Our 2015 Honorees, Sponsors, and Planning Committee

About the 2015 Honorees     2015 Sponsors    2015 Planning Committee

2015 Tribute to Change Honorees

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Iris Brown & Tomasita Romero

Amy Laura Cahn

Mitch Chanin

Earth Quaker Action Team

Eastwick Friends & Neighbors Coalition


Paul Robeson Lifetime Achievement Award/ Iris Brown & Tomasita Romero/ This award is given to people who have made outstanding contributions to social change recently or throughout their lifetimes.

photo of Iris Brown and Tomasita Romero

Lifelong activists Iris Brown and Tomasita Romero founded Grupo Motivos, a collective of Puerto Rican women that worked with West Kensington residents in the 1980s to establish the Norris Square gardens. These women reclaimed blighted vacant land in their neighborhood that had been utilized as an open drug market and created beautiful community gardens that are treasured by neighborhood residents. Now part of Norris Square Neighborhood Project, the gardens showcase Puerto Rican culture, provide communal gathering spaces, and create service and recreational opportunities for local youth. Community members cook meals in the outdoor kitchen, host neighborhood events, and grow vegetables, traditional herbs, and flowers in the gardens. After decades of organizing their community, Iris and Tomasita continue to envision new ways to celebrate Puerto Rican culture through horticulture.

Trailblazer Award/ Amy Laura Cahn/ This award is given to an outstanding leader in community organizing who has helped to pave the way for others.

photo of Amy Laura Cahn

Amy Laura Cahn is a staff attorney at the Public Interest Law Center, where she works primarily on environmental justice. Through a 2011 Skadden Fellowship, Amy Laura launched the Garden Justice Legal Initiative, which uses law and organizing to support Philadelphia community gardens and farms. Since 2012 Amy Laura has also worked with the Eastwick Friends & Neighbors Coalition to ensure residents a meaningful and equitable voice in the future of their environmentally vulnerable neighborhood. A graduate of University of Pennsylvania Law School and Hunter College, Amy Laura currently serves as an appointed member to the Philadelphia Mayor’s Food Policy Advisory Council and on the boards of the Neighborhood Gardens Trust and Bread & Roses Community Fund.

Emerging Leader Award/ Mitch Chanin/ This award is given to an individual who is beginning to make their mark as a community organizer.

photo of Mitch Chanin

Mitch Chanin serves on the steering committee of 350 Philly, an organization that fights for the solutions to the climate crisis that science and justice demand. Born and raised in Northeast Philadelphia, Mitch has worked with a wide variety of social justice organizations as a volunteer and a paid organizer for 19 years, and in recent years has been focusing on the environmental justice movement. He has helped mobilize hundreds of Philadelphians to attend the People’s Climate March; has called on elected officials to protect the public from the threat of oil train explosions here in Philadelphia; has worked on campaigns to convince public sector pension funds and local foundations to divest from fossil fuel companies; and is building alliances between environmental, labor, and community organizations in the Philadelphia region.

Community Empowerment Award/ Earth Quaker Action Team/ This award is given to a community organization, union or campaign that has accomplished a great deal for change, not charity

photo of Earth Quaker Action Team

photo credit: Kaytee Ray-Riek

Earth Quaker Action Team (EQAT) is a grassroots, nonviolent social action group that joins millions of people around the world fighting for a just and sustainable economy. EQAT was founded by Quakers but is inclusive of people of all faiths or no faith. After five years of escalating direct actions, EQAT recently succeeded in convincing the executives of PNC Bank to divest from mountaintop removal coal mining. Now EQAT is challenging energy corporations, starting with PECO, to create jobs and benefit low-income communities of color by shifting to locally generated solar rooftop power for electricity.

