Melissa founded the local 350 chapter in May 2013 after attending the largest climate protest in the US to-date in February 2013, calling on President Obama to reject the Keystone XL pipeline. Melissa wanted to turn her despair and anger about climate change into action and hope, and loved the climate-change-focused mission of 350.org.
Melissa grew up in the NW suburbs of Chicago, earned a B.S. in Chemistry and an M.S. in Natural Resources and Environmental Science from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. She attended Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project training in August of 2014. She successfully lobbied her church conference to open a fossil-free fund for their pensions.
Having been with 350 Chicago from nearly the beginning, Larry has a long history of grassroots activism, starting with advocating against American involvement in the Central American wars of the mid 80’s. During the 90’s, he was an at large member of the successful coalition of environmental organizations in the Westside Alliance for a Safe and Toxic-Free Environment(WASTE). The coalition advocated for and won the battle to have the polluting Chicago and Kilbourn Garbage Incinerator shut down.
Joining founder Melissa shortly after 350 Chicago’s formation, Larry assisted in launching and building the organization. After hearing an interview with a climate scientist, Larry decided to enlist in the fight against the fossil fuel industries destruction of the planet’s habitat, hoping to lessen the devastation for his son and his son’s generation.
Holding a degree in Audio Engineering and a Masters in Writing from Columbia College, Larry spent 15 years in the music business and the last twenty-one in the Brewing Industry, teaching home-brewing, writing content for websites and working in marketing and promotions.
A native Chicagoan, Sylvia has spent her career advocating for capital reform through socially responsible investing, working at Green America, US SIF – The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment, and ImpactUs Marketplace. As a financial advisor at Natural Investments, LLC, she brings financial empowerment to clients concerned for people and planet through their investments.
In addition to serving as 350 Chicago’s Treasurer, Sylvia sits on the Envest Microfinance Fund advisory board, as well as participates in Huddle in the Loop which supports female candidates running for office in Illinois. She earned an International Business degree at Illinois State University and completed a Sustainability MBA at Marylhurst University.
Jerry is a native Chicagolander, born and raised in the western suburbs and now a longtime city dweller. With a father who was a science teacher and grandparents who were exceptional green-thumbed gardeners, he developed a deep fascination with and respect for plants, animals, and the planet at an early age. He has since been a lifelong supporter of various environmental causes.
Jerry was introduced to 350.org in February 2013, after participating as a marshall for the Forward on Climate Rally in Washington D.C. In 2017, recognizing the ever-increasing existential threat of climate change and the need for local grassroots efforts in the absence of strong federal leadership on climate, Jerry joined the 350 Chicago team.
Jerry holds B.S. in Information Technology and is also a licensed massage therapist. He now lends his eclectic skill set (which includes over 25 years experience in Information Technology, Operations, and related consulting) to the 350 Chicago team.
After graduating from the University of Illinois and spending several years working at a marketing agency, Kyle realized that he wanted to devote his career to fighting climate change and building a more sustainable energy grid. Currently, he works on the Multi-Family energy efficiency programs for Illinois gas and electric utilities, helping consumers to save money on their bills, use fewer natural resources, and lower the demand for fossil fuel consumption. Kyle was also named as part of the inaugural Chicago cohort for the Clean Energy Leadership Institute (CELI) fellowship program.
Aside from sitting on the 350 Chicago board, Kyle created a website devoted to sustainability education and civic engagement (www.DoGood4Chi.com) that he hopes will help other people on their journey to a greener lifestyle. In his spare time, he enjoys volunteering, playing intramural sports, bike riding, boxing, and seeing live stand up comedy.
Raised in Northeastern Wisconsin, Amanda developed her love of the outdoors while hiking, camping and canoeing around the lakes and trails of the upper midwest. After moving to the Chicago area in 2013 to attend Northwestern University, she began writing about environmental issues and activism for the campus magazine In Our Nature. She joined 350 Chicago in 2019 and quickly took on internal communications and social media responsibilities. She also helps with the group’s fossil fuel divestment campaign.
Amanda is a Chicago-based journalist, and has written extensively about environmental issues, urban construction & development, and outdoor recreation, among other topics. She holds a B.S. in Journalism and International Studies from Northwestern University. In addition to 350 Chicago, she is actively involved in the work of the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless through her position on the organization’s associate board. She plans to continue her work on urban and environmental policy issues while pursuing a Master’s in Public Policy at American University starting in Fall 2020.
