Building out the team to drive federal policy action

WE ACT’s mission is to build healthy communities by ensuring that people of color and/or low income residents participate meaningfully in the creation of sound and fair environmental health and protection policies and practices.

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I was engaged to help this organization in the environmental justice movement build out their federal policy office in Washington, DC. They received considerable investment from climate philanthropy and crafted an ambitious new strategic plan that would elevate WE ACT’s policy advocacy at the federal level and in states across the country. They were also playing a significant role in designing the Justice40 framework that would guide the investments of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and the Inflation Reduction Act to ensure those dollars reached communities most impacted by the climate crisis. 

WE ACT had a DC office for many years, but its size had contracted due to funding. With increased investment, WE ACT was ready to scale up under the leadership of co-founder and Executive Director Peggy Shepard and Sr. Director of Strategy and Federal Policy Dana Johnson. Together we recruited nine phenomenal leaders in DC and New York to help take WE ACT to its next levels of influence and impact.

Why I love this team: The historic climate legislation coming out of New York City, New York State and Washington, DC over the past 40 years has WE ACT’s fingerprints on them. They were founded in Harlem and continue to develop community-driven environmental health campaigns and advocacy efforts addressing clean energy and transportation, building decarbonization, safer personal care products and so much more. They thread impossible needles every day, centering the expertise and priorities of communities most impacted by the climate crisis while moving policies at the city, state and federal levels. They are national leaders within a movement full of diverse perspectives and nuance. And they do this with love.

"The 2020 presidential transition and the increasing focus on racial justice created a pivotal moment for environmental justice. At WE ACT for Environmental Justice, we recognized the importance of seizing the moment and launched a growth plan to make an unprecedented impact on a national scale. Thanks to the support of Catherine Schreiber, we were able to do just that. Catherine’s deep rolodex and understanding of the environmental justice movement and cultural moment were invaluable to attracting the right people. What stands out most to me are her contributions to establishing pay equity within our organization, her influence on our search and onboarding processes, and her insight on how to structure our Federal Policy Office staff for maximum impact. Thanks to Catherine's help, our DC team is dynamic and able to advance national policies, practices, and regulations in the interest of our New York constituency and the greater environmental justice movement. We're grateful for Catherine's partnership and the values-aligned talent she's helped us attract to WE ACT."