PSEF Staff

Mmakgantsi Mafojane

PSEF Co-Director and Board President

Mmakgantsi (Mak) is a specialist in clean energy access, social justice, and economic opportunities for marginalized communities through the green economy. She has served on PSEF's Credit Advisory Committee for several years. As Partnership Development and Contracts Manager for New Sun Road P.B.C (NSR), a solar technology public benefit corporation dedicated to energy and internet access, Mak was responsible for facilitating and managing strategic partnerships and overseeing their contract life cycle. Mak also contributed to the development of solar microgrid pilot projects with productive energy and income-generation outcomes. Mak oversaw the research processes at Fire Side Research, LLC – a New York-based, Africa-focused research firm providing local insight on the change political, economic and social realities in Africa. Before this she practiced as an Associate in South Africa, for the global law firm Norton Rose Fulbright LLC. Mak holds a Masters in Public Administration (New York University) and an LLB (University of Pretoria, RSA).

Millard "Mitty" Owens

PSEF Co-Director

Mitty's thirty year public service career includes community development finance, philanthropy, arts and social change, and organizational and leadership development. Career highlights include the Ford Foundation (program officer in economic development and program related investments), the New York City Office of Financial Empowerment (Senior Deputy), NYU’s Research Center for Leadership in Action (associate director and public policy adjunct), and Self-Help, the pioneering community development financial institution. The past three years have involved a special focus on impact investing aimed at exploring the opportunities and challenges in pairing social justice and finance. Mitty has lived in Zimbabwe and traveled extensively in the Global South. He has served on various economic and social justice boards (including the NC Minority Credit Union Support Center, Global Exchange, Grassroots Leadership, and the Lower East Side Peoples Federal Credit Union) and various arts boards stemming from his interest in art and social change, for which he earned a WK Kellogg National Leadership Fellowship. Mitty is a graduate of Yale University and holds an M.S. in Community Economic Development. He is a proud son of Brooklyn, and a proud and active single dad.

Lee Bowser

PSEF CBSC Program Coordinator

Lee is an advocate for the importance of data equity and asset-based community development. They hold a bachelor's degree in Religious Studies with a concentration in Religion and Public Engagement from Wake Forest University, where their research focused primarily on the intersections between race, gender, power, and access. As an undergraduate, Lee was an organizer for Abolition and Academia teach-ins, doing extensive work to promote access to information concerning campus sociopolitical climate, policing, student-driven gentrification, and the impacts these circumstances have on the health and safety of Black and brown communities near college campuses. 

Following graduation, Lee spent two years with the Winston-Salem Community Action Coalition, supporting the capacity-building efforts of nonprofits in Forsyth County to sustain and expand poverty alleviation programs, first through working in harm reduction spaces, and later by taking up program management responsibilities for the Coalition. Lee has joined the People's Solar Energy Fund to utilize their experience in community organizing and program management to continue building the capacity of marginalized communities to become self-sufficient. In 2023, Lee began their Master of Social Work program at UNC-Chapel Hill and intends to apply these continued learnings to their work as Program Coordinator for the Communities of Color Building Solar Capacity initiative.

Jenni Mangala

PSEF Interim MSCL Program Coordinator

Jenni, a rising player in the energy sector, discovered her passion for the industry during her teenage years after learning the dire energy access challenges in the Congo, her family’s country of origin. Her journey took a concrete step with the Green Program, through which she installed a 4.9 kW solar microgrid in a Nepali village. The system powers an agro-processing mill, alleviating food insecurity for 175 people.

Drawing from this experience, she delved into renewables project development at Duke Energy Sustainable Solutions, where she analyzed potential sites and transmission capacity for utility-scale solar fields. Jenni spent her 20th birthday building a solar power system on Mancarron Island, Nicaragua through Grid Alternatives, aiming to provide essential evening lighting for local business women.

Since 2022, Jenni has worked to develop a solar project at an off grid primary school in Rwanda, collaborating with Engie and her university’s Engineering Education program. A Park Scholar and honors student, she is set to graduate from North Carolina State University in 2024 with both a B.S. and M.S. in Electrical Engineering, specializing in renewable electric energy systems. Her post graduate plans include continued energy work in the Global South and the US.