Rowland has worked with 350 Chicago since early 2019. After following climate issues for 30 years and growing more alarmed about the future for his three grandchildren, he was moved to become more active after hearing Bill McKibben speak and chatting with Bill at the book signing table. A retired pension actuary and investment consultant, he is especially interested in highlighting the investment risk from owning fossil fuel company stocks. Rowland is active on the Research Committee and the bi-weekly 350 Chicago newsletter.
Hannah moved to Chicago two years ago and got involved with the local chapter of 350 in 2019. Since then, she has joined the newsletter team and is doing research on sustainable consumption for the Research Committee.
Hannah works as an editor. In her free time she enjoys writing, hiking, listening to opera, and learning foreign languages.
Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, Frank now lives in Chicago. Frank graduated from business school at the University of Illinois and works within the financial and consulting space. Some projects involved the creation of climate action plans, work to support Michael Bloomberg’s Climate Mayors alliance, and research into sustainable infrastructure investment projects. Frank currently volunteers as part of the newsletter team and serves as a member of the Education and Research committees.
In Fall 2020, Frank will be pursuing his master’s of arts of public policy at the University of Chicago. He hopes to use his background and skills to further the cause for conservation and protection of biodiversity and wildlife, especially in megadiverse countries while also learning about effective climate-related policies within the US.
In his free time, Frank enjoys dabbling in standup comedy, improv, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, and languages. Also an avid photographer, he enjoys shooting photos at events, fashion shows, or nature. His last major trip was to the Galápagos Islands and Peru to photograph the wildlife of South America. You can see some of his work at https://freigroth.com/.
Jean began her lifelong love affair with Nature at an early age on woodland walks with her family near her hometown outside of Chicago. That love, coupled with a passion for social justice, led her to be involved in numerous environmental justice campaigns going back to the late 1970s when she worked on the Black Hills Alliance’s successful campaign to stop toxic uranium mining on sacred First Nations lands. Many years later, she was drawn to 350 Chicago by its similar commitment to environmental, racial and social justice coupled with the opportunity to be active locally in its campaign to divest the City of Chicago from Earth-choking fossil fuels.
She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Marquette University with a liberal arts degree in biology and theology and went on to earn her medical degree at University of Illinois College of Medicine. She specialized in Family Medicine and practiced medicine in a diverse urban setting for over 30 years, and taught Family Medicine residents and medical students. She believes that change is possible and necessary.
A native of Belgium, teaches French at Northwestern University. She has a long-lasting interest in the environment and completed a Master in Geography and Environmental Studies at Northeastern Illinois University. For two decades she was a site steward for the Forest Preserves of Cook County and the North Branch Restoration Project doing prairie restoration in Northbrook, IL. She was also the art director of Seeding the Snow, a journal of women’s writings and artwork that celebrates the Midwestern landscape.
Christiane discovered 350.org when she heard Bill McKibben during his “Do the math” tour in 2012. She started volunteering with 350 Chicago in 2015 and considers fighting climate change as a civic responsibility and a duty as resident on this planet.
Cathi is a former public school teacher with a heart for diversity, multiculturalism, and inclusion. Moved by the urgency of the climate crisis, she first investigated early retirement, then quit her job to help make sure her students would inherit a livable world. After interning briefly with Alliance for the Great Lakes, she returned to school to add formal marketing and environmental science courses to her experience in arts management, publishing, writing, editing, PR, grants, and management of concerts, volunteers, and various kinds of databases. In 350 Chicago she has helped with various projects since 2015.
She has also worked with Chicago Treekeepers, Sierra Club, Union of Concerned Scientists, Go Green Skokie, and Evanston Interreligious Sustainability Circle. She is a Creation Care Ambassador for the ELCA. Cathi participates in her church’s green team, outreach committee, and bell choir. She supervises at Evanston’s emergency overnight homeless shelter and occasionally works up a piano piece for public presentation. Cathi is a regular participant in the iftar dinners at The Bean and a member of Daughters of Abraham, a group celebrating interreligious and cross-cultural friendship. She maintains two rain gardens and a burgeoning food garden registered with Green America’s Climate Victory Garden program. She tends a certified Monarch Waystation and just registered her yard as a Certified Wildlife Habitat.
In her free time, she enjoys experimental vegan and fusion cuisine, puzzles, walking, and yoga.