Helen V. ChinProgram Director, Sustainable Environments – With Surdna since May 2008

Helen Chin serves as the Program Director for Sustainable Environments at the Surdna Foundation. The Sustainable Environments Program focuses on “next generation infrastructure” to improve transit systems, advance energy systems, better manage our water systems and rebuild regional food systems. Focusing on urban areas and their surrounding suburbs, the program supports solutions that connect and improve these infrastructure systems in ways that maximize positive impacts and minimize negative environmental, economic and social consequences.

Prior to joining the foundation, Helen worked for West Harlem Environmental Action (WE ACT), leading initiatives on land use planning and transportation that were identified as core concerns by the community and New York City to advance its sustainability efforts. Helen also worked as Acting Deputy Director at the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), based in Yarmouthport, MA, where she managed a grant portfolio that designed and supported programs in over 15 countries, providing indigenous communities with the skills and resources needed to preserve and protect natural resources and wildlife habitat. She spent a significant amount of time in Africa and Asia working directly with communities, and then she went on to consult for the Wildlife Trust of India, living in India for almost a year before returning to the U.S. Before joining IFAW, she was the Community Programs Manager at the New England Aquarium, where she created outreach and educational programs to cultivate relationships between urban families and leadership development programs to engage young people. Prior to that, she held positions with the Natural Resources Defense Council working on national environmental policies.

She holds a Master of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning from Tufts University and received her undergraduate degree in Political Science and Marketing at Pace University. Helen serves on the board of the Environmental Grantmakers Association.

Fostering sustainable communities in the United States — communities guided by principles of social justice and distinguished by healthy environments, strong local economies, and thriving cultures.