Diversity at EDF
Environmental Defense Fund is committed to being an organization that includes all segments of society in developing durable solutions to our programmatic goals as well as the diversity of our staff, board and supporters.
We are dedicated to broadening the constituencies we serve and developing and maintaining a workforce that reflects those constituencies.
EDF’s Diversity Committee is a volunteer committee of staff that was established in 2007 to institutionalize EDF’s goal of creating a more diverse workforce to make EDF more effective and enrich the work environment. The Committee’s goal is to ensure that diversity continues to be part of the fabric of EDF.
Programs that support diversity at EDF
Tom Graff Fellowship Program
The Tom Graff Diversity Fellowship Program looks for diverse candidates who are seeking a professional experience in environmental advocacy. The Fellowship is a full-time, one-year position focused on a project that is integral to EDF’s work in Oceans, Ecosystems, Climate, Health or Corporate Partnerships. If project work continues after the year, fellows may be hired beyond their one year fellowship commitment.
The program is named after Tom Graff, the legendary and beloved founder of EDF’s West Coast office. Tom transformed environmental politics and water policies in California and inspired many over the 35 plus years he worked at EDF. Tom passed away in 2009 and to honor his memory, the Diversity Committee named this fellowship after him.
Environmental justice grants
These grants are awarded to EDF projects focused on remedying or alleviating environmental justice issues.
Recipients use them to develop lasting partnerships with outside organizations and underserved communities, which often suffer disproportionately from environmental degradation. Two to three projects are awarded grants each year. The Diversity Committee coordinates these grants and the review process for applicants.
Winners for 2014 include: Virginia Palacios and Kelsey Monk for their Rural Texas Energy Outreach & Education project in the Eagle Ford Shale and Chandler Clay for the Colorado River Pulse Flow project.
Constituency engagement award
Diversifying our partnerships and fostering a sense of inclusion are essential to EDF’s environmental goals. This annual award recognizes a successful strategic engagement with one or more constituencies that furthers EDF’s core mission. The award recognizes a project or activity, not an employee. Any employee of Environmental Defense Fund may submit a nomination.
In 2014, the award went to a broadened partnership with League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), led by Rachel Shaffer of the Health program and Lucía Oliva Hennelly of Climate-Political Affairs. The work was initiated by the Health Program though a 2013 EDF environmental justice grant. Through nearly a half-dozen projects, they shared information about the impact of environmental exposures among Latinos and are better engaging LULAC’s membership as well as the broader Latino community. Their focus on the connection between indoor and outdoor air pollution and asthma is strategic for both organizations: The subject is highly relevant to a disproportionately impacted population, strongly resonates with LULAC’s health-focused constituency, and bridges the work of both the Health and Climate programs.