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Renowned Experts in Climate, Equity Join the Institute for Sustainable Communities Board

Nathaniel Smith, board
Nathaniel Smith
Dr. Marshall Shepherd, board
Dr. J. Marshall Shepherd

The Institute for Sustainable Communities (ISC)  is excited to announce the addition of two members to our board of directors, leading international expert in weather and climate Dr. J. Marshall Shepherd, and Founder and Chief Equity Officer of the Partnership for Southern Equity, Nathaniel Smith

“We are very proud to welcome two national climate change leaders to the ISC Board. They bring extraordinary experience and expertise in climate science and climate equity, the twin pillars of ISC’s work,” said ISC Board Chair Jonathan Lash. 

“Low-income families and communities of color are facing disproportionate burdens due to climate change, and my goal is to ensure they are active participants in designing solutions,” said Nathaniel Smith. “I am honored to join the ISC board at this crucial time and to partner with an organization that shares my commitment to building a clean energy economy that benefits everyone.” 

“I look forward to working with this established organization and its staff,” said Dr. Shepherd. “They are addressing problems at the forefront of climate science. What is exciting to me is that they move beyond the science and into the ‘So what?’ and ‘What can we do to help others?’. As a scientist, I talk about ‘kitchen table’ issues too so it is a good fit.”

Dr. Shepherd is currently the Georgia Athletic Association Distinguished Professor of Geography and Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Georgia (UGA). He also serves as the University’s Director of Atmospheric Sciences Program and full professor in the Department of Geography. He has received numerous awards including the prestigious PECASE award, which was presented at the White House in 2004. As the 2013 president of the American Meteorological Society, Dr. Shepherd was the second African American to preside over the society. He is the host of the Weather Channel’s award-winning Sunday talk show “Weather Geeks.” His TEDxUGA talk on 3 kinds of bias that shape viewpoints has received over 2 million views. Dr. Shepherd currently chairs the NASA Earth Sciences Advisory Committee and has served in many prestigious positions, including as a member of the Science Advisory Board for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and as a contributing author for the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). 

Since 2010, Nathaniel Smith has led the Partnership for Southern Equity (PSE) in its mission to advance policies and institutional actions that promote racial equity and shared prosperity for all in the growth of metropolitan Atlanta and the American South. Mr. Smith’s advocacy, research, and coalition-building activities supported the creation and ratification of many innovative policies and practices that have helped to facilitate equitable growth and authentic community engagement throughout metropolitan Atlanta and beyond. Smith has participated in multiple ISC events, including providing the keynote address at the 2018 Partnership for Resilient Communities peer learning workshop. Prior to his role at PSE, Smith served as Director of Partnerships and Research for Equitable Development at Emory University’s Center for Community Partnerships. Smith has been recognized as one of the “Eight Up-and-coming Black Leaders in the Climate Movement” by the Huffington Post and Grist Magazine. He has also received honors from the Atlanta Magazine (2019) for his work on energy equity (Groundbreaker Award) and was featured in the Chronicle of Philanthropy as one of the “15 People Changing the Nonprofit World” (2017). 

About ISC

Since 1991, the Institute for Sustainable Communities (ISC) has led more than 115 transformative community-driven sustainability projects in 30 countries including the United States, China, India, and Bangladesh. ISC helps unleash the existing power of local people and institutions to address immediate social, economic, and environmental challenges and opportunities – all while building those on-the-ground solutions into national and international best practices and policy. At the heart of the organization’s approach is results-focused, authentic, and pragmatic engagement with all stakeholders, which unearths locally-driven and equitable solutions to the biggest challenge we face – global climate change. Learn more at

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