Natalie Casal, National Organizer
Natalie is a new National Organizer for REC, who started organizing back in 2011 with the immigrants' movement where she campaigned for in-state tuition for undocumented students, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, and Comprehensive Immigration Reform with organizations like Students Working for Equal Rights, the Florida Immigrant Coalition and the Florida Immigrant Youth Network. In 2013 she became the Vice President for the Kendall Chapter of the Dream Defenders and eventually got the opportunity to intern with the United Auto Workers (2013), the AFL-CIO and Unite Here (2014), where she learned about intersectional work between labor and immigration issues. Her passion for fighting against the private prison industry began when she became the Education Not Deportation Lead Coordinator in South Florida, where she organized using direct action and civic engagement to get individuals in detention centers away from the risk of deportation. In Miami, she assisted the Miami Dream Defenders chapter with creating a regional divestment strategy and when she moved to Orlando in 2014 she continued organizing with the Dream Defenders in Orlando to craft a campaign to push the University of Central Florida to divest from private prisons. Originally from Chile, Natalie enjoys reading, writing, watching soccer and learning about transnational feminist theory.
Zakaria Kronemer, National Organizer
Zakaria, another REC National Organizer, is a recent graduate of the University of Mary Washington (UMW) and has been involved with the Virginia youth climate justice movement since 2013. As Co-Founder of the Virginia Student Environmental Coalition, he worked along with other youth organizers in the state to activate students from campuses across Virginia to begin building power towards climate justice. He also co-founded DivestUMW in 2013 demanding that the university withdraw its investments from the fossil fuel industry. Through his involvement with that campaign, he helped lead the organizing effort that mobilized hundreds in multiple rallies, a statewide march, and a 21 day sit-in in the UMW's administrative building. Zakaria is a proud Egyptian-American, loves listening to hip-hop while day dreaming about the demise of the white hetero-patriarchy, and is excited to settle into his new home in NYC.
Jess Grady-Benson, Alumni Organizer
Jess joins the REC team to support young alumni organizing for divestment and reinvestment campaigns. Currently based in Philly, Jess organizes to develop strategic avenues for alumni participation in campaigns that maximize the unique skills and leverage of young alums. A recent graduate of Pitzer College, Jess co-founded the Claremont Colleges Fossil Fuel Divestment Campaign, which achieved victory at Pitzer in April, 2014. Believing deeply in the power of divestment to shift the discourse on climate change, challenge perceptions of risk and return, and mobilize youth power for climate justice, she is inspired to continue supporting the movement for divestment and reinvestment. In addition to her work with REC, Jess is a member of the Coordinating Committee of the Divestment Student Network. She also coordinates the DSN's Alumni Divestment Network, which seeks to build political community among recent alums organizing for divestment and climate justice. Jess is passionate about building a just transition to a new economy by bridging movements for climate, racial, and economic justice.
Outside of organizing work, Jess loves to play music, go on adventures, and ride her bike. You can follow her on twitter @jessgradybenson and contact her at email@example.com.
Nina Macapinlac, Coordinator of Alumni & Community Outreach
Nina is the Coordinator of Alumni Organizing for the Responsible Endowments Coalition. She works and builds with alumni from around the country, getting them involved with divestment efforts at their alma maters and in the larger movement for responsible endowments. Born in the Philippines, she is a Rutgers University graduate and longtime New Jersey resident who has fought alongside many others for immigrant and labor rights. She is currently the Vice Chairperson for Anakbayan-NJ, a progressive Filipino youth and student organization that serves working-class Filipino communities across the state. With Anakbayan and the rest of the New Jersey Tuition Equity for Dreamers Coalition, Nina was involved in the youth-led campaign that passed the New Jersey DREAM Act in December 2013. Nina continues to support efforts to organize immigrant youth and migrant workers in New Jersey. She hopes to link and raise the connections between endowment justice and community-led grassroots movements for economic, political, and social justice.
