Gifts of Leadership

January 16, 2018

As the HEFN staff revs up for 2018, we are grateful for the opportunity to work with this phenomenal grantmaking community, at a time when mobilizing resources for health, the environment, and equity matters more than ever. Starting the year’s work with a moment of gratitude is important. And not just because gratitude is good for our health!  Recognizing the talents, wisdom, and energy of HEFN’s members is a reminder of our collective strength and potential.

So here’s a hearty THANK YOU to everyone who has stepped up and pitched in to provide critical leadership through HEFN's Steering Committee for this network. 

Appreciation to Members Rotating Off the Steering Committee

We so appreciate three members of HEFN’s Steering Committee who concluded their service at the end of 2017, receiving well-deserved “HEFN Hero” jackets:

Vanessa Daniel, Founder and Executive Director of the Groundswell Fund, joined the Steering Committee in 2013 and served as its co-chair in 2017. Through committee work, writing, speaking, and mentoring, Vanessa has been a potent force helping HEFN deepen and operationalize its commitment to racial and gender equity. She continues to help strengthen connections between reproductive and environmental justice organizing and grantmaking.

Lauren Davis, Director of the Oil and Gas Program at the 11th Hour Project, joined the Steering Committee in 2014. She provided active leadership for several years for HEFN’s working group on fracking, also contributing to meeting planning and HEFN governance work. Lauren also has helped highlight connections between energy and human rights grantmaking, drawing on her work on 11th Hour Project’s Human Rights program.

David Fukuzawa, Managing Director of the Kresge Foundation’s Health and Human Services Programs, joined the Steering Committee in 2013, also contributing to the finance, meeting planning, and strategic planning committees. David has deepened environmental health philanthropy’s grounding in public health, and he continues to serve as a critical liaison between health philanthropy and the HEFN community.

We are profoundly grateful to Vanessa, Lauren, and David for all they have contributed as HEFN leaders, and we are even more grateful that each remains active in this funder community.

Gratitude for a Co-Chair Becoming Chair Emeritus

Helping provide leadership continuity, Phil Johnson has become the Steering Committee’s august Chair Emeritus for 2018. Phil, who is Director of Environment and Health at The Heinz Endowments, joined the Steering Committee in 2011. He co-chaired the Steering Committee from 2012-2017 as well as provides leadership in the working group on fracking and numerous HEFN committees. At HEFN’s 2017 meeting, we gave Pittsburgh-based Phil a Superman Man of Steel t-shirt as a small token of our large appreciation for his super and durable HEFN leadership.

Thank You to the New HEFN Steering Committee Co-Chairs

HEFN's Steering Committee is lucky to have two new co-chairs for 2018. One is Amy Panek, Program Officer for the Park Foundation’s Environment Program. Amy has been a steady, pragmatic force on the Steering Committee since 2014. She has been an active leader in the working group of funders concerned about shale gas drilling and related infrastructure issues, as well as helping guide HEFN’s emerging work on drinking water.

In her statement of interest in co-chair service, Amy shared that “In February 2016, I attended Rockwood Leadership Institute's "Art of Leadership" training, which includes creating and delivering a two-minute presentation on our personal “vision stand”: what I plan to create as a leader within a specific time frame. I chose to express a vision that works with the Health & Environmental Funders Network to double investments in the fields of environmental health and justice over the next three years.” 

HEFN’s other new co-chair is Jalonne White-Newsome, Senior Program Officer at the Kresge Foundation. Jalonne joined the Steering Committee in 2017, bringing to it and to her relatively new work as a grantmaker a wealth of NGO and public health experience as well as a Ph.D. in environmental health sciences.

In her statement of interest in co-chair service, Jalonne wrote that “being a good grantmaker – to me – means being aware, open, bold, creative, being a good listener, acknowledging and resourcing those that are ‘left out, left behind, not heard’, holding fast to ‘shake up the system’ when needed, and not leaving any place the same way I found it. My goal for my practice in philanthropy – and in life – is to do just that.”

Thank you to HEFN’s leaders, past, present, and future.  We're grateful for all you bring to this work, and we aim to help you make the most of it.


From our Blog

Blog posted on January 23, 2015
As we reflect on 2014 and look forward to the year ahead, HEFN is truly grateful for its strong leaders. In this blog post, Andrea Levinson of HEFN discusses HEFN’s leadership transitions and thanks...

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