Meet our board members who are passionate about inspiring and mobilizing people of faith and conscience to take climate action.
Melissa Gavin, Chair
Chief Network Officer of the RE-AMP Network
Melissa is guiding the Network toward its North Star goal of 80 percent greenhouse gas emission reductions in the Midwest economy-wide by 2050. Prior to coming to RE-AMP, Melissa served as the Executive Director of the State Environmental Leadership Program (SELP), a national network of environmental advocacy organizations seeking to help its members become smarter, more powerful and better run so they could be even better advocates for the environment. She holds a Master of Public Affairs degree with a focus on nonprofit management from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies from Florida International University in Miami, Florida. She is affiliated with a Unitarian Universalist congregation. Melissa lives in Madison, Wisconsin with her husband, children, garden, chickens and beehives.
Rev. Dr. Gerald L. Durley, Chair Emeritus
Pastor Emeritus, Providence Missionary Baptist Church
Rev. Durley is the former Pastor of the historic Providence Missionary Baptist Church of Atlanta, where he served for nearly 25 years. Rev. Durley’s previous roles include Executive Director of the Head Start Program for Fulton and Douglas Counties, Director of the Health Promotion Resource Center at the Morehouse School of Medicine, and founder of Perspectives, International, a consortium of historically Black colleges and universities. In 2011, Rev. Durley was inducted into the International Civil Rights Walk of Fame for his contributions during the civil rights movement of the 1960s.
Gopal Patel, Vice Chair
Gopal D. Patel is a faith-based environmental activist, campaigner and consultant. For more than a decade he has spearheaded the development of environmental initiatives engaging religious communities and leaders in India, East Africa, Europe and North America. He is Co-Founder and Director of Bhumi Global, a non-profit organization that works to educate and mobilize Hindu communities globally for environmental action. He is co-chair of the United Nations Multi-faith Advisory Council and is a member of the Advisory Board to the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration. He also serves as an Advisor to a number of interfaith and environmental initiatives, including the WWF Beliefs and Values Programme, the Yale Forum on Religion and Ecology and the Parliament of the World’s Religions. Born and raised in England, he currently lives in the New York City Metro Area.
Sam Schuchat, Treasurer
Executive Director, California Coastal Conservancy
Sam Schuchat became Executive Officer of the Coastal Conservancy in July 2001. He serves on the boards of the Los Cerritos Wetlands Authority, the Baldwin Hills Conservancy, and the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission. He served on the California Fish and Game Commission from 1999 to 2004 including two years as Vice-President. He was the Chairman of the San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority from 2008 to 2012, and is currently its Executive Director. He was the Executive Director of the Federation of State Conservation Voter Leagues from 1998 to 2001; the Federation is the trade association of 26 environmental Political Action Committees (PAC) in as many states. From 1992 to 1998 he was the Executive Director of the California League of Conservation Voters, the nation’s largest and oldest state environmental PAC with 25,000 members. He earned his B.A. from Williams College in Political Science and his M.P.A. from San Francisco State University.
Sarah Spengeman, Secretary
Deputy Director of Communications, Energy Innovation: Policy and Technology, LLC
Sarah has been a faith-inspired advocate for social and environmental justice for nearly twenty years. At Health Care Without Harm, she led the organization’s efforts to mobilize the health care sector for climate solutions at all levels of government. Previously, she collaborated with labor, environmental justice, and faith organizers to plan the highly successful Nuns on the Bus tours, a campaign of NETWORK. She is now the Deputy Director of Communications at Energy Innovation, a clean energy and climate policy think tank based in San Francisco. She earned her bachelor’s degree at Westmont College and a PhD in political science from the University of Notre Dame where she focused on theories of justice, human rights, political action and liberation.
Rev. Susan Hendershot
Rev. Susan Hendershot has served as president of Interfaith Power & Light since 2018. She was raised in a blue-collar family outside of Cleveland, Ohio, before attending Bethany College in West Virginia where she graduated with honors with a B.A. in Religious Studies. Rev. Hendershot went on to graduate school at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia where she received her Master of Divinity degree from Candler School of Theology. After graduate school, she moved to Iowa, where she was ordained in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and served as a pastor in local congregations, focusing on social justice. Rev. Hendershot also led faith-based nonprofit organizations and served as the first Heartland Field Organizer for the ONE Campaign on global poverty. Just prior to her current role, she served as the Executive Director at Iowa Interfaith Power & Light, one of the state affiliates in the Interfaith Power & Light network.
Currently, Rev. Hendershot serves as co-chair of the Executive Committee for the RE-AMP Steering Committee, a network of over 140 climate, energy, and environmental organizations throughout the Midwest. Rev. Hendershot believes that climate change is a moral issue, disproportionately impacting those who are most vulnerable in our world. She gets her motivation and inspiration from her two sons.
