Luz Vega-Marquis, President & CEO, Marguerite Casey Foundation
Luz Vega-Marquis is president & CEO of Marguerite Casey Foundation, where she oversees the foundation’s $750 million endowment and $35 million grantmaking budget. Ms. Vega-Marquis has positioned the foundation as a leader in movement building by shaping its grantmaking strategies to support a nationwide movement of low-income families. The foundation provides long-term general-support grants to organizations engaged in activism, advocacy and issue education in the 14 states with the highest concentration of family poverty. Ms. Vega-Marquis has a BA in modern languages from the University of San Francisco and an MA in Latin American studies from Stanford University.
Gabino Vincente, Community Leader in Mexico
Gabino Vicente Francisco is an Indigenous Chinanteco leader from the community of Santa Ursula, in Oaxaca, Mexico. He has participated in the successful defense and protection of his environment and territory in the face of intrusion by a harmful foreign investment project. In 2014, Gabino was elected municipal agent of his native community Santa Ursula, an honorary position that he holds today after re-election in 2017. He has also worked as a political leader to support his community, including his 2011 appointment as district delegate for the formation of the MORENA political party. Gabino was a MORENA state delegate in 2013 and in 2015, was appointed Secretary of Art and Culture of the State Executive Committee in Oaxaca. Gabino believes in environmental protection as the main basis for the survival of everyone on this planet. His dream is to see a healthier world, with more justice and equity.
Marilyn Waite, Climate Finance Program Officer, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
Marilyn currently leads the climate and clean energy finance portfolio at the Hewlett Foundation. She has worked across four continents in renewable and nuclear energy, startups, and venture capital and investment. Author of Sustainability at Work: careers that make a difference, Marilyn serves on the Board of Directors for The Biomimicry Institute and writes the column on green economy ventures, The Innovators. Marilyn previously led the energy practice at Village Capital, modeled and forecasted energy solutions to climate change as a Senior Research Fellow at Project Drawdown, and managed innovation projects at AREVA (now Orano). She holds a Master’s Degree with distinction in Engineering for Sustainable Development from the University of Cambridge and a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering, magna cum laude, from Princeton University.
Napoleon Wallace, Investment Committee, Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation
Napoleon Wallace, is the Co-Founder of ACTIVEST, a community development and municipal finance research firm. With more than 15 years of experience in finance and community economic development, Napoleon has led and supported numerous successful impact efforts within private, public, and nonprofit sectors. Most recently, Napoleon served as the Deputy Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Commerce, where he managed North Carolina’s development finance, community development, workforce development and micropolitan economic development efforts. Earlier in his career, Napoleon served on the executive staff at Self-Help, as the turnaround CEO for two troubled CDFIs, as the Social Investment Officer at the Kresge Foundation, as an investment banker with Wells Fargo Securities and as a community banker with M&F Bancorp’s Commercial Credit group. Napoleon is a native of rural eastern North Carolina (“Down East”), the proud son of a teacher and a small-business owner. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in finance from North Carolina Central University and an MBA from the University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School.
Ed Whitfield, Co-Managing Director, Fund for Democratic Communities
Ed Whitfield was a long time social justice activist from the Black Power Movement before becoming involved in philanthropy. He now spends most of his time trying to help communities build self-reliant economies to meet their needs and elevate the quality of life. Ed is Co-Founder and Co-Managing Director of the Fund for Democratic Communities (F4DC) and serves on the board of the New Economy Coalition (NEC) while chairing the board of Southern Reparations Loan Fund, a network of Southern, place based loan funds that are part of Seed Commons: A Community Wealth Cooperative. Ed spent 9 years as Board Chairman of the Greensboro Redevelopment Commission in Greensboro NC while at the same time working in industry before becoming involved in cooperative community economic development and finance.
Tevina Willis, Red Hook WIFI Communications Associate, Red Hook Initiative
Tevina Willis is a lifelong Brooklynite, community organizer, educator, Local Leader, and resident of Red Hook Houses. Tevina participated in the first cohort of Local Leaders five years ago and today runs the English-speaking program. Shortly after graduating from the Local Leaders program, Tevina founded her own non-profit organization which trains residents in community organizing and builds capacity of local non-profits. “I really enjoyed working with my friends. I think people are more inclined to come when they see we’re the ones leading. We see them out in the community and we can hold them accountable. People have a different level of respect when it’s their neighbors up there.” Tevina is very passionate about helping her community to be able to advocate for themselves and work together and make positive change for themselves and their neighborhood.
Michael Winik, Co-Founder, OurHarvest
Michael Winik is an avid amateur fisherman and aspiring grill master. From local food trucks to high end restaurants, Michael loves scouring the globe in search of the most interesting and delicious food he can find. As a co-founder of OurHarvest, Michael is passionately determined to bring fresh, high quality food to all Americans and to work with farms to create long-term sustainable food systems. Prior to co-founding OurHarvest, Michael worked at Evercore Partners for 8 years, where in addition to advising some of the world’s largest companies, he ran the firm’s analyst recruiting and #1 ranked internship program. Michael is a graduate of The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, where he received a B.S. in Finance and Management. While at Penn, he also earned a B.A. in Political Science. He currently serves on the board of directors of IAHD, a $50M organization that provides social services for the developmentally disabled in the Bronx and Westchester.
