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ClimateWorks Appoints Prominent Leaders to Advise on Equity and Justice

International experts Tasneem Essop, Dr. Kumi Naidoo, and Richard Woo to guide foundation in its support of climate solutions that are equitable, inclusive, and just

SAN FRANCISCO – ClimateWorks Foundation, a leading global platform for climate philanthropy, today announced Tasneem Essop, Dr. Kumi Naidoo, and Richard Woo have joined as advisors to support the foundation’s justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion efforts. Ms. Essop, Dr. Naidoo, and Mr. Woo bring deep experience to their advisory roles, drawn from decades of working at the intersection of philanthropy, climate, and social justice movements.

ClimateWorks is engaging a diverse group of esteemed experts as part of its commitment to prioritize equity and justice holistically within its organization and programmatic work. Ms. Essop, Dr. Naidoo, and Mr. Woo are the first appointed advisors to this group, which ClimateWorks will expand over time.

“We are motivated by our vision of creating a thriving planet for all living beings for generations to come. To reach this durable climate future, we must better deliver our part in dismantling inequities around the world,” said Chris DeCardy, acting CEO of ClimateWorks Foundation. “To be better partners, collaborators and leaders on equity and justice, we’re thrilled to welcome Tasneem, Kumi, and Richard as our first advisors. Their counsel will be vital as part of our commitment to work more inclusively to support lasting climate solutions.”

Tasneem Essop is an expert on climate, energy, poverty, and social justice issues and is the executive director of Climate Action Network-International, a global civil society network in over 130 countries. Ms. Essop has held various senior government positions in South Africa, including as a provincial minister. She was also a global climate policy and strategy leader for WWF International, where she led the delegation for the organization at the UNFCCC. Ms. Essop completed her second term as commissioner in the National Planning Commission of South Africa. She was also a member of the Board of Sanparks, the leading conservation authority in South Africa.

Dr. Kumi Naidoo is a life-long human rights and environmental activist who has led a range of education, development, and social justice initiatives. He is the founding chair of Africans Rising, a Pan-African movement of people and organizations working for peace, justice, and dignity. Dr. Naidoo previously held executive roles at Amnesty International, Greenpeace International, and CIVICUS. He began his career as the founding executive director of the South African National NGO Coalition. Dr. Naidoo has also served on the boards of Global Reporting Initiative,, the Global Greengrants Fund, and as a member of the UN Women’s civil society advisory committee.

Richard Woo has 30 years of experience in philanthropy, impact investing, and social equity. He continues to apply that knowledge as a volunteer on the Greater Tacoma Community Foundation Board, the Advisory Board of Ethical Apparel Africa, and the Advisory Council of Front & Centered, a statewide climate justice coalition in Washington. Mr. Woo also advises nonprofit and private sector enterprises on matters of board governance, culture-building, and diversity, equity and inclusion. He is the former chief executive officer of The Russell Family Foundation and the past executive director of the Levi Strauss Foundation. He was a founding steering committee member of Divest-Invest Philanthropy (climate action). Mr. Woo also served on the boards of the Council on Foundations, Philanthropy Northwest, and Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy.

For more on ClimateWorks’ efforts to fully embed justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion principles, read the latest update here.

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 600 grantees in over 40 countries.

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Published December 7, 2021

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