Is this your first time attending the SAFSF Forum or participating in an SAFSF event? Or have you participated in the network for many years and are interested in learning how to make the most of this year’s online format to make peer connections and customize your engagement?
We invite you to join us for an informal welcome to the SAFSF network, and an opportunity to connect with peers and connect with friendly peer faces you’ll be able to recognize on Zoom throughout the rest of the Forum. We’ll also share some tips and tricks to help you take full advantage of the online Forum experience.
Virginia Clarke is the executive director of Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems Funders (SAFSF), a network of grantmakers working to strengthen connections, build capacity, and foster collaboration of the philanthropic and investment communities in support of vibrant, healthy and just food and farm systems. She has led the network in its growth and impact since starting with SAFSF in 2003 as a part-time coordinator. Prior to SAFSF, she worked with a variety of international education programs including the University of California’s Education Abroad Program as the regional director assistant for Asia and Africa, and the Salzburg Seminar in Austria where she was a program director and led outreach efforts in Latin America. Other life/work opportunities involved a stint at the World Bank; leading a management reorganization for a private clothing manufacturer; assisting immigrants in their efforts to secure legal residency in the U.S.; and creating/running a restitution project for juvenile offenders in Western Massachusetts. Her fluency in Spanish stems from living and working in Spain, Bolivia and Mexico. Virginia has a Masters in International Administration from the School for International Training and a B.A. with honors in Spanish from the University of California, Santa Barbara. A TEDx Manhattan alumni (2014), Virginia lives in Santa Barbara, CA and has two daughters.
Renee Brooks Catacalos joined SAFSF in 2019 with decades of experience in association management, communications, and food systems and sustainable agriculture work. In her current position, she is focused on strengthening outreach to members and the broader philanthropic community, creating opportunities for member engagement and benefit, leveraging new resource partnerships, and positioning SAFSF as the leading voice for sustainable agriculture and food systems philanthropy. Renee is a former Foreign Service officer, having served tours in Mexico City, Mexico and Istanbul, Turkey. She has served in various communications, management and business development capacities with the Houston Association of Realtors, the Houston International Protocol Alliance, VOLLMER Public Relations, Future Harvest – Chesapeake Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture, and the American Institute of Architects, Potomac Valley Chapter. Additionally, Renee was publisher and editor of Edible Chesapeake magazine from 2006-2009 and has served on the boards of ECO City Farms, FRESHFARM Markets, and the Neighborhood Design Center. She is currently on the Steering Team of the Chesapeake Foodshed Network (CFN). Her first book, The Chesapeake Table: Your Guide to Eating Local, was published in October 2018 by Johns Hopkins University Press.