Kevin Whelan, Executive Director
For more than 20 years he has organized and led professional communications efforts for groups pursuing racial and economic justice. He sees the climate crisis as an urgent call to build a winning, inclusive movement for more sustainable and just society.
Kevin has worked with organizations including Minnesotans for a Fair Economy, Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), and New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG). From 2012 – 2014 he served as National Campaign Director of the Home Defenders League. In addition to work with MN350, he works closely with Minnesota Neighborhoods Organizing for Change (MN NOC) and volunteers with the international non-profit Give Us Wings.
Kevin earned an M.A. focusing on Cultural Studies at the City University of New York and a B.A. from the University of Redlands. He and his family, including two great, spirited daughters, live in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Kate Jacobson, Program Director
Kate has been an advocate for sustainable agriculture, social justice and resilient communities for the past 15 years. Her love for dirt, sunshine, all living species and serving community has only strengthened as she joins her six-year-old daughter in discovering the world around us. Kate has a B.A. in Environmental Studies, operated an organic market farm in northeastern Iowa and served as a Peace Corps volunteer in West Africa. In addition to being a full-time mama, she is Interim Executive Director for MN350 and is fortunate to be working together with Minnesotans committed to urgent climate action that is building a movement for a just and sustainable world.
“Similar to many of the most important things in our lives; relationships, careers, school – addressing climate change by transforming the way we live and interact with ourselves, each other and the world around us takes commitment of healing energy, resources and courage. We can be the change. We must be the change, together.”
Andy Pearson, Midwest Tar Sands Coordinator
Andy Pearson is a lifelong Minnesotan who has loved the climate and environmental movement for as long as he can remember. After graduating from the University of Minnesota with an individualized degree in environmental communication (and publishing a thesis on building a climate movement along with Julia Nerbonne) he worked with Clean Water Action, MPIRG, Fresh Energy, and Minnesota Waste Wise before coming to MN350.
He is currently MN350′s Midwest Tar Sands Coordinator, helping to support the growing movement against extreme energy extraction and transportation in the region. When he’s not organizing, you might find him playing guitar, cooking food with friends, or daydreaming about public transportation in Madrid.
Patty O’Keefe, Divestment Coordinator
Patty O’Keefe has lived in the metro area of Minnesota her whole life and is committed to being a change agent within her community. She graduated from the University of Minnesota with a Youth Studies degree and youth work within social movements is one of her life-long passions.
She sits on the steering committee for the Minnesota Youth Environmental Network and has helped develop curriculum for two after school outdoors programs. She currently works at MN350 as the Minnesota Divestment Coordinator supporting fossil fuel divestment campaigns in the state and across the midwest. Other interests include learning about the intersections of social injustices and climate change, and identifying the barriers to building powerful movements addressing systemic oppressions.
Coordinating Council (Board of Directors):
Carolyn Ham (Board Chair), Kurt Kimber (Treasurer), Anne Bauers, Akilah Sanders-Reed, Brian Nowak, Mayhar Sorour, Charlie Thayer
Campaign Strategy Group:
Ulla Nilsen, Kathy Hollander, Chuck Prentice, Lois Norrgard, Brian Nowak, Kurt Kimber, Patty O’Keefe, Andy Pearson, Kate Jacobson
Akilah Sanders-Reed started organizing around climate justice five years ago for 350.org’s first International Day of Action in 2009. She joined MN350.org after moving from Albuquerque, NM to Minnesota to attend Macalester College in 2012. Her involvement has spanned the tar sands team, an internship, and acting as a liaison between Macalester College and MN350. She now sits on the Coordinating Council. When she’s not working on climate justice organizing, Akilah can be found rowing with the Mac Crew team, backstage in the theater department, or hiking in the great outdoors.
Anne Bauers serves on the MN350 fundraising team and is also a member of the Coordinating Council. She is grateful to be able to combine her experience as a grantwriter and fundraiser with her passion for creating a more just and livable future for us all. Anne is the mother of three future activists, who remind her every day why action on climate matters so very much.
Brian Nowak- Practices Architecture in Excelsior, MN and has been involved with community building since he moved to Minnesota in 1975. He started working on projects for 350.ORG in 2010; he was designing a net-zero home and sustainable community concept when he realized that individual green projects, while important, can’t make a big enough impact on climate change by themselves. He needed to tie his work to a larger movement and joined MN350 in the fall of 2011 to work on the campaign to stop the Keystone pipeline. As Tar Sands Action Coordinator for MN350, he has organized members to understand the massive negative effect of Tar Sands Oil on climate change and the relationship of the fossil fuel industries in trying prevent climate change reform through huge political contributions and climate denial advertising.
Through education, organizing and action we can move forward to balance the place of mankind on earth.
Tar Sands Team Lead & Legislative Liaison
Kathy Hollander volunteers with MN350 to
promote action on climate change now. She focuses on crude oil flowing into and through Minnesota via pipelines and rail and also spends time at the Legislature. Retired, her background is in computer operating systems, as an analyst and a manager and has a BA in Math and German. She has worked with MoveOn.org, Occupy Minneapolis, and League of Women Voters, in addition to being active with the Peace and Justice committee of her church. In her free time, she loves playing cards, and the smell of the North Woods (and especially the
haunting cries of the loons).
Corporate Accountability Team Lead
Ulla has dedicated much of her life to the idea that a better world is possible. She grew up in MN, and returned in 2011, after spending 20 years living in California, Brazil and Mexico. Since she became a mother and learned of climate change, Ulla has worked passionately to help solve the climate puzzle and uncover the connections between racial, economic and climate justice. Ulla began volunteering with MN350 in 2012, and currently coordinates the Corporate Accountability team. Ulla loves working in her garden, playing games with friends and family, and spending time in wild places.
Kurt is a serial activist, having been involved in and advocated for south Minneapolis neighborhood associations, Hiawatha Light Rail, Wireless Minneapolis and the Digital Inclusion Fund. The looming impacts of climate change and peak oil on civilization motivate Kurt’s MN350 work, along with a desire for social justice.
Lois moved from a career in computer graphics to working for our Earth fourteen years ago. Watching the ever increasing destruction to our natural world and the wildlife that we share this planet with moved her to action to change careers and led her to become active with MN350 as an Outreach Volunteer. Her professional position is Upper Midwest Region Field Staff for Alaska Wilderness League – advocating for the protection of our amazing public lands in Alaska. “I was brought up to care for and appreciate the outdoors. The biggest threat we face is the changes happening due to a warming world. It is time we face facts and realize that we cannot continue to extract every last resource from this earth, but need to work within the balance of nature and live sustainably.
We can no longer give a pass to industry and allow a world where to have livelihoods and jobs we must accept the destruction of our air, water and health. It is time to say Enough”. “I’ve been fortunate because in my environment work I’ve had the opportunity to work with, strengthen, and advocate for the grassroots voice. I feel strongly that the best way of creating change is through the voice of “we the people” working within our communities, caring about our air, water, and wild lands.”
In her spare time Lois is becoming an avid gardener and is learning the Permaculture method of gardening and life.