Profile of Lori Grace

Pioneer Philanthropist, and Marin Clean Energy Supporter and Investor

Interviewed on February 20, 2011, by Ann Hancock, Climate Protection

Lori provided a $300,000 loan, a $25,000 contribution and lots of hands-on work to get Marin Clean Energy launched. What’s her background? What inspired her? And looking back, what advice does she have for other communities?

Highlights of Lori’s background:

  • Grew up in Manhattan, but always had a deep longing to live in the country
  • Earned her masters degree in psychology from Sonoma State University
  • Has one son and a great love of family
  • Involved in election integrity issues
  • Founded and supports the Sunrise Center in Corte Madera, and an eco-farm on Maui
  • Studied non-violent communication for 12 years; taught it for 10
  • Brought together peers in 1982 to found the Threshold Foundation
  • Heard Al Gore speak in 2006 and was so moved that she felt like the earth was calling to her; subsequently trained with Gore

“My deepest drive is to create a planet that sustains life – a decent place for my son and other people’s children to live. The only way I give my life peace and purpose is to dedicate myself to this. I would like my tombstone to read, ‘Made a profound contribution to the health of the planet and to peace in the hearts of many people.”

“Marin Clean Energy (MCE) was a way I could fulfill my deepest drive and dedication to create a planet that sustains life. I talked to my investment advisor about making a loan to Marin Clean Energy, and thought it looked great. Despite this, I definitely felt that my money was at risk. The only way I could deal with this was to get actively involved in making MCE happen. I signed on to the program early, attended Board meetings, donated gifts for raffles and worked at booths helping to fight Prop. 16. In January of this year, my loan was paid back in full plus interest. I was recognized for my support by MCE.”

“My advice for leaders in other communities is to create a business plan, follow Marin’s model to access existing sources of renewable energy, and build community support by getting the word out to people including through the media. Let potential customers know that they can have green energy without putting out any more money. Launching a Community Choice Aggregation in other communities might be easier than it was in Marin for a number of reasons, so be bold.”