Front and Centered

(formerly Communities of Color for Climate Justice)

About Us

Triple Threat

Communities of color, people with lower incomes, and indigenous people are on the frontlines of climate and environmental change. We are hit FIRST by extraction, pollution, and climate change, which makes existing health and economic disparities WORSE. Yet frontline communities are often LEFT OUT of or are the last to be included in the transition to healthy, resilient and sustainable future.

Principles for Action

In 2014 Washington’s leading racial and economic justice advocacy organizations drafted the ‘Principles for Climate Justice.’ We believe climate and environmental change can only be addressed when equity for the communities first and worst affected are at the center of the solutions.  We also believe this requires leaders from communities of color and people with lower incomes to lead efforts to create change. Our goal is to create jobs and improve the health of frontline communities in the transition to just,  clean economy. To put these principles into action, we formed Front and Centered.

Frontline Community Leadership

Front and Centered is a statewide coalition of more than 60 organizations and groups rooted in communities of color and people with lower incomes; we’re on the frontlines of economic and environmental change. As thought leaders and organizers, we build our agenda and strength with our grassroots community. Together we reach hundreds of thousands of families and individuals.  We build power and capacity for a Just Transition that centers equity and is led by people of color.

Building Capacity to Amplify and Elevate Voices for Change 

We know organizations that are led and based in communities have the grassroots relationships, knowledge and expertise to create change. Front and Centered builds and amplifies a more powerful movement by engaging and bringing leaders together, building capacity; and providing coordination and technical support.  Our strategically assert collective solutions including:

  • Partnership building and collaboration
  • Policy research, writing and advocacy
  • Grassroots and voter education and mobilization
  • Fund development
  • Communications and storytelling

Board of Directors

List of Board of Directors can be viewed here.

Advisory Board

List of Advisory Board can be viewed here.

Steering Committee

The Steering Committee directs the work of Front & Centered, shaping the work plan, setting goals, and providing guidance to the coordination team.  Steering Committee members are Front and Centered ambassadors and strengthen our collective effort.

  • Paulina Lopez, Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition
  • Jill Mangaliman, Got Green
  • Yolanda Matthews, Puget Sound Sage
  • Lilliane Ballesteros, Latino Community Fund
  • Rich Stolz, OneAmerica
  • Rosalinda Guillen, Community to Community
  • Susan Balbas, Na’ah Illahee Fund

Coordination Team

Front and Centered convenes and coordinates community based organizations and groups across the state, and whose diverse missions and work operate at the intersection of equity, environmental, and climate justice. Our team of experts aims to serve as coordinators of our collective set of efforts, which include policy and research, civic engagement, advocacy, and community capacity building.

  • Aurora Martin, Co-Executive Director – Community Capacity Building
  • Deric Gruen, Co-Executive Director – Programs & Policy
  • Melina Rivera, Operations Director
  • Ruby Love, Major Gifts Strategist
  • Sameer Ranade, Civic Engagement and Policy Manager
  • Sharon Chen, Development Project Manager
  • Aiko Schaefer, Senior Advisor
  • David Mendoza, Environmental Justice Task Force Lead & State Co-Chair
  • Mariel Thuraisingham, Electricity Lead
  • Esther Min, Environmental Health Lead

Contact [first name]


Groups and organizations rooted in the interests of communities of color and people with low incomes in Washington are invited to join the coalition.  Members must meet at least three of the following criteria: 1) Have equity and justice in their mission or vision 2) Be comprised of a majority people of color (board/staff) 3) serve and empower communities of color and people with lower incomes 4) actively work for racial equity and making people of color front and center.

To join Front and Centered, please contact us at [email protected].  Members involvement may vary by the ability of the group to participate and are supported in developing their capacity to participate.  Members help shape and advocate for the Front and Centered agenda and are invited to join working groups and are able to move into leadership roles.

Go to the Member Site (login required, contact [email protected] for info)

Key Partners

The Alliance for Jobs and Clean Energy

Many of the Communities of Color for Climate Justice organizations help steer The Alliance for Jobs and Clean Energy, Washington State’s coalition of individuals, organizations and businesses dedicated to reducing global warming pollution, strengthening our economy, and making sure all Washington families have a better future. The Alliance is calling for immediate action to protect people, places and the quality of life in this state. The Alliance believes Washington:

  • WILL respond to global warming by adopting standards and policies that reduce carbon emissions and hold big emitters accountable ;
  • CAN grow our economy, business sector and labor movement by incentivizing homegrown clean energy and technology, which creates good jobs and better choices for consumers, and improves health.;
  • MUST invest in communities of color and communities with low incomes disproportionately harmed by fossil fuel pollution.