Steering Ahead with Gratitude, Welcomes, and Thanks

February 11, 2019

The HEFN community is grateful to its many members and partners who contribute every day to its mission. Twenty years from its inception, HEFN continues to benefit from the generosity of its members’ time, talent and treasure.

This year, HEFN bids a fond and deeply appreciative farewell to two members for their countless contributions, and welcomes three new Steering Committee members:

Thank You for Your Service

(Photo: From left to right, outgoing HEFN Steering Committee member Carolyn Fine Friedman accepts a HEFN Hero jacket as a thank you gift from fellow member Christine James, while Andrea Bretting presents outgoing Steering Committee member Phil with his gift. Photo credit: Annie O'Neill Photography)

Carolyn Fine Friedman

Carolyn, Chair of the Fine Fund, has been a dedicated member of the HEFN Steering Committee since 2013, bringing a much-needed donor perspective to the group.

She is “a tireless champion of the work environmental health and justice groups are doing to tackle toxics” said Steering Committee member Christine James at the 2018 HEFN Annual Meeting where Carolyn received a coveted “HEFN Hero” jacket. Carolyn has contributed her passion, commitment and leadership to HEFN’s nominations and leadership development committee and its finance committee.

She will maintain her deep engagement with HEFN through its major donor pilot project that kicked off last year. She will also continue to conduct philanthropic outreach for HEFN and toxics work, as she did last year with her blog post for Exponent Philanthropy, “the country’s largest association of funders and the only one dedicated to serving foundations with few or no staff, philanthropic families, and individual donors.”

Phil Johnson

Phil, director of The Heinz Endowments' Environment & Health Program, served as HEFN’s chair-emeritus last year, after being on the Steering Committee since 2011 and serving as co-chair for five years.

“Phil has brought the mind of a PhD, the heart of a public health person, and the energy of a rocket ship to HEFN,” said Steering Committee member Andrea Bretting upon bestowing Phil with a HEFN Hero jacket at the 2018 HEFN Annual Meeting in his Pittsburgh hometown.

He has been on countless meeting planning committees, finance and personnel committees, and he participated in HEFN’s “Making the Case for Advancing Equity and Grassroots Organizing” community of practice cohort. He was a big part of HEFN’s fracking working group (now Past Petro) and is a steadfast philanthropic advocate for responding to the needs of families and communities impacted by pollution of all kinds, from indoor air to natural gas drilling sites.

Phil was also recently appointed to the advisory committee of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine’s new Environmental Health Matters Initiative. EHMI explores innovative solutions to the nation’s most significant environmental health challenges.

Thank you, Carolyn and Phil!

Welcome to Our New Steering Committee Members

The HEFN Steering Committee has elected three new members who began service in January 2019.

Ellen Braff-Guajardo

Ellen, a senior program officer with the Sierra Health Foundation (SHF), has been active in and supportive of HEFN for many years. Her involvement and experience range from being a program officer with The California Endowment in the San Joaquin Valley to serving as a national program officer with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. In her current role, Ellen supports SHF’s social justice and racial equity work to combat inequality in the San Joaquin Valley and across California.

She has already stepped up to join the  HEFN 2019 annual meeting planning committee, which is busily exploring locations for the 20th Anniversary event to be held Nov. 18-21. Read more about Ellen and her work.


Ogonnaya Dotson Newman

Ogonnaya, a program officer in the Environment program at The JPB Foundation, was drawn into HEFN leadership since first attending one of its meetings and “felt instantly welcome by the team’s warm energy and commitment to increasing the visibility of challenging problems and innovative solutions to improving environmental public health for all people.”

She was one of the main funder planners for a November 2018 Lead Reduction Funder meeting and is on the Steering Committee group leading the search for HEFN’s next executive director. Email or click here to share any advice or recommendations for the search committee. Read more about Ogonnaya and her work.


Jake Mogan

Jake is a program associate within the Energy Program at The 11th Hour Project. Jake’s HEFN involvement includes serving on the 2018 HEFN Annual Meeting Planning Committee and as one of the co-chairs of HEFN’s Past Petro Funder Group.  He sees it as an “incredibly helpful community for me to connect with colleagues, learn about new trends and opportunities, and identify gaps in the field.”  He also is on the Steering Committee group leading the search for HEFN’s next executive director. Email or click here to share any advice or recommendations for the search committee. Read more about Jake.

Welcome, Ellen, Ogonnaya, and Jake!


Learn more about HEFN’s current Steering Committee:

From our Blog

Image by athree23 from Pixabay
Blog posted on December 17, 2020
As 2020 winds down, HEFN wishes a fond farewell to Steering Committee leaders whose terms end this year, and extends deepest gratitude for the myriad contributions they’ve made to the HEFN community.

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