Social and Environmental Impact Consultant
Gregory is a professional with nearly a decade of global experience working towards a more just and sustainable future. Gregory developed the Climate Program at the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, and as Program Director, he granted and invested over $10M to advance clean energy, conservation, and sustainable food solutions in marginalized communities. Based in Los Angeles, CA, Gregory currently advises public and private clients on social and environmental impact strategy. He also serves on the Advisory Committee for 7th Generation Advisors and is a graduate of the University of California, Los Angeles, where he earned a B.S. in Environmental Science and a minor in Environmental Systems and Society.
Partnerships Director, Yale Program on Climate Change Communication
Joshua is a climate movement strategist. He is inspired by the thousands of local Interfaith Power and Light leaders organizing people of faith and conscience to take climate action. He currently leads Yale Program on Climate Change Communication (YPCCC)’s strategy for engaging and supporting the climate and clean energy advocacy, media, and education communities. He has managed campaigns and led grasstops and grassroots organizing efforts that advanced bipartisan support for climate action, elected climate champions, and passed legislation that expanded access to clean energy in multiple states. His deep experience scaling supporter recruitment, managing coalitions, and leveraging multichannel communications strategies is underscored by his passion for nurturing volunteers and empowering community leaders to lead on climate solutions. He has an undergraduate degree from Rhodes College in Memphis, TN.
Rev. Melanie B. Mullen
Director, Department of Reconciliation, Justice, Creation Care, The Episcopal Church
Rev. Melanie Mullen serves as Episcopal Church’s Director of Reconciliation, Justice & Creation Care – charged with bringing the Jesus Movement to the world’s concerns. Before joining the Presiding Bishop’s staff, she was the Downtown Missioner at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Richmond, leading a historic southern congregation’s missional, civic, and reconciliation ministries. Before receiving her Masters in Divinity from Virginia Theological Seminary, she studied history as an undergrad at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC, and in a graduate program in Africana Women’s Studies at Clark Atlanta University. Melanie worked in campaign fundraising and development, raising more than $10 million for leadership PACs, the Congressional Black Caucus, and US Congressional and gubernatorial races from Louisiana to Connecticut; and she served as Development Associate for the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty, with a focus on poverty advocacy.
Executive Director, Week of Compassion
Vy Nguyen is an ordained minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and currently serves as the Executive Director of Week of Compassion- the relief, refugee, and development mission fund of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). In his role, he works with domestic and global faith-based partners to respond to disasters and provide support for refugee families. In 2014, Vy was awarded the Martin Luther King Jr Award, a recognition of great achievements for justice contributed by Disciples in the Northern California-Nevada Region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Vy brings many years of experience building relationships between churches, volunteers and partner organizations; and has a passion for bringing people together around the table. Vy is based in Alameda, California.
Executive Director, Georgia IPL
As Executive Director, Codi leads all policy, program, and outreach efforts, spending much of his spring at the Capitol during the legislative session. He also directs GIPL’s flagship programs, Power Wise, Solar Wise, and Water Wise, bringing sustainable and energy alternatives to communities of faith, while managing GIPL’s Green Team Registry, Green Team Coaching Program, and the development and implementation of all GIPL educational programs. Codi has been involved with environmental justice campaigns and the philosophy of sustainability since college. Codi also brings to GIPL his experience working abroad in the field of international peacebuilding and conflict transformation, working with communities in Israel, Palestine, and Belfast, Northern Ireland, and examining the degree to which environmental degradation relates to international conflicts. Codi holds a Masters of Divinity (MDiv) from Candler School of Theology at Emory University with concentrations in Justice, Peacebuilding, and Conflict Transformation (JPCT), Theology and Ethics, and a Graduate Certificate in Human Rights. Also holding a BA in Religion from Samford University, Codi is interested in working at the intersection of religion, human rights, public policy, and the environment.
Rabbi Fred Scherlinder Dobb
Adat Shalom Reconstructionist Congregation
Rabbi Fred Scherlinder Dobb serves Adat Shalom Reconstructionist Congregation–a thriving serious progressive community of nearly 500 households in Bethesda, Maryland. He is a Magna Cum Laude graduate of Brandeis University with a Doctorate of Ministry from Wesley Theological Seminary. He has previously worked at the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism. He is a Past President of the Washington Board of Rabbis. He currently serves as Chair of the national board of the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life and is a Past Chair of Greater Washington Interfaith Power & Light and on the board of the Shalom Center. He lives in Washington DC with his wife Minna Scherlinder Morse and their children, Sara and Gilad.
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