Hanalei Ramos , Director of Communications and Development
Hanalei comes to the Responsible Endowments Coalition as its new Director of Communications and Development with over a decade of experience in digital media and community organizing. She recently helped produce media for groups and campaigns like #FightFor15, the Better Banks Committee, and The HedgeClippers. As an organizer, Hanalei co-founded GABRIELA New York in 2007, which guided her grassroots immigrant and labor rights organizing experiences with workers in the New York/New Jersey area. She is also the former Northeast Regional Coordinator for BAYAN USA and Steering Committee member of the May 1st Coalition for Immigrant Rights. When she is not at REC, Hanalei is an organizer with the Filipino Immigrant and Workers Organizing Project in her hometown of Jersey City, NJ. As leisure time presents itself, Hanalei uses it to enjoy Netflix, writing, and being a multi-media performer. Her past artist residencies include opportunities with Project Rowhouses, The Laundromat Project, and the Asian Women's Giving Circle. You can follow her @REC_Hanalei
Lauren Ressler, Campaigns Director
Lauren Ressler has been fighting to address social and economic injustice for nearly a decade. Currently she supports the national Private Prison Divestment Campaign and Fossil Free Divestment Campaign in her role as Campaigns Director for the Responsible Endowments Coalition. Prior to her time at REC, she worked to address the student debt crisis and make higher education accessible to all. In 2011, she was involved in resisting the development of coal export terminals in her home state of Washington. Lauren spends a lot of her time thinking about ways to build community ownership and creating tools to better help people talk about the economy.
In her free time, Lauren likes to write science fiction and speculate about what a truly free society would look like.
Contact Lauren at firstname.lastname@example.org or find her on Twitter at @laurenressler.
Marcie Smith, Executive Director
Marcie Smith is the Executive Director of the Responsible Endowments Coalition where she works with university students, alumni, administrators, and trustees to align endowment investments with the long-term, democratic mission of higher education. She has been organizing youth and students around climate justice, democratic economic development, and girls' and women's rights since 2006. During college, she started her campus’s first environmental organization, co-founded the Kentucky Student Environmental Coalition (KSEC), and served on the Student Environmental Action Coalition’s national council. As a former co-chair of Youth for Sustainable Development (SustainUS) and an early organizer with YouNGO, she was deeply involved in international youth organizing around and within the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference of the Parties 14, 15, and 16. She has also worked with Grand Aspirations, Energy Action Coalition, the Sustainable Economies Law Center, Carolina Common Enterprise, and the UNC Center on Poverty, Work, and Opportunity, and is the founder of the girls' empowerment organization Full Circles Foundation. She is originally from Kentucky, received her B.A. from Transylvania University, and J.D. from the University of North Carolina School of Law.
Ian Trupin, Organizer
Ian works with student groups around the country who are demanding that their schools divest from private prisons and fossil fuels. As a student, Ian worked on a successful campaign that led Brown University to divest from HEI Hotels and Resorts, a hotel chain notorious for its labor rights abuses, as well as numerous campus and international solidarity campaigns with Brown Student Labor Alliance. This involvement led to an interest in endowment justice which he pursued as a student representative on Brown’s advisory committee on investor responsibility. A proud Tanzanian-American, Ian seeks to bridge corporate campaigns against the prison industrial complex and other exploitative, extractive industries, with social movements and alternative economic models, including the inspiring philosophy of ujamaa. Ian enjoys traveling, learning about history, cooking, and southern African music.
Board of Directors
Patricia Estevez works at Change to Win, a labor federation, on corporate governance, shareholder and labor issues since November 2008. Prior to this, she worked on Wall Street as a financial analyst. Patricia has been active with NYC area organizations that empower young people from low income communities to find their paths to success. She grew up in Queens, New York.
