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ClimateWorks Foundation Announces Expanded Leadership

Organization names Illyasha Peete as chief of equity, justice, and culture, Michael Bosse as deputy vice president of programs, and Shelagh Whitley as senior director, sustainable finance; Appoints Board Member Franklin M. Orr, Jr. as chair and Dr. Carlos Lopes as a board member

SAN FRANCISCO – January 11, 2023 – ClimateWorks Foundation, a leading global platform for climate philanthropy, has appointed three new members to leadership positions. Veteran nonprofit leader Illyasha (Illy) Peete has been named chief of equity, justice, and culture. Joining ClimateWorks’ Programs as deputy vice president is Michael Bosse, who brings extensive experience with NGOs on climate and international work to his role, and climate finance expert Shelagh Whitley as senior director, sustainable finance.

“ClimateWorks is expanding our capacity in order to take on the climate crisis at the scale it demands, meet the needs of a fast-growing climate philanthropic community, and doing so with increased attention and resources towards just and equitable climate solutions,” said Helen Mountford, president and CEO of ClimateWorks Foundation. “We’re thrilled to welcome Illy, Michael, and Shelagh to our team. Their deep experience will help to ensure we continue to deliver on our mission, navigate a highly dynamic environment, and accelerate bold climate action for a healthy and equitable future.”

Illyasha Peete brings wide-ranging experience to her role as chief of equity, justice, and culture. She will continue to lead ambitious and proactive efforts at ClimateWorks to incorporate equity, access, and justice into the foundation’s practices, programs, and services. Peete joins ClimateWorks from California Life Sciences, where she served as executive director of the Racial and Social Equity Initiative. She also previously served as the director of diversity, training, and consulting at the Center for Nonprofit Excellence and executive director of Breathe California of the Bay Area.

Peete said, “My life’s work is to help remove barriers of entry for those who have been historically excluded. I’m excited to join ClimateWorks because climate change deepens social inequalities worldwide. I look forward to helping the organization realize its justice and equity goals and support its efforts to foster a more equitable and sustainable future.”

Michael Bosse joined ClimateWorks in November as the deputy vice president of programs, where he guides ClimateWorks’ Programs team to expand and scale its portfolio of transformative climate strategies and grantmaking. Most recently, Bosse was the national program director of the Sierra Club. He co-led a team of more than 300 in advancing grassroots climate action and supported the organization’s adoption of the Jemez Principles for Democratic Organizing. Before joining the Sierra Club, Bosse was a senior leader at Equal Access International, an international development organization he helped to establish and expand to more than seven countries in Africa and Asia.

“ClimateWorks has an essential role in the ecosystem of climate philanthropy and action, developing high-impact solutions that slash climate pollution and improve people’s lives,” said Bosse. “I’m excited to support its powerful Program team who work with our global partners to confront the climate emergency and address injustice.”

Shelagh Whitley comes to ClimateWorks with two decades of experience working on sustainable finance, carbon markets, and climate policy. As senior director, sustainable finance, Whitley will lead the organization’s collaboration with philanthropic, public, and private sector partners to explore, implement, and scale climate-related finance strategies. She previously was the chief sustainability officer at Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), where she led PRI’s teams on environmental, social, and governance issues and sustainability outcomes. Whitley also served as head of the climate and energy programme at Overseas Development Institute and worked in the private sector and within civil society on carbon market development and climate finance at organizations such as Camco and The Climate Group.

Whitley said, “A sustainable global financial system is necessary to achieve low-carbon transformations across the economy – from how we grow our food to power our lives and transport goods to how we build our cities. I look forward to expanding ClimateWorks’ efforts to support philanthropy in catalyzing financial and market changes that reward long-term, responsible investment and the environment and society as a whole.”

ClimateWorks names new board chair and board member

ClimateWorks appointed Board Member Franklin M. (“Lynn”) Orr, Jr. as its new board chair. Orr was Under Secretary for Science and Energy at the U.S. Department of Energy from December 2014 to January 2017 and has been a member of the Stanford faculty since 1985. Orr is an emeritus faculty member in the Energy Science and Engineering Department at the Doerr School of Sustainability. He has been deeply involved in interdisciplinary research to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through Stanford’s Precourt Institute for Energy and Woods Institute for the Environment.

Orr replaces former ClimateWorks Board Chair John Podesta, who stepped down in September 2022 when he was appointed Senior Advisor to the President for Clean Energy Innovation and Implementation, United States.

Orr added, “I’m honored to continue my engagement with ClimateWorks’ Board by serving as its Chair. Over the decades, there’s been considerable progress in scaling the renewable energy sector and driving down costs. That progress must now be replicated across all sectors of the global economy. ClimateWorks is a pivotal partner to philanthropy and the climate solutions community investing across a diversified portfolio of technologies and policies needed to achieve mid-century climate goals.”

ClimateWorks has added Dr. Carlos Lopes as a member of its Board. He is a professor in the Nelson Mandela School of Public Governance at the University of Cape Town, an associate professor at Sciences Po, Paris, and an associate fellow in the Africa Programme and Chatham House. Dr. Lopes has held several leadership positions across the UN system, including policy director for Secretary-General Kofi Annan and executive secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa. He was appointed African Union High Representative for Partnerships with Europe in 2018 and a member of the African Union Reform Team led by President Paul Kagame in 2017. Dr. Lopes is a member of the Global Advisory Board of the African Leadership Institute and Chair of the African Climate Foundation.

“This decisive decade is a unique window of opportunity to turn energy and food security, and efforts to tackle inequality and the climate crisis, into transformative development opportunities that foster a low-carbon, climate-resilient, and more inclusive future for the planet,” Dr. Lopes said. “I am excited to join ClimateWorks’ Board and support the organization’s global work to expand collaborative, people-centered climate solutions.”

About ClimateWorks Foundation

ClimateWorks Foundation is a global platform for philanthropy to innovate and accelerate climate solutions that scale. We deliver global programs and services that equip philanthropy with the knowledge, networks, and solutions to drive climate progress. Since 2008, ClimateWorks has granted over $1.3 billion to more than 750 grantees in over 50 countries.

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Published January 11, 2023

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Jennifer Rigney