Meet the Rose Community: Jodene and Nancy

We have recently welcomed two new members onto our staff: Nancy Huizar and Jodene Isaacs. They have both joined our grants team and bring with them a wealth of experience and knowledge. In this month’s Meet the Rose Community, we are featuring Jodene and Nancy, to learn more about their backgrounds and the work they are doing here at Rose!

Jodene Isaacs, Program Officer

From your role as a geographic information systems analyst to your work as an attorney and mediator, you have an interesting background. What drew you to the nonprofit sector and specifically the Rose Foundation?

As a public interest attorney, I have worked on enforcing environmental laws on behalf of community nonprofits for several years. I became aware of the Rose Foundation because many law firms channel funds from their settlements to Rose who then finds mitigation projects for the affected areas. Prior to joining the staff, I was fortunate to serve as an ad hoc grants reviewer for the Watershed Fund, and I helped select great projects to improve water quality throughout California. I really enjoyed learning about all the groups doing meaningful work outside the courtroom.

You have stepped into the role of Program Officer for the Consumer Products Fund here at Rose. What about working with this fund excites you?

While legal advocacy is a useful tool, the pace of litigation can be slow, and outcomes are often unpredictable. Given the urgency of environmental degradation and social inequity, philanthropy appeals to me as an efficient and expedient way to improve people’s lives. As a Program Officer, I can directly contribute to change through supporting programs that inform and strengthen communities as well as promote legislative action. There is a surprising amount of overlap in the consumer products field that relates to my background, and it’s fascinating to learn about current trends in nonprofit programs.

What has been surprising or interesting about working at the Rose Foundation so far?

I have been working remotely and haven’t met most of my colleagues in person, but I appreciate that effort is taken at staff meetings to connect on a personal level. Though perhaps not surprising, everyone here is very thoughtful and diligent!

Nancy Huizar, Program Associate

You are rooted in Seattle and have built strong relationships with key environmental and community-based leaders through your background in research, policy, and education and commitment to justice and equity. How does this background inform the work you do with Rose as a Program Associate supporting our grantmaking in the Pacific Northwest?

​​With my background and relationships to communities in the Puget Sound area, I am able to connect grassroots community organizations to the Rose Foundation and elevate our grantmaking by finding partners who improve water quality and advance social justice. In the Seattle/King County area there was a huge shift to address inequity in the environmental movement after the release of the Equity and Environment Agenda in 2016. Since then, there has been a domino effect with other cities and our state government moving in the same direction (check out the HEAL act). Being a part of the advocacy side of environmental justice for some time and now dipping into philanthropy has been an exciting transition to be able to see “the other side.” I am excited to connect the Rose Foundation with organizations and projects that will support the communities I live, work, and play in.

What projects are you most excited to take on in your new position?

I am excited to work on the Puget Sound Stewardship and Mitigation Fund. I grew up in this area, went to school, worked, and lived in different areas around the Sound. I am excited to reconnect with folks outside of Seattle and learn about the great work that has been happening beyond my bubble. I am also excited to host a workshop for potential applicants with panelists from our past grantees. I feel like COVID has disconnected many of us, and hope the workshop can reconnect people and inspire collaboration.

What has been surprising or interesting about working at the Rose Foundation so far?

The most interesting thing for me has been working with restitution funds. I had never known about restitution funds until I was introduced to the Rose Foundation. I always thought there should be a mechanism for this, especially in dealing with polluters, and now I know there is. As someone who has worked in advocacy and systems change work, it is interesting to see the many layers of philanthropy and how the foundation also has to do their own reporting to the Department of Justice.

We are fortunate to welcome Nancy and Jodene to our growing staff. If you are interested in joining our stellar team, please check out our job listings here.

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