Announcing the Collective Resiliency Fund Grantees!

It’s no secret that people of color were hit hardest by COVID — including within the sustainability industry. Research on COVID impacts on the clean energy industry found that women and people of color lost their jobs at disproportionate rates.

That’s why we launched our Collective Resiliency Fund: to support pioneers of color and the global majority who self identify as women and who are leading the sustainability movement, in this moment of crisis.

To everyone who donated to the Fund, thank you for showing up for these emerging leaders. And thank you to all our applicants — we look forward to seeing all the exciting things you’ll do in the future!

Without further ado, we’re thrilled to announce the grant recipients of the Collective Resiliency Fund (which you can still support here!):

Zainab Koli (she/her) is an Indian-American Muslim woman born and raised in Queens, NY. Her work sits at the intersection of sustainability, fashion, community building, and Islam. She is the co-founder of two Muslim community organizations, Faithfully Sustainable and NY MSA Showdown. She graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology with a bachelor’s degree in Fashion Business Management and has worked on the design and product development for various brands, including most recently, Eileen Fisher. This fall, she will begin her Masters in Environmental Policy & Sustainable Management at The New School.

Lauren Ritchie is a 19-year-old climate activist and writer from The Bahamas studying Sustainable Development and Political Science at Columbia University. She is the creator of The Eco Gal, a digital platform that educates on global climate justice and seeks to make sustainable living more accessible and inclusive by amplifying the voices of marginalized communities. She is also a writer for Brown Girl Green and the co-host of the upcoming podcast Black Girl Blueprint.

Estefany Gomez is a senior studying Civil Engineering at the City College of New York (CCNY). She is a program facilitator for the New York Hall of Science (NYSCI) and a sustainability research intern for Realty Sage. Recently, she was appointed secretary of CCNY student organization Latin American Engineering Student Association — Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (LAESA-SHPE), where she hopes to help her peers gain the necessary skills to succeed. As a daughter of Mexican-immigrants and a first-generation student, she wants to inspire and represent youth interested in pursuing a degree in STEM. She discovered her interest in the environment in high school and became more involved in sustainable education programs after working in a team to build Solar Cat, NYSCI’s first solar panel. She strives to discover additional methods to implement sustainable practices in engineering projects and her lifestyle.

Karla Brollier is of the Ahtna Athabaskan, born and raised in Alaska, where she obtained her undergraduate degree as well as an MBA. She is the founder and director of the Climate Justice Initiative, the first and only Indigenous-led organization focused on climate change in the United States. Karla is a mainstay in the climate movement in both the public and private sectors. She has spent much of her career working in policy, economic models, environmental justice and has worked with the Climate Reality Project, the United Nations and directly with several U.S. administrations, as well as many international and national organizations and leaders, including Vice President Al Gore and the World Economic Forum.

Dr. Erica Holloman-Hill, is the founder of Ayika Solutions, Inc. (ASI), a family-owned environmental consulting firm that co-creates and co-manages the sacred spaces where sound science and community engagement merge into implementable solutions that sustain community-led power. Through ASI, Dr. Hill currently manages the Climate and Equity Program at the West Atlanta Watershed Alliance (WAWA), a community organization dedicated to growing a cleaner, greener, healthier, and more sustainable West Atlanta. She was one of the youngest members on the National Environmental Justice Advisory Council, an EPA Committee, during the Obama Administration. In January 2012, Erica became the first African American woman to obtain a doctoral degree from the second oldest college in the U.S., the College of William & Mary, Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS). Dr. Hill’s area of expertise lies in the field of marine science, environmental risk assessments (human and ecological), community-based participatory research (CBPR), participatory action research (PAR), and environmental justice.

Leohana Carrera was born in Guatemala and grew up in a small town knowing who made her clothes. As an immigrant in America, she grew up living sustainably by valuing the few things her family could afford. Passionate about international sustainable development, immigration issues, and the environment, she founded Our ReStore, a brand reducing textile waste and fast fashion consumption. With sustainable clothing brands often pricing out low-to-middle class consumers and the stigma around thrift shops and flea markets, her aim is to provide a new experience for women to readopt habits previously popular among working-class communities. A reminder that sustainability is not a new endeavor practiced by the few who can afford it, but an accessible set of beliefs, values, and principles that have been practiced by indigenous and working-class communities for centuries.

