grants Program Manager. In her role with the Grassroots Fund team, Tess manages the logistics and delivery of the Grassroots Fund’s events, including the annual RootSkills Training Series, and the ‘Seed’ Grant program. Tess is especially excited about the opportunity to work with emerging community leaders at the leading edge of change and innovation. 

    Before her work with the Fund, Tess worked on the coast of Maine, helping to sustain Maine's year-round, un-bridged island communities. Through this work with the Island Institute, Tess coordinated a collaborative teaching and learning community for Maine's remaining one-room, island schools. This education work was founded in equity-based practices, namely in line with the School Reform Initiative, offering Tess the opportunity to hone her facilitative skills. She also worked to implement broadband internet and other community-driven economic and workforce development initiatives. Prior to her community development experience, Tess spent over three years as an environmental educator, from Maine to California and places in between. She graduated from Bowdoin College with a dual major in Biology and Environmental Studies. 

    During her spare time, Tess can be found ambling up the White Mountains, running around the soccer field and putting on unsolicited (though enthusiastic!) ecology lessons. She has served as a coach for Girls on the Run, and is a founding member of the Resistance Football Club (an all women's team in a men's soccer league), hoping to alter the framework and discussion for female athletes.

  • Abby Burkland

    Program Manager

    Read Bio

    Abby Burkland

    [email protected]

    Abby (they/them) joined the Grassroots Fund in February 2021 as the Grow Grants Program Manager. They first connected with the Grassroots Fund when they participated as a volunteer grant reviewer and Grantmaking Planning Committee member in 2020.

    As a transnational Korean adoptee, Abby grew up in rural Pennsylvania and developed a deep and abiding commitment to racial, gender, and environmental justice. They are a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP), someone who takes moments, exchanges, and relationships to heart, and encourages themself and others to see the value that introverts bring to the world. 

    Based in the Dorchester neighborhood in Boston, they have a decade of experience, with focuses on community organizing, education, youth leadership development, food security, and science advocacy. They find meaning through co-creating community-focused solutions that prioritize equity, access, consent, and alternative solidarity economies. Collective care, disability justice, and transformative justice are foundational to their life and path toward liberation. You will see them at their happiest when they are eating a vegan soft-serve twist ice-cream with rainbow sprinkles on a sugar cone.

  • Julia Dundorf

    Executive Director

    Read Bio

    Julia Dundorf

    [email protected]

    Julia has been Executive Director of the Grassroots Fund since October 2014. She has nearly three decades of experience forming and working with nonprofits and community engagement programs. Complementing her experience in energy and climate change solutions, she has a background in nonprofit development, management and board participation in the broader fields of environmental sustainability, low-income housing solutions, domestic violence and business environmental sustainability.

    In 2012 she joined the New England Grassroots Environment Fund as their Energy & Climate Action Program Director to enhance the work of local level climate and energy action in New England and coordinate two New England based networks. The first is the New England Local Energy Network, a bourgeoning collaboration of over thirty organizations and groups across New England working with energy committees or similar grassroots groups to further cross-sector, measurable climate and energy action impacts. The second is the New Hampshire Local Energy Work Group, an ad hoc, active committee representing over twenty nonprofits, federal and state agencies, local governments, energy companies, planning commissions and active local energy committee volunteers that seeks to catalyze, support and reduce the barriers to local level action on energy and climate change issues in New Hampshire. In that position she coordinated the Local Energy Solutions Conference (now in its seventh year), New Hampshire’s premier energy solutions conference supporting community-based energy efficiency and renewable energy solutions. Dundorf is known throughout the region as a connector for local energy and climate action and for identifying opportunities to support grassroots and network innovation.

    Prior to joining the Grassroots Fund team, Julia served for over three years as Manager of Community Relations at Clean Air-Cool Planet, developing trainings and resources for local energy committees and communities to address greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption. She also co-directed the New England Carbon Challenge, a joint initiative with the University of New Hampshire (UNH). Julia co-founded the NH Carbon Challenge in 2006 as a UNH initiative committed to helping NH households reduce their carbon dioxide emissions. Julia is the recipient of a 2010 Environmental Merit Award from the US Environmental Protection Agency, Region I for her work (with Denise Blaha) on the New England Carbon Challenge. She received a 2013 Commendation from New Hampshire's Governor, Maggie Hassan, for her dedication and service to the State of New Hampshire in furthering energy and climate change action.

    Julia attributes her passion for environmental justice and climate change action to her experiences of growing up on an off-grid farm in northern NH. She lives in Southeast New Hampshire with her husband and two of her three children, ages 17-22.

  • Diana Fontaine

    Program Manager

    Read Bio

    Diana Fontaine

    [email protected]

    Lifted up by her community in Hartford, CT, Diana brings her background of community organizing and action research with her to the Newmarket office as Program Manager for the Grow Grant program. She is a passionate and outspoken advocate for homeless and runaway youth and young adults, and uses her own experiences living in poverty in one of the wealthiest states in the nation to inform her work and challenge the framework of our social service programs. At The Institute for Community Research conducted research to inform the restructure of those systems which she saw herself and so many of her friends, family, and community members slip through the cracks of.

