Interim Director & Chair of the Executive Transition Committee
Interim Director & Chair of the Executive Transition Committee

Farhad Ebrahimi is the founder and trustee chair of the Chorus Foundation, which works for a just transition to a regenerative economy in the United States. The Chorus Foundation supports communities on the front lines of the old, extractive economy to build new bases of political, economic, and cultural power for systemic change.

Ed Whitfield is co-founder and co-managing director of the Fund for Democratic Communities (F4DC). A long time social justice activist, Ed had been involved in labor, community organizing and peace work since the late 60‘s when he was a student activist at Cornell University. He was the chairman of the Greensboro Redevelopment Commission for 9 years and formerly board chairman of Greensboro’s Triad Minority Development Corporation.

Aaron Tanaka is a Boston based community organizer and impact investor. As the founding executive director of the Boston Workers Alliance in 2005, he helped organize no/low-income workers of color into one of Boston’s leading grassroots economic justice organizations. After leaving the BWA, Aaron helped start the Boston Impact Initiative, an impact investment fund making value driven loans and equity investments to grow an inclusive local economy.

Deirdre Smith began organizing around water rights and coal impacts in her New Mexico community as a teenager. After building a coalition with community groups as Campaign Coordinator for New Energy Economy she helped to transition half of the San Juan Generating Station and organized for community solar initiatives: “Sol not Coal”. She now serves as National Divestment Organizer with, where she supports national events, staff and youth development through coaching, training, and mentorship.

David M. Abromowitz is a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress and a partner in the law firm Goulston & Storrs. He is nationally known for expertise in housing and economic development.

Born and raised in NYC, Leah has spent the past decade at the intersection of theory and practice, combining a study of moral philosophy and democratic theory with research around the world in grassroots organizing and social movements. She has her PhD in Religion, Ethics and Politics from Princeton University. Prior to pursuing her doctorate she lived and worked in Egypt, Syria, and Palestine, where she focused her research on the effects of international aid and development, and the history of popular protest.

Sarah Stranahan has more than 20 years of experience in mission related investing, community organizing, and social change philanthropy. As a long term Board member of the Needmor Fund, she helped design and oversee its philanthropic support of community organizing and its integrated mission related investment program. She served on the Finance Committee of the Council on Foundations from 2008-2012, where she helped design and implement an investment policy aligned with the Council’s mission.


Will Raap is founder and chairman of Gardener’s Supply, an employee-owned family of companies that has won several national and regional awards for its innovative business and socially responsible business practices. He also founded the Intervale Center, a community farming innovation center and incubator of dozens of new organic farms.

Stewart Wallis graduated in Natural Sciences from Cambridge University. His career began in marketing and sales with Rio Tinto Zinc followed by a Masters Degree in Business and Economics at London Business School. He spent seven years with the World Bank in Washington DC working on industrial and financial development in East Asia. He then worked for Robinson Packaging in Derbyshire for nine years, the last five as Managing Director, leading a successful business turnaround.

Gus Speth is a Professor of Law at the Vermont Law School in South Royalton, Vermont, and Senior Fellow with Demos, The Democracy Collaborative, and the Tellus Institute. He was Professor in the Practice of Environmental Policy at Yale where he served as Dean of the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies from 1999 to 2009. From 1993 to 1999, Speth was Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme and chair of the UN Development Group.