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.
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.’
During her time at UNH, Ally spent a semester living in Kaiaua, New Zealand with the EcoQuest Education Foundation. While abroad, she became enthusiastic about sustainable living and the complex relationship between humans and the environment. She hopes to use her academic experiences as well as her unique perspective from New Zealand to influence societal changes towards sustainable development.
In June 2014, Ally was awarded the Brian E. Doyle Fellowship from New Hampshire Sea Grant. During her fellowship, she produced a report for the New Hampshire Coastal Adaptation Workgroup (NHCAW) and other professional climate adaptation assistance providers. “Sustaining Champions of Climate Adaptation in Coastal Communities: A Northern New England Study” delivered recommendations on how to best support individuals who promote the implementation of climate adaptation projects and policies. Ally’s involvement with NH Sea Grant sparked her passion for local-level environmental work.
Ally considers the summers her family spent hiking and camping in Maine to be the foundation of her love for the environment. She recieved her Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Conservation Studies with a concentration in International Environmental and Natural Resource Policy from the University of New Hampshire. Ally currently lives in Durham, New Hampshire.
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 in a co-housing project 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 and serves on the Administration Committee for Burlington CoHousing. 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.