Washington, DC – Rachel’s Network announced that it has awarded environmental health advocate Heather Toney 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.

Heather is the national field director for Moms Clean Air Force, an organization of over one million moms and dads committed to fighting air pollution and climate change. Among her accomplishments, Heather developed a program to engage the African American faith-based community on environmental health, and one to connect mothers with mayors on climate solutions.

Heather also served as the first African American, first female, and youngest mayor of Greenville, MS, the town where she was born and raised. She also served as regional administrator for Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Southeast Region under President Obama, protecting public health and the environment in eight southeastern states.

“As someone who has served in elected office, civil service, and nonprofit advocacy, Heather knows what it takes to build the political will for change,” said Rachel’s Network President Fern Shepard. “At the core of her work is a fierce defense of the most vulnerable in our society, and a passion for empowering new women leaders. She perfectly embodies the spirit of the Catalyst Award.”

“Heather is a star, plain and simple. I consider it an honor that Moms Clean Air Force has become part of her journey,” said Moms Clean Air Force Senior Director & Co-Founder Dominique Browning. “Heather is multi-talented and thoughtfully ambitious about making the world a better place—for all of us.”


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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