Heidi Binko, Executive Director & Co-Founder
Heidi Binko is currently the executive director of the Just Transition Fund, which she co-created with Sandra Mikush in April 2015. Previously, Heidi served as associate director of Special Climate Initiatives at the Rockefeller Family Fund (RFF). Since October 2008, she has worked closely with key foundations, organizations, and thought leaders working at the nexus of climate and coal in that role. Before joining RFF, she was the executive director of the WestWind Foundation, a family foundation based in Virginia. She also previously served as co-chair of the board of directors of the Environmental Grantmakers Association (EGA) and co-chair of the Climate and Energy Funders Group, a project of the Consultative Group on Biological Diversity. Prior to her work in the field of environmental philanthropy, Heidi held positions with The Nature Conservancy and the Land Trust Alliance. She holds degrees from the University of Notre Dame and the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.
Sandra Mikush, Consultant & Co-Founder
Sandra Mikush is a part-time consultant and co-founder of the Just Transition Fund. Sandra formerly served as deputy director of the Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation, where she led the Foundation’s efforts to advance Appalachia’s economic transition and managed the foundation’s move toward 100% mission investing. Sandra was a member of the founding executive committee of Mission Investors Exchange and a founding member of the Appalachia Funders Network. A North Carolina native and graduate of Duke University, Sandra lives with her husband in the NC mountains, where she enjoys hiking and kayaking.
Carolyn Caddle-Steele, Program & Grants Manager
Carolyn leads the Just Transition Fund’s grants management processes and manages day-to-day operations for the Fund. She also holds a similar role at the Rockefeller Family Fund (RFF) which houses the JTF. Prior to joining the RFF and JTF teams, Carolyn served as the Program Associate at the Twenty-First Century Foundation (21CF) where she managed the Foundation’s grantmaking activities and provided support to the program department. Carolyn is a member of the Grant Managers Network, a national affinity group dedicated to promoting best practices in grants management; serves on the Grants Advisory Committee of the New York Women’s Foundation; and volunteers with Amani Global Works, a nonprofit that provides medical and nutrition services to residents on Idjwi, an island in Lake Kivu of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Cindy Winland, Senior Fellow
Cindy is currently a Senior Fellow at both the Just Transition Fund and the Delta Institute. She provides consulting assistance to the Fund, focusing on technical assistance and planning in communities impacted by the transition away from coal assets. Winland is an urban planner with over thirty years of experience in the Great Lakes region, working with urban and rural municipalities, nonprofits, professional organizations, and the academic community. Winland’s background includes solid waste and brownfield management in the public sector, alternative energy development in the private sector, and assistance to legacy cities as part of a nonprofit. Before joining the Just Transition Fund and Delta, she owned a consulting firm based in Midland, MI, where she led efforts around brownfield redevelopment, industrial transition, alternative energy planning, and sustainable master planning. She earned a Master of Urban Planning and a BA in Economics at University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.
Mandy Bridenhagen, Communications & Partnerships Director
Mandy works on communications strategy, research, and grantwriting at the Just Transition Fund. Her nonprofit and philanthropic background includes time at Pew Charitable Trusts, Global Greengrants Fund, and the WestWind Foundation. Additionally, she held strategic partnership roles at Gnip and Twitter. Mandy holds a B.A. in Environmental Studies from Dickinson College and an MBA from the University of Colorado Leeds School of Business. When not at her desk, she is exploring the trails (on foot, bike, and skis) of Colorado and the West.
Lois Wallenhorst, Office & Systems Manager
Lois recently joined the Just Transition Fund to provide additional support for day-to-day operations, with focused work on data and information systems. Prior to joining the Fund, Lois developed and managed database and office structures for the Shenandoah National Park Trust and Southern Environmental Law Center, and the non-profit consulting group Resilient Philanthropy. Lois is originally from Minnesota, where she attended the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, earning a B.A. in Communications and Political Science. In her spare time, she can be found in her garden or running trails in and around Charlottesville and Richmond, Virginia.
Strategy Working Group
The Fund’s programming is informed by a Strategy Working Group, which includes community-based transition thought leaders, labor and climate justice leaders, economic development and clean energy experts, philanthropic representatives and public sector officials. The Working Group will help refine the Fund’s strategies, expand the network, ensure responsiveness to the field, and connect with broader just transition and new economy conversations.
- Ray Daffner
Appalachian Regional Commission
- Tom Cormons
- Jihan Gearon
Black Mesa Water Coalition
- Kim Glas
Blue Green Alliance
- Stephanie Randolph
blue moon fund/Appalachia Funders Network
- Rebecca Newberry
Clean Air Coalition of Western NY
- Anya Schoolman
Community Power Network
- Cindy Winland
- Sandy Buchanan
Institute for Energy Economic & Financial Analysis
- Burt Lauderdale
Kentuckians for the Commonwealth
- Teresa Erikson
Northern Plains Resource Council
- Sara Kendall
Western Organization of Resource Councils
- Stephanie Tyree
West Virginia Community Development Hub