Despite the fact that women of color have higher levels of concern about environmental issues like climate change, they are woefully underrepresented in leadership positions in the environmental community. That’s why, today, we are launching the Rachel’s Network Catalyst Award, to provide women leaders of color support and recognition for their commitment to a healthy planet.

The award will recognize up to five women of color making an environmental impact in communities across the country with prizes of $10,000 per winner, as well as networking and mentorship opportunities throughout the year.

“We want to shine a light on the wonderful women working across the country to protect our planet,” said Rachel’s Network President Fern Shepard. “We hope our investment catalyzes not only individual women’s career trajectories, but the environmental movement as a whole in becoming more representative and just.”

In a video accompanying the award, We See You, women leaders of color talk about the importance of representation in the environmental field.

“The environmental devastation that we’re dealing with right now—it isn’t a time to say ‘this group is going to deal with it and not everybody else.’ We need everybody at the table,” says Angelou Ezeilo, CEO and founder of the Greening Youth Foundation.

Women of color from all kinds of professional and advocacy backgrounds are encouraged to apply, but the award will prioritize women at the midpoint of their careers. Applicants will be evaluated on their service to a healthier natural world; their positive impact on communities, policy, research, or public opinion; history of collaboration, mentorship, and leadership; and their catalyzing potential.

Applications are due by April 15 and winners will be announced in late 2019. To learn more about the award, or to apply, visit


Photo and video by Kaia Rose.

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