Jennie Curtis is the originating executive director of the Garfield Foundation. Opening its doors in 2001, initially she worked with the trustees to define areas of interest, then helped to further refine the grant making program in subsequent years. In 2003, Jennie proposed that Garfield Foundation trustees consider applying a systems framework (mapping) in at least one sector to better solve a specified entrenched problem and to build stronger collaborative partnerships in both the philanthropic and advocate communities. The selected project focuses on global warming solutions in the Midwest. This project, now called “RE-AMP,” has evolved into a robust network of 140 advocates and funders working across eight states to educate policy makers, increase public engagement and to ultimately move the Midwest to a cleaner, more sustainable energy future.
Jennie serves on the RE-AMP Steering Committee, and chairs its executive committee. In addition, she is a board member and the chairperson for the Funders Workgroup for Sustainable Production and Consumption. Jennie also sits on the advisory board for The Story of Stuff Project.
Before joining the Garfield Foundation, Jennie managed a donor advised fund at the Marion Foundation. Prior to that, Jennie spent ten years managing humanitarian refugee relief programs for International Rescue Committee in Pakistan, Thailand and Bosnia-Herzegovina. From 1985-1987 she served as a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer in Thailand.
Jennie earned a Master’s degree from the School for International Training, with a concentration in organizational development, management, and human resource development. Her Bachelor’s degree focus was political science, public administration and Asian studies from Western Michigan University. Jennie is passionate about environmental issues and keenly interested in systemic approaches to solving entrenched social and environmental dilemmas. She is an avid outdoor enthusiast and loves to camp and hike.
Jennifer Downing is the Garfield Foundation’s Program Assistant and Administration Manager, and has been working for the Foundation since it opened its doors in 2001. She also manages the New Bedford Fund, a small portfolio of grants under the umbrella of the Foundation’s Community Revitalization program specifically supporting economic development and urban revitalization projects in Greater New Bedford, Massachusetts.
Jennifer is a 2009 graduate of Leadership SouthCoast, and serves on the organization’s board and chairs it program committee. In addition, she represents the Garfield Foundation as a member of the New Bedford Area Funders Group and serves on its advisory committee.
Active in her local community, Jennifer has served on planning committees for a number of conferences and events such as the Marion Institute’s Bioneers by the Bay: Connecting for Change conference (2011 & 2005); the Ocean Explorium’s 2009 Gala; and, SouthCoast Mentoring Initiative for Learning, Education & Service’s (SMILES) 2009 on-line auction.
Jennifer’s past work experience includes, Assistant Director for Brick by Brick, a local nonprofit organization providing support services to at-risk youth; Teacher of Wareham Community Junior/Senior High School’s alternative education program focusing on character education and experiential learning; and Special Needs Teaching Assistant for Dartmouth High School. Jennifer loves practicing and teaching yoga; she is a certified instructor and in her free time teaches classes locally. She holds a BFA from Marymount Manhattan College in New York City.
Janis Bristol Alcorn, Biodiversity Conservation Program Advisor to the Garfield Foundation, is an independent consultant based in Washington, D.C. A biologist and anthropologist, she is an internationally-recognized expert with over thirty years experience in Asia, Africa and Latin America.
Her publications include five books and over one hundred articles on conservation, tropical forest management, agroecology, democratic governance, indigenous peoples, human rights, social movements, resilience, and related policies. She has worked for universities, NGOs, donors, and private funders in program management, project design and evaluation, grants management, technical assistance, and policy analysis.
Janis is an Honorary Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and listed in the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) roster of experts. She currently serves as a Fellow of the Rights and Resources Group, President of the Anthropology and Environment Section of the American Anthropological Association, and Co-Chair of the Theme on Governance, Equity and Rights (TGER) of the Commission on Environment, Economic and Social Policy (CEESP) of IUCN. Janis holds a Ph.D. in Botany from the University of Texas at Austin and is Adjunct Professor at the Natural Resources Institute of the University of Manitoba.
Richard Reed, Senior Advisor for the Garfield Foundation's Midwest Global Warming Initiative (RE-AMP), and is the principal and founder of BeeLine Associates, a consulting firm based in Lafayette, California. He spent his twenties working in organic and sustainable agriculture as a farmer and direct marketer, his thirties as a non-profit activist working as both a Development and Program Director for one of California's most successful farm advocacy groups, and his forties developing a consulting practice providing strategic services to non-profits and foundations seeking to advance sustainability in the fields of agriculture, forestry, business, and urban planning/smart growth. Rick began consulting with the Garfield Foundation in 2003.
Orson Watson is a Boston-based independent consultant specializing in economic and workforce development. In addition to work for a number of philanthropic clients, Orson currently sits on the Board of the Funders Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities. From 1999 to 2002, Orson was Vice President for Research and Strategy at Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC) where he wrote The Changing Models of Inner City Grocery Retailing. Orson’s other publications include: The Culture of Money: A Framework for Understanding the Impact of Race, Ethnicity and Color on the Implementation of Asset Building Strategies (2006); Greener Pastures for Working Families: New Opportunities for State Earned Income Tax Credits in 2005 and Integrated Packaging: Struggling to Do the Right Thing, Harvard Business School Press (2006). Prior to joining ICIC, Orson was a Fellow at the Batten Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership at the Darden School of Business Administration, and worked for the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) and Marsh and McLennan in Saudi Arabia. A native of New York City, Orson holds an AB from Vassar College, and a MA and Ph.D. in International Political Economy from the University of Virginia.