Amrita VK Vatsal, Managing Director, Business Development, Ecotrust Forest Management
Amrita joined EFM in 2011 and is a member of EFM’s management team. In this role she shapes the company’s growth and impact investment strategies managing new product development, investor recruitment, and strategic projects. She oversees the company’s communications, investor reporting, and impact monitoring program. As a member of EFM’s investment team Amrita also contributes to property sourcing, transaction structuring, conservation finance, and carbon project development. Prior to EFM, Amrita was an Assistant Manager with Pricewaterhouse Coopers in Singapore where she spent 8 years sampling Chinese-Malay vegetarian food. She cultivated a passion for financing the growth of environmental business while working for Piper Jaffray’s clean-tech banking group and consulting for cook stove entrepreneurs in West Africa. Her love for forests began during a stint in Indonesia developing a carbon project on 200,000 hectares of pristine tropical peat forest. Amrita is a Fellow of the Erb Institute and graduated from the University of Michigan with an MBA and an MS in Natural Resources. She was named the Journal of Environmental Investing’s Graduate Scholar in 2011 and co-authored the book Evolutions in Sustainable Investing Strategies.
Tabreez Verjee, Co-Founder, Uprising
Tabreez Verjee is a three-time entrepreneur and investor who co-founded Uprising to invest in and be in service to mission driven entrepreneurs pursuing epic endeavors that matter. Some of the many real life superheroes he and his partners have backed include the teams behind Lyft, Change.org, Lending Club, Calm, Andela, ClassDojo, Long Term Stock Exchange (LTSE), AltSchool, Virta Health, Good Eggs, Landit, and Heartflow. Tabreez was a founding board member at Kiva.org where he served for 11 years and is one of the first funders behind both Kiva.org and Watsi.org.
The Uprising Crew has also helped catalyze a number of other initiatives including breakthrough treatments for Autism and Type I Diabetes, the Palo Alto Longevity Prize, and funding for several ground breaking non-profits.
Tabreez loves bonding time with friends and family, exploring self discovery and personal development, building intentional community, planning clever pranks and grand gestures, adventuring outdoors, and experiencing all that life has to offer.
Deanna Van Buren is a co-founder and design director of Designing Justice + Designing Spaces (DJDS), a public interest architecture and real estate development firm focused on addressing the root causes of mass incarceration. She is also a co-founder of BIG Oakland, a coworking space focused on supports small businesses in the architecture, engineering and construction industry. Prior to starting DJDS, Deanna spent 15 years as a design lead on domestic, institutional and higher education projects in the Bay Area, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Her design leadership in restorative justice design has attracted funding such as a Byrne Justice Innovation Grant with the Center for Court Innovation to develop a peacemaking center in Syracuse, NY. In addition to built projects, Deanna manifests her thought leadership on restorative justice architecture through published materials such as the “Restorative Justice City Map” and “Guidelines for Creating Restorative Spaces in Schools”. Her diversity of education & experience expresses her commitment to leadership in the profession and is focused on exploring the layered and complex services that architects have the capacity to provide in the agency of social change. DJDS is a winner of the ArtPlace America 2017 National Creative Creative Placemaking Fund. Kyle and his co-founder, Deanna Van Buren, are both Echoing Green Fellows - 2016 Black Male Achievement Cohort. Deanna received her BS in Architecture from the University of Virginia, a Masters of Architecture from Columbia University and was recently a Loeb Fellow at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design.
Francesca Vietor, Senior Advisor, Donor and Development Services, San Francisco Foundation
Francesca Vietor currently serves as Senior Advisor at The San Francisco Foundation. She develops grantmaking recommendations for donors and implements programs to advance racial, economic and environmental equity. Previously, Francesca served for two years as Senior Director for Expanding Access to Opportunity at the foundation, directing grantmaking and initiatives in criminal justice, workforce development, transit, education and infrastructure. Before her promotion to Senior Director in 2016, Francesca served as Program Director for Environment, Public Policy, and Civic Engagement at the Foundation for five years.
Francesca also serves as one of five commissioners on the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC), where she leads policymaking for the City and County of San Francisco’s water, wastewater, and municipal power services. Francesca has served as President of the SFPUC twice in her nine year tenure.
Before coming to The San Francisco Foundation in 2010, Francesca was executive director of the Chez Panisse Foundation, president of the Urban Forest Council, president of the Commission on the Environment, and chair of Mayor Newsom’s Environmental Transition Team. She has worked for several non-profits, including Rainforest Action Network and Greenpeace, and she serves on the boards of SPUR and Resilient by Design. Francesca holds a Bachelor of Sciences degree from Georgetown University and she pens a blog for The Huffington Post.
Naomi Williams, Director of Impact, Renaissance Downtowns,
Naomi Williams is the Director of Impact for Renaissance Downtowns, an impact real estate firm focused on participatory and holistic planning and development. Naomi joined Renaissance Downtowns through the Sustainable Real Estate Fund (SURF) to implement and manage the firm’s impact strategy, measurement, analysis and reporting. Her work focuses on how real estate can be harnessed as a platform for positive, inclusive and sustainable change in underserved communities. Prior to SURF, Naomi worked with the Civil Society Team at the World Bank, the Safer Cities Programme at the United Nations Human Settlements Program (UN-Habitat), and was an Ambassador for Impact Investment Exchange Asia (IIX). Naomi is also the founder of Building Equity, a development consulting firm specializing in the research and implementation of sustainable development platforms, impact investment strategy and social impact measurement.
Josh Zinner, CEO, Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR)
Josh Zinner is the CEO of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, a coalition of more than 300 faith- and values-based institutional investors that engage corporations on the social and environmental impacts of their operations. Josh has more than 25 years’ experience as a non-profit leader, public interest lawyer, policy advocate, and coalition-builder. Prior to coming to ICCR, Josh co-directed the New Economy Project, an organization that is at the forefront in the fight against abusive and discriminatory financial practices. Among earlier roles, Josh founded and ran the Foreclosure Prevention Project at South Brooklyn Legal Services, and helped to build and lead an influential statewide coalition of over 160 organizational members, New Yorkers for Responsible Lending, which fielded successful campaigns to achieve groundbreaking legislation and regulation to curb financial abuses. He is currently on the Consumer Advisory Board of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.