Our Staff

IMG_2020Kevin 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.

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.

Contact: kevin@MN350.org


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.”

Contact: kate@MN350.org



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. \

Contact: andy@MN350.org




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.

Contact: patty@MN350.org




IMG_1399Ulla Nilsen, Engagement Director

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 has a B.A. in Film and Portuguese from UC Berkeley. She has worked extensively with immigrant communities as a medical interpreter, documentary filmmaker and union steward. As a volunteer with MN350 since 2012, Ulla coordinated the Corporate Accountability team and has helped build ties with the Minnesotans for a Fair Economy coalition. As MN350′s first Engagement Director, Ulla is looking forward to helping MN350 grow, reach new communities, and effectively welcome the many people who are inspired to create a better, healthier world together.

Contact: ulla@MN350.org