Earthjustice Appoints Three New Trustees to Its Board

Melanie Newman, Greg Avis, and Chris Hensman bring a wealth of expertise, perspective, and foresight to guide Earthjustice’s vision.


Bala Sivaraman, Earthjustice,

Earthjustice is incredibly fortunate to announce the addition of three new members to the organization’s Board of Trustees: Melanie Newman, Greg Avis, and Chris Hensman. 

“Earthjustice is so incredibly fortunate to have these three amazing leaders join our Board”, said Earthjustice President Abigail Dillen. “Chris, Greg, and Melanie embody everything that matters most to the success of Earthjustice – a deep commitment to service leadership, worldclass expertise, stellar strategic sense, a practical drive to action, and shining integrity and kindness. I am so thrilled to work with each of them in these make-or-break years for the future of our planet.”

Melanie Newman currently serves as Senior Vice President of Communications at Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) and the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, and has shaped strategic communications efforts for some of the most prominent nonprofit and governmental institutions, including the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Office of Management and Budget, and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development under the Obama administration. Newman brings with her a deep expertise navigating board-staff relations in order to best support an organization’s programmatic and strategic work.

“The intersection of race, health, and environmental protection is my core focus”, said Newman. “Earthjustice’s commitment to prioritizing environmental justice at every step of its vital work was crucial to my joining the Board.”

Greg Avis is managing partner of the private impact investing firm Bangtail Partners, cofounder and former managing director of Summit Partners, and a veteran teacher of mathematics at East College Preparatory School in Palo Alto, CA. Avis has served on the boards of over fifty public and private organizations, including the National Outdoor Leadership School, Silicon Valley Community Foundation, and served as chair of the Accion Opportunity Fund. He holds a wealth of experience in board governance and leadership, fundraising, strategic planning, investment strategy and oversight.

“Earthjustice’s dedication to protecting people’s health, preserving wildlife, advancing clean energy, and combating climate change are the challenges of our time”, Avis said, reflecting on his decision to join the Board. “The organization stands out because of its essential mission, committed and talented people, and a culture that promotes inquiry, honesty, and transparency.”

As Chief Strategy Officer at Houston Habitat for Humanity, Chris Hensman works to close the affordable housing gap by taking a systems level approach that prioritizes frontline communities’ lived experiences.

“Living on the Gulf Coast, we see up close the impacts of how we treat our planet on our communities — from ozone and extreme heat keeping my kids from playing outside to environmental contamination restricting where we can safely build housing. I believe that the needs, history, and well-being of communities need to be balanced with the needs of the planet”, said Hensman. “I hope to be a voice on the Board to balance the needs and concerns of communities with the environmental objectives that we are pursuing”.

About Earthjustice

Earthjustice is the premier nonprofit environmental law organization. We wield the power of law and the strength of partnership to protect people's health, to preserve magnificent places and wildlife, to advance clean energy, and to combat climate change. We are here because the earth needs a good lawyer.