Ruth Hennig has worked in the environmental field for over 25 years, first at the Conservation Law Foundation in Boston and now as the Executive Director of The John Merck Fund, where she oversees program-related special initiatives. Ruth has served in management roles at Environmental Grantmakers Association, the Consultative Group on Biological Diversity, and the Health and Environmental Funders Network. She is currently on several NGO boards: Issue One, which is building support for reducing the influence of money in politics; and the League of Conservation Voters Education Fund. In addition, Ruth was a Beldon Fund trustee, and is a former board chair at SmartPower and the New England Grassroots Environment Fund, two organizations that she helped found.
Christine James came to The John Merck Fund in 2008, after 20+ years working for small, community-based human service and environmental nonprofit organizations in Maine and Massachusetts. She has a BA in art history from Bowdoin College and an MA in public policy from Tufts University’s Urban & Environmental Policy program. Just prior to coming to JMF, she was executive director of EarthWorks, a small urban greening organization based in the Roxbury neighborhood of Boston. Her work in Maine included four years as executive director of an educational organic farm and two years working on clean energy and climate change issues. As Director of Programs for JMF, she oversees the foundation’s environmental grants programs: Clean Energy, Health and the Environment, and Regional Food Systems.
Ninya Loeppky became the newest addition to the JMF team in 2015. She gave up the green chiles and big skies of her native New Mexico to attend Macalester College in Minnesota, where she got her BA in Geography and International Studies. Her passions for environmental justice and youth leadership development then led her to work for multiple nonprofits on the East Coast and to get her Master’s in Urban & Environmental Policy at Tufts University. Directly prior to coming to JMF, Ninya served as a Fellow at Third Sector New England, where she assisted their pool of consultants who support organizations through challenging transitions. In her role at JMF as Program Associate, Ninya assists with the Health and the Environment and Regional Food Systems programs.
Nancy Stockford has been working at The John Merck Fund since 1992. She previously worked at the Winston Foundation for World Peace and the Union of Concerned Scientists. Nancy received a BA in Chinese Language and Literature from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. As Director of Operations, she oversees the daily operations of the Fund, including financial and grants management. She also serves as the program officer for the Developmental Disabilities Program.
Karen R. Harris manages the Clean Energy Program at The John Merck Fund. In addition to her work with JMF, Karen provides strategic planning, evaluation, and facilitation services to foundations and nonprofit organizations. She has worked on a range of issues including climate and clean energy, land conservation, food systems and international security. Other clients have included Doris Duke Foundation, Rockefeller Family Fund, New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, Land Trust Alliance and Alaskans for Energy Freedom. Karen was the executive director of the Ploughshares Fund, a foundation that supports international security and nonproliferation policy. She was a program officer in the Conservation Program at the David and Lucile Packard Foundation. Karen has a degree in environmental policy, with a focus on energy and land conservation, from the University of California at Berkeley. She lives in Norwich, Vermont.
Dr. Marsha R. Mailick is the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW-Madison). She received her PhD in social policy from Brandeis University and became an associate professor at Boston University before joining UW-Madison. Starting in 2002, she served as the director of the Waisman Center and principal investigator of the Waisman Center’s Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Core Grant, awarded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. The focus of Dr. Mailick’s research is on the life course trajectory of developmental disabilities. She is interested in how the behavioral phenotype of specific developmental disabilities, including autism, fragile X syndrome and Down syndrome, changes during adolescence, adulthood and old age. In addition, she studies how the family environment affects the development of individuals with disabilities during these stages of life, and reciprocally how parents and siblings of individuals with disabilities are affected.