Staff

Julia Dundorf
Executive director
[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.


Tess Beem
Program manager - events & Seed grants
[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.   


Diana Fontaine
Program Manager - Grow grants
[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. In the summer of 2015, she helped to establish a crisis hotline for youth and young adults through Hartford organization Advocacy Unlimited, and carried this concern for her community over into her research at the Institute for Community Research for the next 4 years. At ICR, she was able to conduct research to inform the restructure of the systems which she saw herself and so many of her friends slip through the cracks, and began to build a community awareness of equity in homelessness and housing instability resources. 

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 aspires to use her training and experience to make a difference in her LGBTQ+ community by advocating for equity in housing and employment resources, as well as for accessible and affordable healthcare. 

In her free time, you can find her building these same communities in virtual reality and spending time with her partner Autumn, and two cats Gracie and Scumbag.


 

Audrey Irvine-Broque
Program manager - communications & Young Leader grants
[email protected]

Audrey joined the Grassroots Fund as Program Manager in December 2018 and works out of the Burlington (VT) office. Audrey’s favorite part of working at the Grassroots Fund is expanding and challenging the idea of what the “environmental movement” is and could be, and learning from community organizers who reach outside this box across New England. She manages the Fund's participatory grantmaking programs and communications. She previously helped run the Watershed Center, a retreat and resource center for social movements in the Taconic Mountains of New York, and organized around the Just Transition framework with the Reinvest in Our Power Network. Audrey likes winter in Vermont, dislikes the consolidation of wealth and power through philanthropic entities, and is excited to be diving into both of these challenges during her time with the Grassroots Fund. 


Chetana Parmar
Program Assistant
[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.’


Bart Westdijk
Director of operations
[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. 


Janet Wilkinson
Development manager
[email protected]

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 commitment to support place-based work at the intersection of social and environmental justice.

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.