Susan Witt, Executive Director, Schumacher Center for a New Economics
Susan Witt is the Executive Director of the Schumacher Center for a New Economics, which she founded in 1980. The Center’s mission is to envision a just and sustainable global economy; apply the concepts locally; then share the results for broad replication. The Center's highly regarded publications, library, seminars, and other educational programs have established it as a pioneering voice for a new economics shaped by social and ecological principles.
In her home region of the Berkshires Ms. Witt works to turn the Schumacher Center’s economic theory in practice. She developed and grew the Community Land Trust in the Southern Berkshires and its sister organization the Berkshire Community Land Trust to facilitate affordable access to land. She created and administered the SHARE micro-credit program and the BerkShares local currency program, which has won international media attention as an example for other regions.
Her talks and essays draw on stories from her practical experience with these model local economic programs.
Adam Wolfensohn, Co-Managing Partner, Encourage Capital
Adam Wolfensohn is Co-Managing Partner of Encourage Capital, a unique partnership of disciplined investors and creative problem-solvers, the firm is working with major asset owners to deploy investment capital to solve problems like global ecosystem decline, climate change, and bringing financial services to the world’s poor. Previously, Adam was managing director at Wolfensohn Fund Management and also managed the Wolfensohn family office cleantech and environmental markets strategies. He produced the climate change documentary Everything’s Cool that debuted at the Sundance Film Festival in 2007. From 2002 to 2003, he worked with Conservation International to create a market for carbon credits from avoided deforestation projects. Prior to 2002, Adam composed music for numerous films, television commercials, and theater productions, as founder and CEO of “Red Ramona,” an award winning music and sound design studio in New York City. He is a trustee of the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Yad Hanadiv, Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors and Bang on a Can. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Adam earned a B.A. from Princeton University and a Master of Environmental Management from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.
Elizabeth Yeampierre, Executive Director, UPROSE
Elizabeth Yeampierre is a internationally recognized Puerto Rican attorney and environmental and climate justice leader of African and Indigenous ancestry born and raised in New York City. A national leader in climate justice movement, Elizabeth is the co-chair of the Climate Justice Alliance. She is Executive Director of UPROSE, Brooklyn's oldest Latino community based organization. Her award winning vision for an inter-generational, multi-cultural and community led organization is the driving force behind UPROSE. She is a long-time advocate and trailblazer for community organizing around just, sustainable development, environmental justice and community-led climate adaptation and community resiliency in Sunset Park. Prior to assuming the Executive Director position at UPROSE, Ms. Yeampierre was the Director of Legal Education and Training at the Puerto Rican Legal Defense Fund, Director of Legal Services for the American Indian law Alliance and Dean of Puerto Rican Student Affairs at Yale University. She holds a BA from Fordham University, a law degree from Northeastern University.
Rev. Lennox Yearwood, President and CEO, Hip Hop Caucus
Rev. Lennox Yearwood Jr., President and CEO of the Hip Hop Caucus, is a minister, community activist and one of the most influential people in Hip Hop political life. He works tirelessly to encourage the Hip Hop generation to utilize its political and social voice. Rev Yearwood is a national leader in engaging young people in electoral activism. He leads the national Respect My Vote! campaign and coalition (www.respectmyvote.com). In the 2012 Elections, numerous celebrity partners have joined the campaign to reach their fan bases, including Respect My Vote! spokesperson 2 Chainz.
Rev Yearwood entered the world of Hip Hop Politics when he served as the Political and Grassroots Director of Russell Simmons’ Hip Hop Summit Action Network in 2003 and 2004. In 2004 he also was a key architect and implementer of three other voter turnout operations – P. Diddy’s Citizen Change organization which created the “Vote Or Die!” campaign; Jay Z’s “Voice Your Choice” campaign; and, “Hip Hop Voices”, a project at the AFL-CIO. It was in 2004 that he founded the Hip Hop Caucus to bring the power of the Hip Hop Community to Washington, DC. After Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Rev Yearwood established the award winning Gulf Coast Renewal Campaign where he led a coalition of national and grassroots organizations to advocate for the rights of Katrina survivors.
A national leader and pacemaker within the green movement, Rev Yearwood has been successfully bridging the gap between communities of color and environmental issue advocacy for the past four years. With a diverse set of celebrity allies, Rev Yearwood raises awareness and action in communities that are often overlooked by traditional environmental campaigns. Rev Yearwood’s innovative stance has garnered the Hip Hop Caucus support from several environmental leaders including the National Wildlife Federation, Earthjustice, and former Vice President Al Gore’s Alliance for Climate Protection.