Ceyda Durmaz Dogan

PSEF Operations Manager

Ceyda Durmaz Dogan is a local clean equitable energy advocate. She brings her diverse cultural and educational background to provide a unique perspective in solving problems. She has a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from Middle East Technical University in Turkey. After graduating from college, she got a one-year scholarship to study literature and philosophy at Bard College Berlin. Her exploration of new countries and subjects continued at Bard College in NY, where she got a master’s degree in environmental policy. She worked as a community organizer at New Haven/León Sister City Project in New Haven, CT, where she organized climate action events and engaged with the youth and the international community. She also conducted research about equity concerns around statewide energy efficiency programs in CT while working as a research assistant at Yale University Office of Sustainability. Prior to joining PSEF, she worked as an organizer at the Local Clean Energy Alliance (LCEA) in Oakland, CA for almost three years. At LCEA, she advocated for “clean power to the people by the people” in the San Francisco Bay Area as well as California at large.

PSEF Board of Directors

Gopal Dayaneni

Climate Justice Alliance

PSEF Board Member

Gopal has been involved in fighting for social, economic, environmental and racial justice through organizing, campaigning, teaching, writing, speaking and direct action since the late 1980’s and works at the intersection of ecology, economy and empire. He is a co-founder of Movement Generation: Justice and Ecology Project, which engages in transformative action on issues of land, labor, and culture. Currently, Gopal supports movement building organizations through the Climate Justice Alliance, ETCgroup, and the Center for Story-based Strategy. Gopal teaches at Antioch University in L.A. in undergraduate programs and the Masters of Arts in Urban Sustainability program, where he was the first Climate Justice Fellow from 2014-2016. Gopal is a trainer with the Ruckus Society and serves on the boards of The Center for Story-based Strategy, The Working World, and Occidental Arts and Ecology Center, and on the advisory board of the Catalyst Project. He was a campaigner for Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition on human rights and environmental justice in the high-tech industry and for Project Underground, which supports communities resisting oil and mining exploitation around the world.

Yuki Kidokoro

Climate Justice Alliance

PSEF Board Alternate

Yuki is the Climate Justice Alliance’s Reinvest Project Director. After graduate studies in Urban Planning at UCLA, Yuki spent 15 years at Communities for a Better Environment as a Youth Organizer, Lead Organizer and Southern California Program Director. At CBE, Yuki developed the youth program and was active in many successful grassroots campaigns. Some of these victories include stopping two fossil fuel power plant projects in Southeast LA, delaying the expansion of the I-710 diesel truck corridor to allow for public process, and winning health protective policies at the city, regional and state levels.Raised in Southern California, Yuki helped create a 45-unit affordable housing cooperative at the Los Angeles Eco- Village in Koreatown where she lives. She currently serves on the board of the Beverly-Vermont Community Land Trust and is a collective member of the L.A. Co-op Lab. Trained in conflict mediation and group facilitation, Yuki also enjoys thinking about community governance structures.

Timothy DenHerder-Thomas

Cooperative Energy Futures

PSEF Board Member

Timothy is the co-founder and General Manager of Cooperative Energy Futures (CEF), an energy efficiency and community-owned clean energy cooperative serving members across Minnesota since 2009. CEF has financed and developed 6.9MW (~$16M) of low-income accessible and cooperatively owned community projects, offsetting the utility bills of over 700 Minnesota households for the next 25 years. Timothy is a co-convener of Minneapolis Energy Options (now Community Power), which secured the nation’s first city-utility Clean Energy Partnership, and a member of its Energy Vision Advisory Committee, helping guide climate solutions across Minnesota. Timothy engages in national energy democracy innovation as a Powershift Network member and as a participant in the REAMP network. Timothy helped found Grand Aspirations, which supports youth innovators in 16 cities to create green economic opportunity through clean energy and other sustainable solutions.

