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Deeohn Ferris to Lead Global Climate Change Institute

Ferris Named President of the Institute for Sustainable Communities

Montpelier, Vt. (September 28, 2020) – Environmental justice leader Deeohn Ferris, JD, has been named president of the Institute for Sustainable Communities (ISC), a global leader in the development of equitable, community-based solutions to climate change.

“Partnerships with communities that foster sustainability, health and local resiliency have never been more important,” said Ferris. “This is a pivotal time to elevate community voices and facilitate their leadership across geography, race and income strata.”S

deeohn-ferris, staff, president

Founded in 1991, ISC’s mission is to unleash the power of communities and local leaders to respond to interconnected environmental, economic and social challenges to build a better future shaped and shared by all. From helping factories in Asia reduce greenhouse gas emissions to preparing for rising sea levels in Florida and building community resilience in US cities, ISC’s programs create collaborative solutions that embed equity in the transition to a green, low-emission economy.

“Our vision is a peaceful and healthy planet for all humanity,” said George Hamilton, who co-founded ISC with former Vermont Governor Madeleine M. Kunin and has served as president since the organization’s inception. “For 30 years, we have worked at the intersection of environmental health, economic development, and social justice. We fundamentally believe in the power of local leadership and inclusive decision making.”

Ferris is the first African American woman to helm the organization. A lawyer whose career is rooted in the tenets of environmental, racial and economic justice, she brings decades of change-making, coalition building, and nonprofit leadership savvy to ISC. She begins her tenure on July 1, 2020.

“Beyond her impressive resume, Deeohn has experience working at both a policy and community level and can present a compelling message about why climate and equity need to be addressed together,” said ISC Board Chair Jonathan Lash. “The impact ISC has had around the globe is a testament to our co-founder, George Hamilton, and his legacy as a pioneer in community-led sustainability. We look forward to working with Deeohn to build on that legacy.” 

ISC is driving innovative and transformative solutions to climate change working with communities, cities and factories around the world. The Institute has led more than 120 public health, occupational safety, clean energy, and emissions reduction projects in 30 countries including the United States, China, India, and throughout eastern Europe and Asia. Learn more at

Media Contact: Lauren Dennis

(802) 578-0233 | [email protected]

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