Danielle Deane-Ryan, Class of 1997

Communities of color disproportionally bear the brunt of environmental injustice and are underrepresented in the rooms where environmental decisions are made. You have dedicated yourself to reversing the latter in order to eliminate the former. In a career spanning private industry, government, and philanthropy, your strong, persistent voice has increased the power of these communities to alter their environmental fate. As head of the Hewlett Foundation’s New Constituencies for the Environment initiative, you guided investments of more than twenty million dollars calculated to have delivered hundreds of millions of dollars of economic and health benefits to underserved communities. You have managed the Center for Political and Economic Studies’ Commission to Engage African Americans on Energy, Climate Change and the Environment. You served as Founding Executive Director of the Green 2.0 initiative, recognized by Inside Philanthropy as one of 2015’s Boldest Moves and Top Trends. And you have served also in the Obama Administration as senior advisor of the Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. All of this has advanced what the head of the Cummings Foundation, your current base of operation, has called your “unshakeable commitment to ensuring that communities of color take the lead in designing our clean energy future.” In recognition of your distinguished achievement in environmental justice, Williams College is proud to honor you with its Bicentennial Medal.