Julia has been Executive Director of the Grassroots Fund since October 2014. She has nearly two 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 NEGEF 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 climate change and energy advocacy to her experiences of growing up on an off-grid farm in northern NH. She lives in Southeast New Hampshire with her husband and three children, ages 12-17.
Ashley Bell is a Fellow with the Environmental Fellows Program and has been placed with the Grassroots Fund to complete a 12 week fellowship. Ashley is a PhD Student at Tulane University and is pursuing her degree in Global Environmental Health Sciences. Originally from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Ashley completed both her Bachelor and Master degrees at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University in Animal Science and Agricultural Sciences, respectively.
The original life plan was to be a veterinarian, however after completing a study abroad program in South Africa, Ashley realized that her degree could be better used working towards improving public health via environmental health. It was at this time she discovered the concept of One Health and it really resonated with her because of the interdependency of animal, human and environmental health, that it champions. Her passion within environmental health is environmental justice. The merging of social and environmental issues is right up her alley because she wholeheartedly believes that quality of health should not be geographically or status dependent. And as such she is excited to be helping in assisting in the creation of Trend Report that hopes to illustrate the current challenges, barriers and opportunities in the land and water realm in the New England area. Ashley is excited to be working with the Grassroots Fund because she appreciates they are passionate, as an organization and as individuals, about addressing root causes at the local level. She appreciates how focused and insistent they are on having the community’s voice be the driver of change.
In her spare time Ashley likes to listen to music (Justin Timberlake), read a book (that’s not school related), play with Mylo (her mini dachshund), binge on Netflix shows or sleep. Although, since being in New Hampshire, she has developed a greater appreciation for the beauty of the outdoors.
Leigh has returned home to New England after spending two years as a Peace Corps volunteer in Senegal. During her service, she organized community members around a variety of environmental and social issues including local food production, waste management, conservation, health, and women’s leadership. Some of her favorite projects include spearheading a local organic growers association, directing a Girls Leadership Camp, and designing and building her town’s first cob composting toilet.
Prior to serving in the Peace Corps, Leigh supported appropriately-sited renewable energy projects in Massachusetts with the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center. During her free time she assisted with a variety of environmental education programs throughout the Greater Boston Area.
Leigh is a systems-thinker who seeks holistic solutions to environmental and social challenges. She developed her passion for sustainable living while studying in an eco-village and volunteering with an off-the-grid reforestation project in southern India. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in History with a minor in Environmental Studies from Boston College and a Permaculture Design Certificate through Food, Water, Shelter in Tanzania. When not at NEGEF, you can find her practicing yoga, gardening, or enjoying the beautiful New England outdoors.
Nakia Navarro hails from Hilton Head Island, South Carolina and currently resides in Boston, Massachusetts with her two children, Kayla and Mateo. Since moving to New England, she has discovered that snow isn't all that bad!
Her nonprofit experience spans well over fifteen years. Nakia most recently was the New England Regional Director at Let’s Get Ready which provides low-income high school students with support services to both enter and complete college. Prior to that, Nakia was the Director of Development at Elizabeth Seton Academy in Dorchester, Massaschusetts. She has experience in food inequality as she was the Assistant Director of Community Food Rescue in Charlotte, North Carolina. While there, she empowered smaller nonprofit organizations with the ability to provide their clients with 2 million pounds of "rescued" food each year. In addition, she was a Major Gift Manager at the American Red Cross Regional Chapter in Charlotte, North Carolina during the organization's response to Hurricane Katrina. After working with the American Red Cross, Nakia became an entrepreneur by starting a business development and consulting firm, IsReal Imagination.
Nakia received her Bachelor’s degree in Public Administration with a minor in Spanish from Winthrop University in Rock Hill, South Carolina, a Certificate in Global Communications from the University of Salamanca in Salamanca, Spain, and she is currently pursuing her Master of Arts in Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning at Tufts University.
Nakia volunteers her time by speaking to youth about her career and how to become a community organizer. She also volunteers as a board member on both the WBGH Community Advisory Board and the Rise Above Foundation Board. In her free time she can be found hunched over her laptop with a large coffee writing. Nakia's writing portfolio includes her destination wedding magazine, Sea Settings, and an anthology, The Messiness of Life: A Collection of Flash Fiction.
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.’
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, step-daughter Olivia and Emma the dog. 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 Program Director, 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.
Bart has served as president on the board of the VT Community Garden Network from 2007 to 2012. He is currently involved with a start-up collaborative brew pub and is engaging in conversations to launch permablitzes with a particular focus on class, privilege and equity around Chittenden County.
Janet brings over 15 years of experience in nonprofit organizational development to her role as Grassroots Fund’s Development Manager. She has served in both staff and consulting roles at dozens of nonprofit organizations around the country, providing support for strategic planning processes, designing and leading workshops, and working in all areas of development and fundraising, from event management to donor cultivation programs to grant management. She also has marketing and communications experience in both the for-profit and nonprofit sectors. Janet is especially drawn to the Grassroots Fund’s work at the intersection of social and environmental justice and its focus on community activism.
Based in Madison, New Hampshire, Janet currently serves as Chair of the Board of Kismet Rock Foundation and has helped found several community initiatives including a collaborative of local food producers and eaters, a farmers market, a giving garden, and a food waste composting service. During free time you'll find her out climbing and adventuring in the White Mountains or puttering in the gardens, fields and forest surrounding home with her husband, daughter and dog.