Greenpeace Fund Board Members

Look at all we've accomplished together.

Elizabeth Gilchrist

Greenpeace Fund Board Chair

1st Term (2018-2021)

Liz is a progressive political activist who has spent her life working with cutting edge NGOs that are about creating social change.

For the first 15 years of her professional life, she worked as a civil rights and legal services lawyer in Mississippi, primarily as a federal litigator. She joined the Greenpeace fund raising staff in 1993, and in her capacity as Major Gifts Manager, spent the next seven years leading a team that helped establish the major donor and planned giving programs as vital components of the organization's overall financial health. After Greenpeace, Liz became the Gift Planning Director for the National Organization for Women (NOW), the largest grass roots feminist organization in the country with over 650,000 contributing members.

Liz is currently Senior Vice President, Membership and Administration, for Advanced Energy Economy, a national network of businesses that provide energy solutions that are affordable, clean and secure over the long term.

John Passacantando

3rd Term (2018-2021)

John Passacantando’s career has taken him from Wall Street to philanthropy to a leading role in the global fight to stop climate change.

He worked for Jude Wanniski -the “high priest” of supply side economics in the US - and is a committed practitioner of non-violent civil disobedience as taught by Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. He has a master’s degree in economics from New York University, as well as a record of a dozen arrests for engaging in peaceful protest. He has been quoted in every major newspaper, appeared on most major news programs and has been a regular commentator on environmental issues for Fox News programs.

Passacantando completed eight years as executive director of Greenpeace USA in 2008, the longest serving director in the history of the organization. Prior to Greenpeace, Passacantando founded and ran Ozone Action (1992-2000), the country's first national non- profit focusing exclusively on global warming. He also served as the executive director of the Florence and John Schumann Foundation (1989-1992), where he directed resources to the grassroots renewal of democracy.

Ellen Dorsey

2nd Term (2018 - 2021)

Ellen Dorsey is an impassioned advocate for international human rights and environmental sustainability. Under her leadership, the Fund adopted a new approach integrating grant making and investment strategies to promote its mission. Ellen came to the Fund from the Heinz Endowments, where she was the senior program officer in the Environment Program. She previously served as Executive Director of the Rachel Carson Institute and Associate Professor at Chatham University and founded the Human Rights and Environment Program of Amnesty International.

She has served on the board of numerous non-profit organizations, including the US Human Rights Network, Global Initiative on Economic and Social Rights, Shared Interest and Amnesty International USA, where she was Chair of the Board of Directors.

Her educational career includes a doctorate in political science from the University of Pittsburgh and a Fulbright Fellowship in South Africa during that country’s historic transformation from Apartheid. She has lectured and written extensively in books, journals and new media outlets on the topic of contemporary social movements and effective strategies of non-governmental organizations. Most recently, Dorsey co-authored, along with Paul J. Nelson, New Rights Advocacy: Changing Strategies of Development and Human Rights NGOs, published by Georgetown University Press.

Deepa Isac

1st Term (2018 - 2021)

Deepa Isac has been a legal advocate for activists for over a decade. Ms. Isac currently serves as General Counsel at Indivisible, a non-profit organization dedicated to cultivating and lifting up a grassroots movement of local groups to realize bold progressive policies and elect progressive leaders. Prior to this position, she served as Chief of Staff of Greenpeace USA. Before her tenure as Chief of Staff of Greenpeace USA, she served as the organization’s Deputy General Counsel. As an attorney at Greenpeace USA since 2004, Ms. Isac managed criminal law cases on behalf of environmental activists who engaged in peaceful civil disobedience to promote policy change; served as the legal liaison on numerous environmental lawsuits involving the Endangered Species Act and the National Environmental Policy Act; and managed administrative law and intellectual property cases.

Prior to her work with Greenpeace, Ms. Isac served as an Assistant Public Defender in Rochester, New York, where she defended the interests of the indigent. Before joining the public defender’s office, Ms. Isac was an Assistant Attorney General for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, where she prosecuted civil violations of consumer protection and antitrust laws against members of the telecommunication and insurance industries.

Ms. Isac currently also serves on the Board of Directors of the Rainforest Action Network, whose mission is to preserve forests, protect the climate and uphold human rights. She is Of Counsel at the public interest law firm of Handley Farah & Anderson, which fights corporate abuse and discrimination though civil & human rights, consumer protection and antitrust litigation.

Tom Newmark

2nd Term (2016 - 2019)

Tom Newmark is a co-owner of Luna Nueva farm and lodge in the rainforest of Costa Rica. Luna Nueva’s spice estate is certified organic under the U.S. National Organic Program and Demeter-certified as Biodynamic®.

Tom is a committed environmentalist. He is a founder of Semillas Sagradas, the Sacred Seeds Sanctuary, in Costa Rica dedicated to protecting endangered medicinal plants of the neotropics. This sanctuary is one of the New World’s largest and most comprehensive sanctuaries for endangered plant species. He is co-founder, president and chairman of the Sacred Seeds, a 501(c)(3) public charity creating a network of Sacred Seeds Sanctuaries in the United States and throughout the world.

Karen Topakian

1st Term (2019 - 2022)

Karen Topakian, owner of Topakian Communications, is a writer, speaker, communications consultant and activist. Karen worked for more than 40 years in the nonprofit world, including 16 years, as the executive director at the Agape Foundation-Fund for Nonviolent Social Change. She served as board chair for Greenpeace, Inc from 2010-2018.

Karen started her career at Greenpeace in San Francisco in 1987, when she joined the Nuclear Free Seas campaign. This international campaign worked to rid the world of naval nuclear weapons and to end below ground nuclear weapons testing.

Currently, she writes and edits newsletters, blogs, website content and fundraising letters as well as designs and implements communications strategies. Her clients have included The Women’s Building, the National Immigration Law Center, National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum, California Rural Legal Assistance, the Hewlett Foundation and the Evelyn and Walter S Haas, Jr. Fund.

Karen’s articles have appeared in the Grassroots Fundraising Journal and on her blog, Tour de Farce.

In 2012, she became a screener for the San Francisco Green Film Festival and in 2014 she joined the SPIN Academy Advisory Board (The Academy strengthens non-profit organizations working for social change by teaching staff members to communicate effectively to achieve results.)

For more than three decades, Karen has participated in more than 30 nonviolent direct actions against militarism and nuclear weapons and to protect the environment, in five states and the District of Columbia. In January 2017, she participated in Greenpeace’s RESIST banner protest behind the White House.

Documentary filmmaker Dan Goldes produced a short film about Karen’s experiences with nonviolent direct action, titled, “Arrested (Again).”

Karen holds a MFA in filmmaking from the San Francisco Art Institute and a BA in Sociology and Theater from Clark University.

All Greenpeace Fund, Inc. board members are independent voting members of the board.

No person may serve as a director for more than three (3) consecutive terms of office or nine (9) consecutive years. If a person's service as a director is terminated for a period of at least one (1) year, such prior service as a director shall not be considered "consecutive" service for purposes of this Section 3.5.

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