WASHINGTON, DC – Rachel’s Network announced that it has awarded climate champion Annel Hernandez with its inaugural Catalyst Award. The award recognizes women of color making an environmental impact in communities across the country with a $10,000 prize and networking opportunities.

As associate director of the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance and member of the NY Renews coalition, Annel was one of the key players in the passage of New York’s new climate law passed in July 2019, the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act. The legislation, one of the most ambitious of its kind in the world, puts the state on the path to achieving 100 percent emission reductions by 2050, while also prioritizing investments and just transitions in frontline communities.

“It takes a special combination of skills to shepherd climate legislation like this to success. You can’t do it without the collaborative approach that Annel applies so well,” said Rachel’s Network President Fern Shepard. “We are thrilled that she is a member of our inaugural cohort of Catalyst Award winners.”

In addition to her work on climate legislation, Annel leads research and advocacy on New York’s coastal resilience, green infrastructure, and renewable energy – all with equity as a central focus.

“Annel’s considerable analytical skills – and genuine commitment to urban environmentalism – are combined with an accessibility, confidence and good humor that improves every team she works with,” said New York City Environmental Justice Alliance Executive Director Eddie Bautista. “The political and climate conditions are so dire, yet the possibilities for change are palpable, especially when lights like Annel keep appearing.”

Annel has also worked for the Earth Institute’s Urban Climate Change Research Network at Columbia University and the New York City Mayor’s Office for Economic Opportunity.


Rachel’s Network, named after noted environmentalist Rachel Carson, is a community of women at the intersection of environmental advocacy, philanthropy, and leadership. Their mission is to promote women as impassioned leaders and agents of change dedicated to the stewardship of the earth. The Rachel’s Network Catalyst Award was established to address the underrepresentation of women of color in leadership positions in the environmental community.

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