We are in a period of renewal and strategy for our Board of Directors! We’re currently seeking new members with the following skillsets – get in touch if you’d like to join the team! You can email us at director@groundworksomerville.org.

Current Board of Directors Needs:

  • Urban farming experience
  • Nonprofit financial management experience
  • Legal expertise

 

2021 Board of Directors

 

Jennifer Lawrence, President

Saladin Islam, Vice President

Ben Holmes, Treasurer

Joey Lee, Clerk

Corey Aguilar

Selam Balcha

Jessie DeLano

Vithal Deshpande

Jabir Ducasse

Travis Estes

Darron Fernandes-Smith

Eliza Kaltenberg

Taina Moynihan

Raf Vieira

 

2021 Committee Membership

Executive Committee

Jennifer Lawrence, President

Saladin Islam, Vice President

Ben Holmes, Treasurer

Joey Lee, Clerk

 

Fundraising & Gala Committee

Jessie DeLano

Jen Lawrence

Sal Islam

Taina Moynihan

Raf Vieira

 

Finance Committee

Ben Holmes

Travis Estes

Jessie DeLano

Jabir Ducasse

Corey Aguilar

 

Board Governance Committee

Joey Lee

Jen Lawrence

Raf Vieira

Eliza Kaltenberg

 

Programs Committee

Selamawit Balcha

Darron Fernandes-Smith

Vithal Desphande

Sal Islam

Corey Aguilar

 

2021 Board Member Bios

More pictures coming soon!

 

Travis Estes

I joined the GWS Board of Directors because I’m passionate about local food security and environmental justice. I’m academically trained as a city planner and have worked in the New England energy efficiency space for more than a decade. I hope to leverage my experience working in start-ups to help GWS continue to expand its impact within the community.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jabir Ducasse

My name is Jabir (Nadler) Ducasse and I’m a former employee/supervisor for Groundworks Somerville. I’m a small business owner also located in Somerville Ma called Villeside Customs. Some of my interests are our annual toy drive, donating to the people that are less fortunate and serving my community. I went to BHCC for college and one of my reasons for joining the GWS Board of Directors is a great opportunity for myself to be involved with a non profit organization that really cares for the community and pride themselves on ways to improve the city by teaching farming and agriculture and also teaching how to live a Green lifestyle.

 

Joey Lee

Joey brings 15 years in educational experience to the Groundwork community. He first served as a teacher and coach at Pinkerton Academy in Derry, NH before Directing the Education team at EF Education First in Cambridge, MA. He is Chief Education Officer at LiFT Learning, an organization driven to empower youth by providing technology and support to innovative educators creating learner-centered systems. Joey earned his BS in Social Science and M.Ed in Educational Leadership from Plymouth State University. He brings his passion for community building, environmental sustainability, and youth programming to the Groundwork Board of Directors.

 

Rafael Vieira

I earned my Bachelor’s of Environmental Engineering at the University of New Hampshire. I love hiking, writing and performing music, and reading! Groundworks Somerville provides important programs for the education and health of the Somerville community, it is a pleasure to contribute to their success!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jessie DeLano

Jessie DeLano is a new board member and works as a Program Coordinator in Executive Education at Harvard Kennedy School. Jessie grew up on a farm in Southeastern Minnesota, which sparked an early passion for sustainability and a love for nature. She has a BA in Global Studies and MA in International Politics and Human Rights. Prior to joining the board, Jessie worked in development for youth nonprofits. She has lived in Somerville for 5 years and loves its vibrant arts community, commitment to green spaces, and of course the farmer’s markets. In her spare time, she enjoys tending to her houseplants, live music, and traveling. She’s excited to merge her passions and professional skill set to serve the Somerville community.

 

Eliza Kaltenberg

By training I’m a geologist/environmental scientist and currently work in environmental consulting in the area of water and sediment contamination. My hobbies include camping, hiking, and social dancing (including salsa and zouk). I am also passionate about sustainability and healthy eating. I joined the GWS Board of Directors so I can contribute to the wonderful things they’re doing, such as helping people with access to healthy food and while mentoring the youth.

 

Benjamin Holmes

MIT-trained computer scientist and entrepreneur. Ben is the president of FAB, “Beer for the Sake of Art”, and founder of AERONAUT Brewing Company. I am a board member of Groundwork Somerville to fight for a sustainable future by empowering minority entrepreneurs and building strong communities in the city of Somerville and beyond.

 

Saladin Islam

I love to play guitar, sing, and spend time outdoors. My first job was with Groundwork as a teenager and they gave me the tools to reshape my life in various ways. I wanted to join the Board of Directors because this organization has made me a better leader, an advocate for social justice, and a mentor to many generations of young people. These, and many other reasons, are why I continue to want to give back and be involved in Groundwork.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jennifer Lawrence

Jennifer Lawrence is a Sustainability Planner at the City of Cambridge. Her career began at Groundwork Somerville 14 years ago as the Executive Director for 5 years. As ED, she created the Green Team and the National Park Preservers, two of her favorite milestones. She re-joined the Board of GWS in 2018. She is currently an Environmental Leaders Program Senior Fellow and an Advisory Board member for the Tufts University Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning Department.

 

Corey Aguilar

As a researcher, resident of the greater Boston area, and volunteer it is an easy choice to see that Groundworks Somerville is the best place to make a difference. I’m currently a researcher in the neurology department of Harvard Medical School and Mass. General Hospital. In the before times of non-covid, I would mentor and assist the mentor ship of students, at all education levels, in thinking like a scientist, and applying skills into practice. Groundworks Somerville has plenty of like minded individuals who see that mentor ship, climate change, and “it takes a village” mindset are essential components in promoting a healthy environment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Selamawit Balcha

I am a graduate of Wentworth institute Technology, where I majored in Architecture. I am currently doing my master’s degree in Architecture. I wanted to join the GWS Board of Directors to explore my passion for designing locations that have, their challenges and unique needs, thus I can offer design and design advice.

 

Taina Moynihan

Taina Moynihan is a new, but energized, member of the Somerville community, having moved to the area from Ithaca, NY after earning her undergraduate degree in December 2019. She graduated from Cornell University with a degree in Biology and Society and an emphasis on environmental studies. She has extensive experience empowering youth through community-focused social programs, both as a teacher and program coordinator. Most recently, she has been consulting with the nonprofit, Meadowscaping for Biodiversity (MS4B) where she educated local high school students about climate change and the values of native wildflower gardens and green spaces in urban communities. Taina is passionate about empowering others to advocate for positive change, preserving biodiversity in urban environments, and nurturing resilient communities. She is looking forward to sharing her passion with the GWS Board of Directors and discovering new ways to foster a connection to community and to the environment. Taina loves to spend her spare time planting and maintaining native plant gardens, experimenting with new recipes in the kitchen, and hiking around Middlesex Fells.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Darron Fernandes-Smith

My name is Darron and I am an artist that specializes in illustration, animation and sound design. I am currently working to get my BA in Animation at MassArt. I am an alumni of Groundwork Somerville and I was a Green Team Leader in 2019 and was the Art Director of the South St. mural in 2020. Groundwork is such an amazing organization that I have personally witnessed changing the lives of many youth in Somerville. I wish to do my best to continue to help GW flourish so that it may continue to have a profound impact in our community for future generations to come!