Riff City: Riff announces new President, partners sweep Fast Company World Changing Ideas list, advance climate justice solutions
We are on the verge of the most transformative climate policy in our nation’s history thanks to movement organizations, activists, and academics! During a time when so much is at stake, Riff City is privileged to help build movements and brands that matter to fight back!
On the heels of being named by Fast Company as one of the World’s Most Innovative companies, we’re thrilled to announce Jess Montejano has been named Riff’s new president!
Four years ago, Jess came aboard to launch the now powerhouse progressive donor and strategy hub Way to Win and help guide public affairs for Cruise’s all-electric self-driving rides. The former James Beard award winner turned trusted social justice + tech comms confidant has helped grow Riff’s revenue 300%, quadruple our headcount, and most importantly, our impact. We’re just getting started!
Congratulations, Jess — we are SO lucky to have you!
We’re also excited to celebrate a number of our partners whose efforts were recently recognized by Fast Company as a “world-changing idea” for showing a glimpse into the future. See our Riff partner spotlight below!
P.S. If anyone in your network is looking for a new start and would like to work with Jess and the Riff team – we’re hiring!
Donors of Color Network
In 2021, we helped launch the Climate Funders Justice Pledge to shift climate philanthropy toward racial and economic justice in a field where only 1.3% of funding goes to BIPOC-led organizations. With the future of our planet at a tipping point, our work with Donors of Color Network to build a winning and equitable climate movement is more important than ever.
In just one year, its pledge – which asks funders to publicly share their climate funding and to direct at least 30% of their funding to BIPOC-led justice-focused groups — identified and secured a new $100 million funding baseline for BIPOC organizations to build a stronger, more inclusive climate movement. A special shoutout to fellow Riff partners, The Kresge Foundation and Pisces Foundation, whose support as inaugural supporters is playing a critical role in the campaign’s success!
To top it off, the pledge recently snagged two honors from the Fast Company World Changing Ideas award: a finalist spot in the social justice category and an honorable mention in the climate category.
With the EPA’s reduced ability to fight back against CO2 emissions, local and state governments need to step up and cut old bureaucratic red tape that stands in the way of putting solar on roofs and creating new jobs.
In partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Accela is rising to the occasion with its SolarAPP+ product, which expedites local government solar panel permitting processes. Now solar energy can be installed with unprecedented speed and ease, an innovation that also earned recognition as a Fast Company World Changing Idea.
The manufacturing industry is in need of a reboot. Ongoing supply chain disruptions reinforce the critical importance of localized production. And as a top contributor to climate change, we must rapidly green manufacturing.
Seurat Technologies is setting the standard for clean energy alternatives for metal manufacturing — without compromising speed and efficiency. Even better? They’re bringing these solutions to the mainstream.
The company recently announced that it will power its 3D metal printing depots with 100% green energy to decarbonize manufacturing and help the world achieve net-zero emissions. Learn more about the movement to reinvent manufacturing in The Economist and GreenBiz!
Since we last touched base, Cruise became the first AV company to be approved to go commercial!
Moreover, Cruise has now delivered 2M+ meals to residents in need in partnership with the SF Marin Food Bank & SF New Deal, which just earned the San Francisco Business Times Beyond the Check award. That very initiative — completed with 100% renewable energy — is also powered in part by the company’s Fast Co. World Changing Idea Farm to Fleet program, which sources renewable energy directly from farmers in the Central Valley.
Social impact is core to Cruise’s mission to launch the sustainable transportation of the future. We couldn’t be more thrilled to be along for the ride!
New Client Spotlight
We’re pleased to welcome two new companies to our portfolio of social impact leaders!
With the demand for electric vehicles stronger than ever, Volta’s charging network is ensuring this sustainable transportation is both affordable and accessible. Riff partnered with Volta to develop and launch its Charging for All initiative to help eliminate charging deserts across the country!
Supply chain complications, labor and materials shortages, and inflation make it difficult for contractors to stay on time and budget. The Tiger Global-backed Kojo is making it faster, easier, and more sustainable to build the world around us. The construction procurement platform empowers contractors to take control of their margins by consolidating the procurement process onto one, all-inclusive digital platform. Read more in VentureBeat about their recent rebrand and expansion!
The new school year is right around the corner, and we’d be remiss if we didn’t celebrate the reopening of the Rosa Parks Elementary School chicken coop!
The Western Addition school’s chickens are part of its vibrant and diverse environmental education, and the ribbon cutting ceremony celebrated the community effort to design, fund, and construct a new coop after a long hiatus due to pandemic-caused distance learning. It was an awesome opportunity to support a strong outdoor education program and help students learn about our feathered friends. And the first batch of eggs made for a great breakfast!
Other Stories We Are Riffing About:
- New York Times: Democrats’ Plan to Win in 2022 Looks a Lot Like 2020 and 2018
- The Atlantic: Are Latinos Really Realigning Toward Republicans?
- TechCrunch: Self-driving company Cruise on track for early commercial operations in 2022
- Los Angeles Times: Progressives are making a multimillion-dollar bet on an unorthodox strategy to win Arizona
- Forbes: Volta Launches Program to make EV Charging More Accessible, Affordable
- Built in Boston: Seurat Technologies Is on a Hiring Spree With Aims to Grow Team 10x by 2025
- American City and County: Amid tech labor shortage, outsourcing digital services could provide relief
- Smart Cities Dive: Don’t forget about the creative community in the rebuild of US infrastructure
- WeedWeek: Two tech startups changing weed retail
- NY Cannabis Insider: Bringing QR codes to NY’s cannabis market: a Q&A with Lucid Green’s Jack Haworth
- Inside Philanthropy: Way to Win wants to keep the blue wave going this year. Can it?
- Inside Philanthropy: An alternative model for the restaurant industry blooms with the help of philanthropy
- NPR: Fund secures $100M million to benefit climate change initiatives for people of color
- New York Times: ‘I Felt Trapped’: Sexual Abuse of Teens in the Military’s J.R.O.T.C. Program
- The 19th: Latina veterans saw themselves in Vanessa Guillen. A new documentary tells their stories.
- Forbes: Who decides matters: How the environmental movement is democratizing and diversifying
- Associated Press: How racism still affects millionaire donors of color: report
- Honeysuckle Magazine: Dutchie Pay: Dutchie Launches A Cashless Future For Cannabis
- Forbes: Cannabis Consumers Can Forget Cash With Dutchie’s New Digital Payment System
- Inside Philanthropy: What Happens When Environmental Movement Leaders Make Funding Decisions?
Wishing you a bit more fun and sun this summer! In the meantime, stay safe and healthy, everyone.