Samia Lemfadli is a Brooklyn native and technologist with a deep-rooted passion for sustainable agriculture. As an alumnus of programs like General Assembly’s Web Development Immersive and Platform by Perscholas, she has leveraged her technical and business development skills to improve workforce strategies and advance technical infrastructure for organizations like MIT Civic Media Lab, The Knowledge House, Per Scholas, New York Maritime Innovation Center, Kilimanjaro Initiative USA, and Jobsfirst NYC. Samia has applied her lived experience of the workforce development system to secure more than 300 job placements for program alumni and her community network while remaining a fierce advocate for young adult economic mobility. She believes that workforce development and inclusive technology advances can be key levers for self-determination and more resilient communities. She was a 2020 Echoing Green Semi-Finalist, Head of the Steering Committee for NYMIC, Head of the Junior Board for Kilimanjaro Initiative USA and currently serves as Co-Chair for the Yes Bed-Stuy Partnership.

Adriana Pink is a student at New York University studying chemical and biomolecular engineering. She is a woman of color with a passion for sustainability; specifically in the fashion industry to help eliminate fast fashion. She’s proud to be part of this organization to help uplift women of color.

Kadiatou Balde is a 22-year-old Black Guinean-American Muslimah, with a great passion for BI&POC community-based sustainability and entrepreneurship rooted in Islam. Most recently, she co-founded Faithfully Sustainable, a social enterprise that seeks to engage BI&POC Muslims in fighting for environmental and social sustainability through education, activism, and entrepreneurship. Additionally, she is a Senior Community Associate at WeWork, where she curates inclusive creative spaces for entrepreneurs like herself and is preparing for her Masters in Social Enterprise Administration at Columbia University this fall.

Yvonne Cuaresma is a California native with an MA in Food Studies from NYU. She founded the start-up, w/purpose, which aims to encourage climate-friendly lifestyle choices, including revolutionizing our eating habits. Through w/purpose, she is currently running The Climate Journal Project, space, and practice to alleviate environmental anxiety and fears. The series of climate journal books will be launching this fall. In her free time, Yvonne enjoys cooking plant-based foods, surfing, and hanging out with her friends, family and of course, her dog Amelia.

Kristy Bell, Originally from New Orleans, LA, Kristy began her work in sustainability due to the devastating effects by Hurricane Katrina. Through volunteer work and research, she unveiled the main causes of the destruction to life, property, and coastal lands — a combination of unethical engineering decisions, global warming and systemic racism. She decided to do her part by pursuing engineering to ensure better safety for the community, especially Black and Brown communities, most frequently underserved. She received her B.S and M.S in Engineering from Northeastern University in Boston, MA. After some years working in sustainability within infrastructure rehabilitation and environmental remediation, she sought to better develop her skills by incorporating data science and machine learning in her analysis and design. She currently resides in Brooklyn, NY and enjoys biking, immersing in local art exhibits and hiking in her free time.

Samantha M. Adolphe is a native Brooklynite, born to parents who migrated from Haiti. While she loves visiting Prospect Park with her three-year-old son, Xavier, she thrives in public service with a career focused on sustainable development. These days, Samantha manages the $1.5B expansion of the Jacob Javits Convention Center with the NYS Empire State Development Corporation. As one of two Community Engagement Directors, she volunteers time to Helpful — a 501(C)3 nonprofit organization that tackles global social impact problems with open source technology solutions. Lastly, a committed student, Samantha will complete her second master’s degree program at the Tandon School of Engineering in the Spring of 2021, having already earned a master’s in public administration from the Marxe School of Public & International Affairs and further certifications from MIT & Harvard University.

Congratulations to all of our Collective Resiliency Summit grantees!

This article was written by Chief-in-Editor, Shreema Mehta

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Women of Color Collective in Sustainability

Women of Color Collective in Sustainability

WOC/CS pronounced /woke•sīs/ Women of Color Collective in Sustainability. Spotlighting opportunities for collab, connection, resource-sharing and mentorship