A Tribute to our Executive Director: Adriana Voss-Andreae

Adriana - CopyIn this season of gratitude, we’ve been thinking about how thankful we are for our incomparable Executive Director, Dr. Adriana Voss-Andreae.

350PDX started with little more than a list of names and email addresses collected at Bill McKibben’s Do the Math Tour event in Portland in November 2012. But it took Adriana to get 350PDX going by hosting a showing of a 350.org webinar in the spring of 2013 and bringing together most of what would be the initial leadership. For the next two years—until this past June when we were finally able to open an office—she shared her home with 350PDX, hosting multiple meetings nearly every week. With both an MD and a PhD in neuroscience, Adriana has many other options, but feeling driven by the urgency of the climate crisis, and recognizing the unprecedented opportunity our movement offers for addressing climate justice, she has devoted herself to this cause.

By summer of 2013 our website was created, we had a team talking to City of Portland and Multnomah County commissioners about fossil fuel divestment, and Adriana was busy recruiting others to work with us. And when we officially became a 501(c)(3) in the fall of 2014, Adriana was the obvious choice to chair the board, our first President.

From the beginning, Adriana has been involved in nearly every part our organization— attending meetings of, and sometimes leading, our teams. Her hand is in every grant we write, she supervises our two staff, meets with potential volunteers and donors, develops relationships with ally organizations, hosts meetings, fundraisers and parties, deals with every crisis, keeps in touch with what every arm of 350PDX is doing and is our liaison with 350.org.

She made sure Portland would have a Peoples’ Climate March by taking the lead in organizing a coalition to put on the largest climate demonstration Oregon has ever seen. When Shell sent its icebreaker to Portland for repair, she was under the St. Johns Bridge helping our blockade run smoothly. When it was clear that we needed to take the next step and get an office and paid staff, Adriana personally visited every prospect and chose our current home at Central Lutheran, and she worked tirelessly to ensure success of the first grants and fundraising drives that secured the money we needed to hire our fabulous organizer, Mia. Then she stepped up yet again and assumed the role of pro bono Executive Director, working essentially full-time in the office to help us get established. That’s right, pro bono— she did all this despite the fact that 350PDX couldn’t, at the time, afford to pay her. That’s dedication!

These are only some of the many things she does—it’s more than we can keep track of!—but we know 350PDX is growing and thriving in large part because of what she has done over the past nearly three years and continues to do every day.

How does a woman with a family that includes four young children manage all this? By working more than full time, juggling constantly, and giving up a lot of sleep—and by relying on the considerable support of her husband Julian and her whole extended family. And so, for you Adriana, and your incredible family, we are extremely grateful!