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The Russell Family Foundation Welcomes New Board and Grant Committee Members

Open Call Approach Used to Increase Transparency & Diversify Pool of Candidates

April 16, 2024 (Gig Harbor, Wash.) – The Russell Family Foundation (TRFF) today announced new members joining its Board of Directors and Grant Committee. The Board of Directors expands with Evlyn Andrade, executive director of EarthCorps, and Rashad Morris, principal and founder of Impact Donor Strategies. The Foundation’s Grant Committee welcomes Arianna Muirow, program director and senior researcher at Criterion Institute, and Brandon Parsons, director at American Rivers.

The new members support TRFF’s mission-focused, community-driven work addressing the climate crisis while prioritizing equity, justice, and belonging. As board members, Andrade and Morris will work alongside Foundation leadership and staff on strategic planning to fulfill TRFF’s grantmaking focus, investment goals and strategies, and overall direction.

“We are ready to welcome Evlyn and Rashad to the TRFF family and know their unique strengths and life experiences will energize our mission,” said Sarah Cavanaugh, TRFF Board President. “As TRFF integrates equity and access with climate action, the addition of their voices will be an enormous gift.”

Andrade is a passionate advocate for racial equity and the pursuit of social, economic, and environmental justice. As executive director at EarthCorps, Andrade supports delivering on the organization’s vision, strategic planning and efforts to focus on racial equity and environmental justice. Prior to EarthCorps, she served as policy advisor on land use, environment, and environmental justice to a San Diego County Board Supervisor.

“I’m honored to bring my lived experience, expertise, and passion for environmental justice and racial equity to the TRFF Board of Directors,” said Andrade. “This is an exciting opportunity to harness this powerful platform to address the urgent environmental challenges of our time and work towards a more just and equitable society for all.”

Morris has 20-plus years of experience in politics, policy development, advocacy, and nonprofit governance. Through his consulting firm, he provides support to philanthropic foundations, individual major donors, nonprofits, and government agencies on organizational effectiveness, program design, and strategy. Most recently, he served as director of strategic partnerships at Earth Alliance, a short-term philanthropic project led by Laurene Powell Jobs and Leonardo DiCaprio.

“It’s an honor to join the Board of Directors at The Russell Family Foundation, an organization that has modeled humble yet catalytic philanthropy for decades,” said Morris. “I look forward to supporting the Foundation as it continues to uplift local leaders and resource community-driven solutions across the Puget Sound region.”

Muirow and Parsons will advise on grants awarded under the Foundation’s Environmental Education and Food for Climate Solutions portfolios, ensuring grantees reflect TRFF’s values, priorities, and goals for each program. Environmental Education has been a longstanding focus since TRFF’s inception, supporting organizations that offer outdoor environmental education experiences for youth; Food for Climate Solutions launched in 2023 and aims to foster a thriving local and regional food system and more equitable access to local, healthy, and sustainably grown food.

“As the Foundation remains focused on repairing our Earth, we are excited to welcome two professionals who have worked at the intersection of climate issues and sustainable reparative change,” said Chris Rurik, TRFF Board of Directors Vice President, and Grant Committee Chair. “Arianna and Brandon have direct experience on the issues we support, and I look forward to the positive impact they will have on our grantmaking process.”

Muirow is a systems change leader and financial activist passionate about fair economies, food systems and climate justice. At Criterion, Muirow leads research and publications efforts around topics like addressing unequal power dynamics in finance, increasing community participation and governance in investment processes, and mapping innovative finance ecosystems.

“Our current food system is simultaneously one of the major contributors to carbon emissions impacting climate change and is also extremely vulnerable to our changing climate. The Russell Family Foundation’s Food for Climate Solutions program is exactly the type of focus needed to grow equitable, healthy, and sustainable local food systems. Engaging youth in outdoor environmental education is an integrally connected avenue to grow leaders in environmental stewardship,” said Muirow. “It is an honor to join the Grant Committee and be part of the Foundation’s inclusive decision-making process to support food system change in our community.”

A former TRFF grantee, Parsons is a registered landscape architect with 10-plus years of experience working with local communities to develop projects that restore habitats, increase resilience, and foster conservation. At American Rivers, he works closely with industry leaders, NGOs, Federal and State agencies, policymakers, and private foundations to protect and promote the health of rivers in the United States.

“As a former grantee, I have experienced firsthand the impact that TRFF investments can play in helping local organizations be courageous and develop innovative projects and partnerships that create momentum for larger systems change,” said Parsons. “I am humbled to join the Environmental Education and Food for Climate Solutions grant committee to help support the next generation of environmental stewards in the Northwest.”

The Foundation used an open call approach to filling the positions to encourage a diverse pool of applicants and increase transparency throughout the process. It used a similar approach in 2022 when filling spots on its Investment Audit Committee and shared key insights on this uncommon approach in philanthropy. During both recruitment phases, candidates expressed appreciation for removing barriers to get into family philanthropy and how unique it was for TRFF to implement such a transparent and inclusive process. The new board and committee members will serve three-year terms before possible renewal.

“I am thrilled to welcome these new members who are exceptionally talented professionals, activists, and changemakers. At The Russell Family Foundation, we strongly believe an open call approach to filling board and committee positions allows us to consider a broader group of candidates with new opinions and diverse perspectives,” said Kathleen Simpson, CEO of TRFF. “We’ve learned a lot about how to do this effectively as this is the second time we’ve taken an open call approach, and we will continue to share those lessons with the philanthropy community.”