Pouya Najmaie

Cooperative Energy Futures

PSEF Board Alternate

Pouya studied Science and Environmental Policy in both undergraduate and graduate studies at the University of Minnesota. He is now the Policy Director for Cooperative Energy Futures, a member-owned renewable energy co-operative that focuses on low-to-moderate income people and historically disadvantaged people in Minnesota. In this capacity Pouya works on State and local issues affecting equitability and access to solar energy (especially in regard to Community Solar Gardens) through the Public Utilities Commission, the Department of Commerce, and the City of Minneapolis among many others. Pouya is also a registered lobbyist with the state of Minnesota and has been lobbying at the Minnesota State Capitol on behalf of a bill that the co-op has drafted to increase access and equitability within Minnesota's Community Solar Program. He works with PSEF as a financial consultant and a technical consultant for Community Solar Gardens.

Jim Johnson

Cooperativa Hidroeléctrica de la Montaña

PSEF Board Member

Jim Johnson is Director of Research at Cooperativa Hidroeléctrica de la Montaña in Utuado, Puerto Rico. Working remotely, he performs research, editing and grant-writing functions. He previously worked in real estate consulting, downtown development, affordable housing finance, application development and technical marketing. Jim holds a B.A. in English, M.A. in Latin American Studies, M.S. in Real Estate and Ph.D. in Urban Planning and Public Policy. He has served on numerous nonprofit boards involved in urban development and affordable housing and on City of Fort Worth advisory committees related to urban planning and community development. He joined the PSEF board in July 2022.

Mela Bush-Miles

Co-op Power

PSEF Board Member

Pamela Bush Miles is a nationally recognized climate and environmental justice activist and organizer with over 20 years of experience building organizations, programs and movements that achieve climate and transit equity wins for low-income communities and communities of color.  Initially inspired by her children’s battles for air and for life against debilitating asthma, Mela has worked tirelessly to eliminate pollutants in the low-income communities where she lived and worked. As the regional expert in public transit equity Mela organized communities in a 20 mile area to advocate for and eventually achieve commuter rail stops in low-income communities.  These stops became vital for building economic empowerment in formerly blighted communities.

Denise Abdul-Rahman

PSEF Board Member

Denise Abdul-Rahman is the Midwest and Plain States Regional Field Organizer for the National NAACP Environmental Climate Justice Program (ECJP). She holds a BS in management, MBA in healthcare management, and a health informatics designation from Indiana University School of Informatics and is a Black Women Foreign War Veteran of Desert Storm. Abdul-Rahman leads the support for building rooftop and community-owned solar, energy efficiency projects; Just Transportation and Equitable Goods Movement, models the Black Green Pipeline initiative, and provides equity and inclusion clean energy policy language that ramps minority business enterprises, fair chance, and geographic imperatives. Abdul-Rahman's most recent honors and recognition are Community Service Award 2021, Vote Solar Dr. Espanola Jackson Award 2020, Faith-Based Rev. Mozel Sanders Drum Major for Humanities Award 2020, Indiana University Robert McKinney School of Law Environmental Protector Award 2019, and the NAACP Indiana Hazel B. Hunter Award 2019. Abdul-Rahman serves the Environmental Resilience Institute Advisory Board and is the Vice President of the Midwest Renewable Energy Association Board. She has served in many other capacities, such as a Delegate to Paris COP 21 and a Delegate to Global Climate Action Summit.

Crystal Huang

People Power Solar Cooperative

PSEF Board Treasurer 

Crystal is a grassroots community-builder, a 2020 Roddenberry Fellow, and the CEO of People Power Solar Cooperative, with more than 10 years experience deploying climate solutions. She served as COO for Powerhouse, a solar incubator, and Founded CrossPollinators, which fosters collaboration among grassroots solutions. Nationally, Crystal is working with more than 30 local organizations to set up a mutual aid structure that serves as a collaborative resource and strategy center for organizations working to democratize energy. And she participated in the 2019 U.S. Grassroots Accelerator for Women Environmental Leaders powered by Women's Earth Alliance and Sierra Club.

