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SCG Environmental Funders Group: How to Be an Anti-Racist Environmental Movement

Friday, August 21, 2020
10:30am - 12:00pm PDT
Members: $0.00
Non-Members: $100.00
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As the Black Lives Matter movement has made clear, white supremacy and systemic racism are root causes of injustice, violence, and inequality, and these forces contribute to environmental injustice, degradation, and destruction. For generations, the mainstream environmental movement has willfully ignored issues of race and power, with many environmental organizations still led by white men, with boards and staff that don’t reflect the diversity of the country or the communities they work in. While the environmental justice movement has successfully put frontline communities of color into the environmental movement, the mainstream environmental movement has not yet made anti-racism an essential part of the environmental agenda.

What will it take for the environmental movement to lead with anti-racism? Who are leading voices making this case and what can environmental funders learn from them? At this turning point in our history, philanthropy has an opportunity to support a fundamental change in the environmental movement, advocacy, and policy.

Join us for a conversation with dynamic leaders who are taking on issues of race, racism, and anti-racism within the environmental movement. Speakers will explore the history of racism in the environmental movement, and share perspectives on how to approach antiracism in a variety of organizational contexts and at a variety of scales, from local to national.

This session builds upon the last several Environmental Funders convenings (Environmental Leadership, Just Transition and Power Building, Leadership and Civic Engagement).



Gisele Fong

Program Manager, Long Beach — The California Endowment

Gisele Fong is the Long Beach Program Manager for The California Endowment’s Building Healthy Communities (BHC) initiative. Within philanthropy and within community based organizations and coalitions, Gisele has worked for over a decade on health impacts from air and goods movement pollution, environmental justice, clean technologies, and supporting capacity building of communities to bring their vast wisdom of needs and solutions to decision making tables.

Gisele has served on numerous boards and commissions including the California Air Resources Board’s Environmental Justice Advisory Committee, Harbor Community Benefit Foundation, a community based performance arts organization, and a social justice oriented bilingual charter school.

Gisele earned her MA in Asian American Studies and PhD in History from UCLA, and is a resident of Long Beach.


Anthony Karefa Rogers-Wright

Green New Deal Policy Lead, Climate Justice Alliance

Anthony Karefa Rogers-Wright serves as the Policy Coordinator and Green New Deal lead for Climate Justice Alliance and its members. With 15 years of professional experience, he’s used his organizing, policy and outreach experience to advocate for a variety of social justice campaigns including environmental justice, affordable health care access, income inequality and civil rights for LGBTQIA persons. In 2012, Anthony led the effort to make Colorado Health Insurance Cooperative the first health insurance provider in the State’s history to remove transgender health exclusions from all of their policies. He continues to write numerous articles for various publications discussing the axiomatic nexus between the climate crisis and racial justice and has spoken of this issue at universities and gatherings throughout the United States and Europe. Anthony earned his undergraduate degrees in Environmental Science and Policy and Jazz Composition as well as his Graduate Degree in Community Development, Environmental Science and Public Policy from Clark University, and is blessed to be the father of his energetic, entertaining and VERY loquacious four-year old son, Zahir Cielo (aka “Bean”).

Dr. Mijin Cha

Assistant Professor, Urban and Environmental Policy — Occidental College

J. Mijin Cha is an Assistant Professor at Occidental College, Urban and Environmental Policy Department. Her research interests lie at the intersection of inequality and climate change with particular focus on just transition- equitably transitioning fossil fuel workers and communities into a low-carbon future- and bridging the labor movement and environmental movement. Prior to coming to Occidental College, Dr. Cha spent over a decade working with think tanks and policy advocacy organizations on local, state, and national policy campaigns. As a Fellow with the Worker Institute at Cornell University, she co-led the Labor Leading on Climate initiative, a 1.5 year process that engaged labor unions in the climate crisis to create a proactive climate policy agenda. The resulting report led to the creation of Climate Jobs NY, an advocacy organization working to implement the policy recommendations. As a result of this work, Governor Cuomo announced the Clean Climate Career Initiative, a $1.5 billion investment to create 40,000 climate jobs and substantially reduce the state's greenhouse gas emissions. 

Dr. Cha is a graduate of Cornell University, holds a J.D. from the Univ. of California, Hastings College of the Law, and LLM and PhD degrees from the Univ. of London, SOAS. She is on the board of the Center on Race, Poverty, and the Environment and is a member of the California Bar Association, a Fellow at Cornell University’s Worker Institute, and a Senior Fellow at Data for Progress.

Ramya Sivasubramanian

Deputy Director and Senior Attorney, Environmental Justice, Healthy People & Thriving Communities Program, NRDC

Ramya Sivasubramanian works with communities of color and low-income communities to advocate and litigate for environmental justice. She has expertise using environmental and civil rights laws to ensure that these communities are not disproportionately burdened by environmental harms, such as freight-related air pollution or hazardous waste. She also works to ensure that these groups get their fair share of environmental benefits, such as parks or transit. Sivasubramanian joined NRDC in 2014 after serving as assistant director and counsel for the City Project, a Los Angeles–based environmental justice organization that promotes equal access to parks and open space. She has also worked for the National Wildlife Federation as well as in private practice. Sivasubramanian received both her undergraduate and law degrees from Georgetown University. She is based in Santa Monica.

Taylor Thomas

Research & Policy Analyst, East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice

Taylor (she/they) calls Long Beach home, where she was born and raised and continues to deepen her roots. Having had an incredibly gracious grandmother as an example, and raised in an under-resourced community, she has been involved in various community-based efforts since the age of 15. She has supported organizing for quality and affordable education, as well as worked with folks experiencing homelessness. With the guidance and support of Great Leap and EndOil, Taylor, along with four other community members, co-wrote and performed a theater play called ‘The Air We Breathe’ in 2013, which chronicled what it’s like living in Long Beach and dealing with air pollution. She began her journey with EYCEJ as a member shortly thereafter, eventually becoming an intern before transitioning into a staff role. Taylor aims to combine art, sustainability, compassion, and social justice into a movement of love. She earned her B.A. in Human Development from CSULB. She is a vegan that likes all things in pastry form from her favorite local coffee shop, and loves following cute pets on Instagram.

The SCG Environmental Funders Group meets quarterly 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.

This program is part of SCG's 2020 recurring programs. To register for all upcoming dates, please click the "Register for Recurring Dates" button. This feature is only open to members, please contact us if you are a non-member and wish to register for the series at [email protected] or (213) 680-8866.


Presented in partnership with 






Past Meeting Date:

  • Friday, May 15, 2020, 10:30am - 12:30 pm


Recurring Dates:

  • Friday, August 21, 2020, 10:30am - 12:30 pm
  • Friday, November 20, 2020, 10:30am - 12:30 pm


Additional 2020 Environmental Funders Group Programs will be held on the following Fridays from 10:30am-12:30pm, with lunch provided. Location information TBD.

Members of SCG, Smart Growth CA, BFG, and EGA: $0
Non-Members: $100

Who May Attend
Current SCG, Smart Growth CA, BFG, and EGA members and eligible non-members.

SCG members: Register online (you must log in to your SCG account to register).
Smart Growth CA, BFG, and EGA members: email Jacqueline Carillo at [email protected]
Non-members: Register online. If you do not have an SCG account Jacqueline Carillo at [email protected]
If you have additional questions regarding these sessions, please contact us at [email protected]

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