March 9, 2022
After 15 years with CivicWell and nine years at the helm, CivicWell CEO Kate Wright will be leaving the organization at the end of this month. She will be the new Executive Director of Climate Mayors, a growing network of nearly 500 U.S. mayors who have committed to accelerating equitable climate action in cities.
CivicWell will be conducting a national search for a new CEO. Kathy Chow, Director of Development and Communications, will serve as Interim CEO starting the last week of March and will work directly with a transition team and the Board of Directors to find CivicWell’s new CEO.
Kathy is a nonprofit leader with twenty years of experience in nonprofit management and has served as the Executive Director for two national membership associations. She states, “During Kate’s tenure, CivicWell has doubled its staff and grown its impact immensely. I’m grateful for her leadership and look forward to shepherding CivicWell into its next chapter as we begin our search for a new CEO who also shares our vision for a sustainable, healthy, equitable, prosperous, and resilient future for every community.”
“Kate has been instrumental in growing CivicWell during her tenure,” adds Leticia Perez, Kern County Supervisor and CivicWell Board Chair. “She helped create our CivicSpark AmeriCorps program, which has placed over 600 Fellows in more than 800 projects that have built local government capacity to address climate change. She played a huge part in many of our trailblazing efforts around climate resilience and adaptation. I know Kate will be a tremendous asset to the national Climate Mayors network.”
In her time with CivicWell, Kate worked closely with local government leaders to spearhead environmental initiatives on climate resilience, clean mobility, sustainable water management, livable communities, renewable energy, and affordable housing.
Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg collaborated with CivicWell and former West Sacramento Mayor Christopher Cabaldon on the Mayors’ Commission on Climate Change to develop a common vision and set of strategies for both cities to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions, referred to as Carbon Zero, by 2045. The Commission’s final report in June 2020 outlined a set of equity strategies, foundational principles, and actions to reduce emissions in the built environment, mobility, and community health and resilience sectors.
Steinberg says, “Kate has been a powerful local leader on climate issues, and I know she is the right person to lead Climate Mayors into their next chapter. I’m proud of what we have been able to achieve together for Sacramento and California with CivicWell and the Mayors’ Commission on Climate Change, and look forward to seeing the impact she’ll have with this national network.”
Representing over 74 million Americans from 48 states, Climate Mayors is a peer-to-peer network of 474 U.S. city mayors who have committed to fighting climate change. Originally founded in 2014 by 3 mayors, the network’s ranks swelled to almost 400 mayors in response to the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Agreement in June 2017. Climate Mayors is committed to accelerating equitable climate action to help each member city achieve their climate goals while working together with states and the Biden administration to increase national climate ambition.
Sylvester Turner, Climate Mayors Chair and Mayor of Houston, welcomed the announcement: “We are thrilled to welcome Kate Wright as Climate Mayors’ Executive Director. I am confident she will help grow the organization and bring additional resources to help U.S. mayors accelerate equitable climate action in cities.”
He added, “As we enter our next chapter, Kate’s knowledge and experience working with local leaders will be pivotal in advancing solutions in communities across the country and working more closely with the Biden Administration to ensure we invest in our communities through E.V. charging and other critical climate action.”
While the decision was difficult to leave an organization she has served for more than 15 years, Kate looks forward to the opportunity to lead Climate Mayors’ national network. “It’s been an honor to lead CivicWell for almost a decade, developing the CivicSpark AmeriCorps program and the California Adaptation Forum and other impactful programs advancing climate resilience. I am now thrilled to take this experience to lead Climate Mayors at such an exciting time for local leadership,” she says. “All across the nation, Climate Mayors are responding to the urgency of climate change by reimagining how we power, build and move throughout cities. These living laboratories are fostering the next generation of solutions that will be replicated across the globe, catalyzing the virtuous cycle of innovation needed to ensure long-term community resiliency and prosperity.”