Back to top

Economic Opportunity, Environmental Wellbeing, and a Just Transition: California as a Testing Ground for the Green New Deal

Friday, May 31, 2019
10:00am - 12:30pm PDT
Community Partners, 2nd Floor, Suite C
1000 N. Alameda St., Los Angeles, CA 90012
Add to Calendar

A Conversation with Statewide, National and International Funders

Introduced in February 2019, The “Green New Deal” sparked a national conversation with its goals “to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions through a fair and just transition for all communities and workers” and “create millions of good, high-wage jobs and ensure prosperity and economic security for all people of the United States.” The resolution lists a wide spectrum of actions such as repairing and upgrading infrastructure, eliminating pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, guaranteeing universal access to clean water, meeting 100 percent of U.S. power demand through clean, renewable, and zero-emission energy sources, overhauling transportation systems in the United States to remove pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from the sector, and more.

Many of these goals might sound familiar to Californians. At the local and state level, a variety of programs and policies are well underway with the goals of promoting economic opportunity, environmental wellbeing, and a just transition—in other words, a Green New Deal (check out this article that appeared recently in Time Magazine, and this LA Times article about Mayor Garcetti’s own version of a Green New Deal). Much of this work has been funded by grantmakers operating at state, national, and international levels. Considering California’s massive size—the state economy is now the fifth biggest in the world, and Los Angeles County alone has a larger population than that of 41 U.S. states—these programs and policies can serve as pilots for other funders seeking to support similar initiatives across the country.

This convening will bring together leadership from several state, national and international foundations who have funded initiatives that advance economic opportunity and environmental wellbeing, promote a just transition, and could be either replicated elsewhere in the country or scaled up under a Green New Deal. We will explore what they are learning, how they have overcome challenges, and what has had the most positive impact. You’ll also learn how they’re working in partnership across organizations and issue-areas to accomplished shared goals. After the formal program, we invite you to continue informal conversations over lunch, which will be served.

The SCG Environmental Funders Group meets a few times a year to educate prospective and current environmental funders about environmental challenges and opportunities in Southern California as well as fostering collaboration and to share successes and challenges. Please contact Katy Pelissier at [email protected] for more information or visit the group’s page on the Southern California Grantmakers’ website. Co-hosted by the Climate and Energy Funders Group, the Environmental Grantmakers Association, and the Los Angeles Funders’ Collaborative.



Elliot Ponchick
William C. Bannerman Foundation

Currently President of the William C. Bannerman Foundation. Responsible for directing the Foundation’s grantmaking activities in Education, the Environment and strategic social programs. Primary focus is on Education K-12 with special emphasis on Charter Schools and innovative after school programs. Early funder of Environmental programs that preserve and protect habitats and endangered species. Duties also include overseeing the management of the Foundation's investment portfolio and real estate holdings. M.A. and Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Southern California. Dissertation on the economic impacts of asymmetrical information. Dr. Ponchick serves on the Board of several non-profit organizations including the Los Angeles World Affairs Council, one of the nation's leading public forums for global issues. He and his wife have two grown children.


Corey Brown
Program Officer/Attorney
Resources Legacy Fund

Corey Brown serves as a strategic policy advisor and program officer on a diverse portfolio of issues, including climate change, land use, park protection, urban rivers, and river restoration. In the past, Corey served as executive director of the Big Sur Land Trust, government affairs director for The Trust for Public Land (Western Region), general counsel for the Planning and Conservation League, legal counsel for Friends of the River, and Assembly Fellow with the California State Legislature. He also served as an adjunct professor at the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law and as visiting lecturer at UC Davis. He is a graduate of the UC Davis School of Law.

Lauren Davis
Program Director, Energy
11th Hour Project

Lauren is the Director of the Energy program at The 11th Hour Project. The program focuses on supporting communities most impacted by oil and gas extraction around the United States with an ultimate goal of keeping all oil and gas in the ground and transitioning to an equitable renewable energy economy. She holds a B.A. in both Global Studies and Dramatic Arts from UC Santa Barbara and a Masters in Political Sociology from the London School of Economics.

Gregory Lopez
Program Director, Climate Program
Leonardo DiCaprio Program

Gregory directs LDF’s Climate Program grantmaking and investment portfolio, focusing on domestic and international climate change solutions. He previously worked with Seven Generation Advisors, acting as project manager for low-carbon, economic development projects. During his time at SGA, Gregory also founded a Smart & Sustainable Cities Program that assisted cities in leveraging IOT solutions to increase operational efficiencies and lower their carbon footprint. In 2016, Gregory co-authored Climate Finance: A Status Report and Action Plan, which was selected by Big Path Capital as one of the “Top 10 Smartest Reports on the Intersection of Climate Change and Finance” for the year. He currently serves on the Innovation Advisory Council for Pecan Street’s PLATFORM Initiative, which aims to expedite the adoption of clean energy innovations through a new model of development and investment. Gregory is a graduate of the University of California, Los Angeles, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Science and researched large mammal movement in the Santa Monica Mountains.

Rudi Navarra
Director of Investments
The Solutions Project

Rudi Navarra serves as Director of Investments at The Solutions Project managing grantmaking strategies to advance 100% clean energy for 100% of the people. In 2017, his rapid response grantmaking program was recognized nationally with the Impact Award from the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy (NCRP). Rudi also leads a national effort to organize philanthropy to increase investments in rural electric cooperatives and communities. Follow him on Twitter @LatinoSublime.

Alex Paxton
Program Officer
Water Foundation

Alex Paxton develops and implements programs for the Water Foundation. Prior to joining the Water Foundation, Alex worked for over a decade on local strategies for redevelopment, displacement mitigation, workforce development, and urban sustainability for a range of employers including LA Unified School District, then-LA City Councilmember Eric Garcetti, Mayors James Hahn and Antonio Villaraigosa, the LA City Community Redevelopment Agency, the LA Economic Development Corporation, and Estolano LeSar Perez Advisors. She also taught a course on Sustainable Urban Economies for the Masters Program in Urban Sustainability at Antioch University. Alex received a BA in American Studies, an MFA in Theater Management, and a law degree from Yale University, as well as an MS in Social Anthropology from University College London.


Presented by:



No cost to participate

Who May Attend:
SCG, Smart Growth California, Environmental Grantmakers Association, and Climate and Energy Funders Group members and eligible non-members

While in-person attendance is strongly encouraged, a call-in option will be available for participants unable to attend in person.

SCG members: register online
Non-members: email [email protected] to request a non-member registration code

Accommodations for People with Disabilities
If you have a disability and require accommodation in order to fully participate in this event, please contact our programs team at [email protected] or (213) 680-8866. You will be contacted by someone from our staff to discuss your specific needs.

Funding Issue Area & Geographic Regions
Geographic Location