Community Empowerment Award/ Eastwick Friends & Neighbors Coalition/ This award is given to a community organization, union or campaign that has accomplished a great deal for change, not charity

Photo of Eastwick Friends & Neighbors Coalition

photo credit: Autumn Stein

Community empowerment defines what Eastwick Friends & Neighbors Coalition (EFNC) has achieved in its first three years. EFNC is a grassroots coalition of Eastwick residents and stakeholders whose mission is to improve the quality of life for residents of Eastwick, ensure optimal environmental and ecological quality for Eastwick, and increase Eastwick’s economic growth and vitality. Eastwick residents endure chronic flooding and pollution from nearby oil refineries, the international airport, and I-95. EFNC has mobilized the Eastwick community to assert itself in calling for current and historical environmental injustices to be addressed and in demanding that residents be given an active role in shaping the future of the community.

Click here for more information about the 2015 Tribute to Change


2015 Tribute to Change Sponsors


Connie & Terry Dellmuth

Resource Generation, Philadelphia Chapter


William & Debbie Becker

Amy Laura Cahn & Natalie Costa

Steve & Barbara Gold

Andy Lamas & Ginny Vanderslice

Walden Asset Management


Lee Alter

Lis & Stuart Bass

Brian T. Baxter & Ilene W. Shane

Patrick & Jessica Cahn

William & Anne Ewing

Molly Frantz

Mary Goldman

David W. Haas

Leeway Foundation

Sara Nerken

Liz Werthan and Bob Brand


Rebecca Alpert & Christine Balka

Richard and Mary Ann Baron

Gene Bishop & Andrew Stone

Julie Bradburd & Brad Bradburd

Marty Brigham & Harriet Rubenstein

Jolley Christman

Casey Cook & Shauna Swartz

Joan Kathleen Davitt

Gloria Gilman & Joshua Rubinsky

Alison Hastings

Jenny Anne & Galen Horst-Martz

JJ Tiziou Photography

Jennifer Jordan & Rose White

Henry Nicholas

Catherine Ormerod

Philadelphia FIGHT

The Phoebus Fund

Leah Pillsbury

Irit Reinheimer

Susan Schewel

Tswana Sewell

Denise Scott Brown Venturi & Robert Venturi

Ken & Judy Weinstein


Irv Ackelsberg & Pat Urevick

AFSCME District Council 47

J. Bob Alotta, Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice

Judith Bernstein-Baker

Drick Boyd

Amadee Braxton

John Braxton & Marcy Morgan

Denise Brown

Judy Buchanan & Jim Parker

Canopy Consulting, Inc.

Harvey & Jan Chanin

Clean Air Council

Sherrie Cohen

Ann de Forest & Joseph Farrell

Joan Duckenfield

Helen & Leonard Evelev

Jill Feldstein

Harvey Finkle

Karen & Stuart Gansky

Patrice Green

Nadia Hewka

Jean Hunt

Johnny Irizarry

Itinerant Ink

Andrea Jacobs

Sara Jacobson

Mytili Jagannathan

Maura Kelly

George Lakey

Scott & Nan Langen Steketee

Joyce Lieberman

Jonathan Lipman

Rufus & Verita Lynch

Jerry Macdonald & David Acosta

Carolyn McCoy & Bill Sanderson

Nisha Nayak

Ezra Nepon

Erika Owens

Mariana and Marcela Pardes

Farrah Parkes

John & Bonnie Raines

Fabricio & Emily Rodriguez

Mary Catherine Roper

Rosalind Spigel, MSOD

JoAnn Seaver & William Van Stone

Special Vacations

Jonathan & Judith Stein

Rebecca Subar

Joel & Audrey Swartz

Therapy Center of Philadelphia

DJ Thornton

Charles Thrall & Sally Simmons

Elizabeth Thul

Walter Tsou

Emily Wyner


2015 Tribute to Change Planning Committee

David Acosta

Lis Bass

Amadee Braxton

Nelson Carrasquillo

Gloria Gilman

John Grant

Jean Hunt

Sara Jacobson

Mia-lia Kiernan

Tswana Sewell