New Executive Director at ACE!

February 9, 2009

We are pleased to announce that effective today, ACE has a new Executive Director! Please read on to hear from our outgoing Director, Penn Loh, and our incoming Director, Kalila Barnett.

New ACE Executive Director Kalila Barnett and outgoing Director Penn Loh


From Penn Loh:

Dear ACE Friends and Family,

As many of you know, I have been planning a transition for more than two years. My time is finally up at the end of February 2009. In September, I will be starting a full-time faculty position at the Tufts Urban and Environmental Policy Program, where I have been teaching the last three years.

As I leave ACE after 13 years, I must thank the extended ACE family for your support and hard work. It has truly been a privilege to serve as Director. When I first came to ACE in 1996 as a research and fundraising staffer, I never imagined I would be here for so long or have served in this role. Like all of you, I joined ACE because of our mission to build power from the ground up, to ensure environmental justice for all. Like some of you, I am not of the communities ACE serves, but believed that I could contribute. Now, I know that if ACE is to reach its next stage of building leadership of lower income communities and communities of color, then it is time for new leadership.

Just as the ACE co-founders stepped down in 1998 to make way for leadership of color, I now have the honor of passing the torch to Kalila Barnett on February 9. Many of you know Kalila because she’s been on ACE’s board for the last five years and most recently has been serving as Vice-Chair. She truly embodies ACE’s next era. Born and raised in Roxbury, Kalila has extensive organizing experience in Boston’s neighborhoods. She has organized around community development and affordable housing. Most recently, she has been a Senior Organizer at Community Labor United, coordinating the Green Justice Coalition.

Please join me in welcoming Kalila and getting ready to work even harder for environmental justice. ACE is at the beginning of its next great journey. During my time, we became a membership organization and now count over 600 members, with more than 30 core leaders. We have a talented and committed staff with combined experience at ACE of almost 70 years. ACE has a strong base of funding and dedicated supporters. ACE is well recognized across the country as a model for community-driven environmental justice work.

Last Fall, our members, Board, and staff, put forth a bold new strategic vision. We see ACE as part of a larger movement to build a green and equitable economy for the 21st century. We envision uniting with our partners across Boston and Massachusetts to build a progressive power base that can move public policy and resources.

I look forward to continue working towards this vision, but as an ACE member. I am confident that Kalila brings the passion, commitment, and experience necessary to keep us all moving together. It is with enduring gratitude that I thank you all for making my last 13 years so rich and meaningful.


Penn Loh

From Kalila Barnett:

Dear ACE Family,

I am so excited and grateful for the opportunity to work at ACE as the Executive Director. As a member I have been able to spend the past five years getting to know the organization, the programs, staff and leaders. ACE is truly one of the premier organizing groups in the city of Boston and I am proud to be counted in our numbers.

ACE has never been an organization to shy away from a challenge and now is no exception! Our vision for the next few years includes continuing to strengthen our membership base through more intensive leadership development with our core leaders, incorporating our analysis of economic and climate justice into our day-to-day work and growing ACE's presence in Dudley Square. All this while continuing to do work through our anchor programs Member Organizing, TRU, Services and REEP!

We are all partners in the fight for environmental justice. I am eager to carry on ACE's mission along side you.


Kalila Barnett