Joseph McNeil

SAGE Development Authority

PSEF Board Member

Joseph McNeil is an enrolled member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, General Manager of the SAGE Development Authority, President of Standing Rock Development Corp/Rock Industries Corp. and Chairman for the Oyate CDFI/CU in Ft. Yates, N.D. He is married to Sheridan McNeil and share four children. He was recently awarded the Bush Foundation Fellowship for leadership (2019), M.I.T. Oceti Sakowin Inaugural Fellow (2018), is active for Indigenous rights, and community economic development. He earned his B.S. in Business Administration from Sitting Bull College. He is a former member of the Standing Rock Tribal Council and Sitting Bull College Board of Directors.

Ali Andrews

Shake Energy Collaborative

PSEF Board Clerk

Ali Andrews is the CEO of Shake Energy Collaborative, a women-owned public benefit corporation developing renewable energy projects that are designed and owned by the communities that host them. Shake was born out of research for her Masters in Design Impact at Stanford University in which Ali and her team explored designs for more meaningful, bidirectional community engagement in the energy industry. Ali has a background in climate research and environmental storytelling working on projects for NOAA, the State of Hawaiʻi, and the Polynesian Voyaging Society. Ali is an avid steerswoman of waʻa, currently steering her start-up in Honolulu, where Shake partners with communities historically excluded from energy ownership to design and develop community solar projects. Ali has an MS in Engineering Design Impact and a BA in Physics and Environmental Non-Fiction Writing.

Amy Bettle

Spark Northwest

PSEF Board Chair

Amy manages Spark Northwest’s Solarize and Energize programs, leading group purchase programs for solar and energy efficiency. She also conducts community education on renewable energy and advocates for policies supporting a just transition to clean energy. Most recently, Amy worked at the World Food Prize Foundation to coordinate an international conference on global food security formulated to drive food systems discourse and transformation. She collaborated with stakeholders across sectors and geographies to convene diverse thought leaders and mobilize policy action. Prior, she served Peace Corps Zambia as an Agriculture and Forestry Extension Agent until the global Covid-19 evacuation. As a Gilman Scholar, Amy conducted a research project for the UN Food and Agriculture Organization in Rome, Italy. The project evaluated the sustainability of commercializing in vitro meat, and Amy focused on the environmental impacts of this nascent technology. Amy graduated from Iowa State University with a double degree in Environmental Science, B.S. and Event Management, B.S. Outside of work, Amy enjoys building community through cooking, outdoor exploring, coordinating mutual aid, and organizing for racial and climate justice.

PSEF Credit Advisory Committee

Glynn Lloyd

PSEF Credit Advisory Committee Member

Glynn has been a pioneer in the field of transformative urban economic development for over 25 years. He is the President and Founder of City Fresh Foods and is currently the Executive Director of the Foundation for Business Equity for Eastern Bank. The Foundation's first initiative is The Business Equity Initiative designed to scale up local Black and Latino enterprises in Eastern MA. Over the last

few decades, Glynn has been involved in the local food movement more recently in helping to establish The Urban Farming Institute, whose mission is to support urban residents in the production of their own food for improved health and community resiliency. Glynn has also worked for Boston Impact Initiative and is a founding member of Boston Metro East Community Energy Co-op where he served on the Board for many years.

Mark Dennes

PSEF Credit Advisory Committee Member

Mark Dennes is the Vice President, Finance of Catalyze. Mr. Dennes has 30 years of experience across investment, financial advisory, asset management and investment banking focused on energy and sustainable businesses. He has provided financing for over 60 transactions representing $17 BN and provided commitments to corporate credit facilities representing $14 BN. Mr. Dennes has raised capital from many sources including VC, PE and lenders, as well as from federal and state grant programs. He is a member of the Advisory Board for the Simon Business School at the University of Rochester. Mr. Dennes has extensive experience with a broad range of technologies related to renewable energy (wind, solar PV, solar thermal, biomass, hydropower, biofuels, etc.), storage, recycling, agribusiness, transportation, electric motors, green chemistry, lighting, water purification and wastewater treatment.