The NCG Funders for Climate Equity network is a collaboration with Smart Growth California and the League of California Community Foundations. We invite funders who are interested in or are already funding at the intersection of climate justice and resilience to join us and to share and provide input as we collectively learn and take action on critical climate justice challenges and opportunities. Discussion topics in the group will focus on intersectional issues relating to climate justice, as well as philanthropic and community-based practices and trends relevant to northern California’s 48-county region. We also welcome topical and tactical feedback from funders as we improve this group.
The impacts of climate change are being felt in communities across California. Frontline communities that often bear the brunt of climate impacts, including drought, extreme heat, polluted air, or wildfires are working to find equitable solutions that build long-lasting community resilience. Many California community foundations are supporting these efforts, working hand-in-hand with frontline organizations and communities to implement innovative and place-based climate solutions. This meeting will feature community foundation leaders throughout the Northern California region that are leading the way in supporting locally driven solutions that build climate resilience. They will discuss topics that are salient to funders seeking to explore or are already engaging in supporting frontline communities to mitigate and adapt to climate risks and impacts. In particular, speakers will discuss the following questions:
How do you gather data, measure, and track the impacts of climate change in your community?
What are the key partnerships you have forged in support of this work?
How do your climate funding priorities intersect with other funding strategies (e.g, workforce development, racial equity, housing)?
Do you prioritize funding outcomes for a specific timeframe?
How have you galvanized donors in support of your climate work?
Elliott Balch, Chief Impact Officer, Central Valley Community Foundation
A San Joaquin Valley native, Elliott is a community builder and problem solver with a passion for community and economic development. Since 2016 he has served as Chief Impact Officer at the Central Valley Community Foundation, where he supports the Foundation's programmatic growth, new investment practices, and staff talent recruitment. Prior to joining CVCF, he was the City of Fresno's Downtown Revitalization Manager from 2009 to 2014, where he played a lead role in securing funding for a high-profile reconstruction project, creating a property assessment district, drafting an adopted land use plan and development code, and working with real estate developers
Stacy Caldwell, CFRE, Chief Executive Officer, Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation
Stacy has dedicated her career to community impact. For over two decades, she has specialized in venture philanthropy, social innovation, and economic development. Alongside TTCF staff and board, she engages community members around solving pressing issues. With her national network, she brings resources and expertise to inform our strategies. Prior to joining TTCF in 2012, Stacy was President and CEO of Dallas Social Venture Partners and Co-founded National Rural Funders Collaborative.
Bryna Lipper, CEO, Humboldt Area Foundation
Bryna Lipper is passionate about helping communities, organizations, andgovernments deliver meaningful impact amidst social, political, and environmental change. She is a skilled strategist and facilitator, counseling global leaders about decision-making, complexity, and dynamic scenario planning. At the same time, Bryna is equally devoted to empowering and enabling local leaders and stakeholders to mobilize, participate, and collaborate for common good.
Bryna has held leadership roles in government, non-profit, and private sector organizations dedicated to civic, social, cultural, and environmental progress. In her role as Co-Founder and Senior Vice President for 100 Resilient Cities by the Rockefeller Foundation, Bryna led the formation of its urban resilience practice, global network, and governmental relationships. The organization was created to enable cities to adapt to 21st century challenges. During her tenure, this work reshaped the policies, governance, and politics of cities within 47 nations. Prior to that, she was the (Acting) Director of Philanthropic Research and Initiatives for the Office of International and Philanthropic Innovation (IPI) at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), where she led strategies to spur philanthropicpartnerships, promote policy innovation, increase aligned investments, and conduct comparative international research. Her experience also includes roles as Vice President for Marketing, Communications, and Government Affairs at the National Building Museum; co-founder of the Global Studio—a non-profit organization encouraging design students and building professionals to serve in vulnerable communities; and Vice President of a creative agency in California. Bryna was named to the prestigious Loeb Fellowship at Harvard University in 2018. She holds a Bachelor of Design in Architecture from the University of Sydney and a Master of Public Administration from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. She was a Funders’ Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities PLACES Fellow and awarded the Advancement for Architecture prize for her work with design students, policy-makers and the public in Australia envisioning the future of Sydney.
Bryna is a certified yoga instructor and avid hiker. She recently completed a summer of solo camping, hiking, and enjoying the beautiful nature of many of America’s national forests and parks. She is proud companion to Finn, a rescue dog from Tennessee.
Laura Seaman, Chief Executive Officer, League of California Community Foundations
Laura is CEO of the League of California Community Foundations, a statewide coalition of 32 community foundations serving over 95% of California's population. She joined the League in 2020 after serving as Associate Director of the Digital Civil Society Lab at the Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society. She is a proud Californian and is grateful for the opportunity to serve The Golden State's network of community foundations.
Rhea Suh, President & CEO, Marin Community Foundation
Rhea Suh is a senior executive with more than 25 years of philanthropic, environmental and public policy experience. Prior to joining MCF in 2021, Rhea served as the third president of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), where under her leadership, the organization grew by more than $50 million and increased its membership by more than 40 percent.
Before joining NRDC, Rhea served as the assistant secretary for policy, management, and budget at the U.S. Department of the Interior. She was nominated for the position by President Barack Obama and confirmed by the Senate in 2009. She led several cross-cutting initiatives at the department including establishing a successful diversity program for the National Park Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, leading the inter-agency Wildland Fire national coordinating body, and creating the first-ever national strategy for federal land acquisition.
Prior to her appointment to the Interior Department, Rhea worked at both the David and Lucile Packard Foundation and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, focusing on strategies dedicated to environmental conservation and clean energy in the West.