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 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 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 two of her three children, ages 16-21.
Program manager - events & seed grants
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.
Program manager - trend reports & grow grants
Laura joined the New England Grassroots Environment Fund as the Grow Grant and Grassroots Trends Program Manager in October 2018. In this role, Laura manages the Grow Grant Program and annual Trend Reports, that capture and share stories, strategies and gaps from the grassroots environmental sector. She also collaborates with planning committees to convene several regional Catalyst Conversations, which are interactive events that bring community members together.
Prior to joining NEGEF Laura was the Food Economy Coordinator for the City of Revere, where she worked to expand economic and workforce development opportunities within the city's food economy. This work included small food business support and expansion (specifically for minority and immigrant owned businesses), developing Revere's food truck ordinance and pilot program, co-managing the Revere Farmers' Market, and hosting community events. Her background includes various food systems work, sustainable materials management, and community engagement.
Laura holds a B.A. from Occidental College and a M.A. in Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning from Tufts University. When not working at NEGEF, Laura can be found exploring the New England outdoors and traveling around the world.
Program manager - communications & young leaders grants
Audrey spent her childhood hopping between rocks in the intertidal zone of occupied Coast Miwok and Ohlone land, and the streets of the Bay Area, canvassing for the repeal of the death penalty in California. Her commitment to caring for the earth and its people has led her to spend her adult life organizing for a Just Transition off fossil fuels and toward alternatives that center racial and economic justice, work she is excited to continue at the Grassroots Fund.
While a student in Washington, DC, Audrey was a coordinator for the Reinvest in Our Power Network, a coalition and campaign for reinvestment into community-owned development in places impacted by fossil fuel extraction and production. She followed this work to the wild and labored landscapes of the Taconic Mountains, where she spent the last two years helping to run the Watershed Center, a retreat and resource center for social movements. From grant writing to tapping maple trees, she supported a number of projects working at the intersection of food, farming, new economy and prison abolition in the Hudson Valley.
Audrey joined the Grassroots Fund as program manager in December 2018 and works out of the Burlington (VT) office. She manages the Fund's external communications and the Young Leaders participatory grantmaking program and is excited to amplify the stories of grassroots groups practicing democracy and protecting the environment. If you can't reach her at her computer, Audrey is likely out learning to love the forests and people of her new home in the Northeast. She is always ready for a conversation about austerity measures or a game of volleyball.
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.’
Director of operations
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 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.
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.
Program manager - development
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.
summer fellow - trend reports
Faizah Barlas is a current Master of Public Administration (MPA) student at NYU Wagner concentrating on governmental and nonprofit management and public policy analysis. She has worked as a civil rights community organizer, a housing rights advocate for disabled tenants, and a court advocate for youth and adults who are justice-involved. Faizah is passionate about policy analysis and research that touches on the intersection of a number of social issues, ranging from criminal justice reform to environmental justice. She joins the Grassroots Fund as an Environmental Grantmakers Association (EGA) summer fellow to support our trend reports work with grassroots groups across New England. We're grateful to the Island Foundation's support of the EGA fellows program, which has made it possible for the Grassroots Fund to host a summer fellow for the past three summers.