Kristen Cox works in development and marketing for Self-Help Credit Union, the county's largest community development credit union, after 14 years as a cultural organizer, resource developer, non-profit program mana ger, and community builder working in Chicago. Finding the field of social justice finance has satisfied her quest to unite the personal and political. Kristen was an early fossil-fuel divestor and discoverer of socially responsible investing when she decided to sell her appreciated Exxon, Chevron and Ashland Oil holdings in her twenties. She used the proceeds to reinvest in a portfolio of renewable energy, healthy food, and clean water and founded the Fire This Time Fund (FTTF), a giving circle together with 11 others that between 2006 – 2010 awarded grants to small-scale creative social change projects in the Chicagoland area. Excited by peer-to-peer lending and the power of community investing, Kristen was an early investor in Spaulding Court, a 1918 series stone row houses that was condemned by the city of Detroit and bought and rehabbed by residents of Corktown in 2010. She has worked for a broad range of organizations in the arts, philanthropy, and community-based organizations. She was a contributing writer and advisor to AREA Chicago, a board member of Young Chicago Authors which produced the 2011 documentary Louder Than A Bomb, and is a graduate of the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago with a master’s degree in community development. She is an alumna of Resource Generation, part family-farm owner in Central Kentucky , and loves the water.
Beth Herz is Associate Program Officer at the Surdna Foundation, a New York-based family foundation that supports sustainable and just communities in the U.S. In this role, Beth works with Surdna’s program staff and board to ensure collaboration and impact across the foundation’s three areas of work – sustainable environments, strong local economies, and thriving cultures. Beth joined Surdna as a member of the Sustainable Environments team, where she contributed to grantmaking and strategy development in climate change, transportation systems, and the green economy. She previously worked in community organizing and advocacy, including at WE ACT for Environmental Justice in Manhattan.Beth received a B.A. from Wesleyan University and an M.S. in Natural Resources and Environment from the University of Michigan. In addition to the Responsible Endowments Coalition board, Beth sits on the Board of Advisors of Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy.
Varshini Prakash is a student at the University of Massachusetts Amherst where she is pursuing a dual-degree in Environmental Science and Political Science. She has played an active role in the UMass Fossil Fuel Divestment Campaign since its inception. A Massachusetts native and life-long resident, Varshini recognizes the importance of connecting on-campus organizing efforts to local off-campus ones. She has worked on a variety of climate-related campaigns in Massachusetts with groups like 350.org and Better Future Project.
Mary Schellentrager works at Energy Action Coalition as Divestment Campaign Coordinator, supporting students campaigning for fossil fuel divestment and sustainable reinvestment nationwide. She began working with REC in 2007 when she advocated to establish a committee on responsible investment and sustained investment in the DC community while studying at American University. She served on REC’s Student Steering Committee and as Mid-Atlantic Student Organizer from 2009-2011. While at AU, she co-coordinated the Community Action and Social Justice coalition, helped win union recognition for the university’s shuttle bus operators, and organized for affordable housing and reproductive rights in DC. She loves working in close partnership with REC at the intersection of environmental and economic justice and is honored to have contributed to the strategic growth of the organization since she joined the Board in 2010. In her free time she adores taking road trips, camping, seeing live music, and spending time with family.
Jérôme Tagger serves as Director of Membership and Operations at the Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN). In this role, Jérôme oversees the strategy, member services, recruitment, and programming for both the Investors’ Council and Network Membership initiatives, as well as certain GIIN operations.
Jérôme has an extensive background in non-profit management with global organizations in the fields of sustainable and responsible finance. He served as the Chief Operating Officer of the UN-backed Principles for Responsible Investment, where he worked for five years. Prior to that, he was Head of Research at Eurosif, the European Social Investment Forum. Jérôme is a graduate of Essec Business School in France.
Molly Thomas-Jensen is an attorney with Change to Win Labor Federation. Prior to working for CtW, she worked at South Brooklyn Legal Services, where her work focused on employment discrimination against individuals with criminal records. Molly is an active member of the New York State Bar Association's Labor & Employment Law Section Executive Committee and the New York City Bar Association's Committee on Legal Issues Affecting People with Disabilities. She is a graduate of Harvard Law School and Brown University. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.
Joshua Humphreys, is the President of the Croatan Institute.
Anuradha Mittal is the founder and executive director of the Oakland Institute.
Robert A. G. Monks, Founder ISS, Lens Investors, Hermes Lens, GMI.
Stephen Mulkey is the President of Unity College in Maine.