    As an Obama Foundation Community Leadership Corps Alum, she found a passion for building, repairing, and maintaining communities that uphold equitable, liberatory practices, and was inspired to be a part of the Grassroots Fund's mission after volunteering with the Grow Grant program, eventually bringing her to her Program Manager role in Spring of 2020. 

    Diana uses her training and experience in organizing to make a difference in her LGBTQ+ community by advocating for equity in housing and employment resources, living wages, environmental and transportation equity, and accessible and affordable healthcare. 

    After hours you can find her in reading groups, tabletop games, virtual reality, and at the beach.

  • Sarah Huang

    Director of Learning

    Read Bio

    Sarah Huang

    [email protected]

    Sarah joined the Grassroots Fund as the Program Manager for the Grow Grant Program in September 2020 and Director of Learning in January 2021. She brings her experience overseeing and participating on community-based participatory research projects centered around environmental justice and food justice to this new role and is excited to integrate participatory action frameworks to GF's data management and grant rounds.


    Prior to joining the Grassroots Fund team, Sarah attended graduate school at Purdue University where she completed a MS degree and her PhD in Anthropology. While there, she participated on a community-based participatory research project in Utqiaġvik, Alaska and managed a community participatory research project with immigrant and refugee communities in Anchorage, Alaska. In both of these projects, she brought careful attention to questions around why conduct research and who owns research products, in order to create more equitable, relevant, and community-driven design and outputs into research processes. She uses her background facilitating and teaching human-centered design and qualitative research to advocate for underrepresented communities at the tables of environmental and food system governance.

    Based in New Haven, CT, Sarah can be found running around the parks with her partner, Evan and chiweenie, Ruby. She is a steering committee member of the Connecticut Food System Alliance and is excited to become more engaged with her surrounding food systems.

  • Chetana Parmar

    Program Assistant

    Read Bio

    Chetana Parmar

    [email protected]

    Chetana brings with her a life-long passion for environmental and sustainable issues and working with businesses to lessen their environmental footprint. With a splintered career from working for one of the most forward-thinking business of its time, The Body Shop Inc and its founder Anita Roddick to setting-up her own business, Chetana believes you can run a successful business which is profitable and at the same time take total responsibility and act on its environmental impact and be sustainable in the true sense of the word.

    Aside from running her business, babyhut ltd, an UK distributor of 100% organic and Fair Trade baby products, Chetana was also a freelance Environmental & Sustainability Consultant and her clients were from wide-ranging blue-chip companies, service-orientated and event planning businesses implementing and/or assessing environmental and sustainability management programmes to International Standards.

    Moving to New Hampshire nearly 5 years ago with her husband and four children, Chetana hopes to continue to make a positive impact and share her experiences. Chetana believes, as Anita Roddick said,’ If you think you're too small to have an impact, try going to bed with a mosquito.’

  • Shane Rogers

    Strategic Communication & Network Weaver

    Read Bio

    Shane Rogers

    [email protected]

    Shane joined the Grassroots Fund as the Strategic Communications and Network Weaver in April 2021. He brings with him a commitment to building equitable and inclusive environmental systems that work for people through effective narrative building and collective communications.

    Prior to joining the Grassroots Fund, Shane was steeped in the Vermont food system as the Farm to Plate communications manager at the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund. He managed the Vermont Farm to Plate Network’s local food grassroots marketing campaign as well as other work in narrative and community relationship building. He believes that communications is a key tool in upending structural systems of power. 

    Shane is also the co-director for New Leaders Council – Vermont, a progressive training institute for up-and-coming leaders, a community organizer, and a former journalist. Living in Williston, Vermont with his partner, he enjoys the outdoors during all seasons, collecting wild foods, and a good book.

  • Bart Westdijk

    Director of Operations

    Read Bio

    Bart Westdijk

    [email protected]

    Bart comes to the Grassroots Fund from the Netherlands. His interest in local solutions and grassroots initiatives comes from his world travels and thesis study focus on multinational corporations' potential to help alleviate poverty (yes, possible, especially if there is a real focus on local engagement and transfer of knowledge). The first 20 years of his life Bart spent in Zwijndrecht, a town just south of multi-cultural Rotterdam. His international travels began when he was 7. During summer holidays he and his family traveled to many different countries seeding his interest in different cultures and customs. Before coming to Vermont, Bart spent a semester in New Zealand and lived a year in China (2004-2005) working as an English and Business teacher. Seeing the conditions in which large parts of the population lived further fueled his interest in development and true local problem-solving.

    Bart lives on the shore of Lake Champlain in Burlington with his wife Sabrina, son Liam, and step-daughter Olivia. He works from the Grassroots Fund's satellite location in Burlington (VT) and shares office space with the Center for Whole Communities right on Lake Champlain. As Director of Operations, Bart focuses on a variety of tasks ranging from strategic program development to fundraising, and from Grow grant program review to Local Food-related research and network participation. His main focus has been on the participatory process, ensuring protocols and practices throughout the organization center equity.