Brief biographies of Bullitt Foundation staff.
Denis Hayes, President and CEO
A seasoned veteran of many legislative, cultural, and courtroom battles over the years, and the author of numerous books and articles, Denis Hayes is probably still best known for having been National Coordinator of the first Earth Day when he was 25. In addition to serving as President of the Bullitt Foundation, Denis is the immediate past chair of the boards of trustees of the Energy Foundation and of the American Solar Energy Society.
During the Carter Administration, Denis directed the federal National Renewable Energy Laboratory. He has been a visiting scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center and at the Bellagio Center in Italy. He has been a senior fellow at the Worldwatch Institute, an adjunct professor of engineering at Stanford University, and a Silicon Valley lawyer.
Internationally, Denis is recognized for having expanded Earth Day to more than 180 nations. It is now the world’s most widely observed secular holiday. Hayes remains the honorary chair of the Earth Day Network. Denis has received the national Jefferson Medal for Outstanding Public Service as well as the highest awards bestowed by the Sierra Club, the Humane Society of the United States, the National Wildlife Federation, the Natural Resources Council of America, the Global Environmental Facility, the Interfaith Center for Corporate Responsibility, the American Solar Energy Society, and the Commonwealth Club. He has served on dozens of governing boards, including those of Stanford University, the World Resources Institute, the Federation of American Scientists, the Energy Foundation, Children Now, the National Programming Council for Public Television, the American Solar Energy Society, Greenpeace, CERES, and the Environmental Grantmakers Association. Time magazine selected Hayes as one of its "Heroes of the Planet". He has been profiled as "Newsmaker of the week" by ABC News and as "Today’s Person in the News" by the New York Times.
At the Bullitt Foundation, Denis leads an effort to mold the American Pacific Northwest into a global model of sustainability. Focusing mostly on the region’s largest cities (Seattle, Portland, and Vancouver) and its dominant industries, the foundation applies principles of the science of ecology to the design of 'human ecosystems'. To "walk its talk", the foundation is currently designing and intends to construct and own the world’s greenest office building.
Rashad Morris, PROGRAM OFFICER
The Bullitt Foundation is pleased to welcome Rashad Morris as the new Energy, Industry and Technology program officer.
Morris brings a strong background in energy and climate policy to the Bullitt Foundation. As the principal staff member on Climate and Energy for the Washington Environmental Council, he was responsible for protecting I-937 (the renewable energy portfolio standard), WEC’s involvement in the Coal-Free Future for Washington campaign (the successful effort to phase out the Centralia coal-fired power plant), and the Washington State Emissions Performance Standard.
Morris has most recently served as a legislative assistant to Seattle City Councilmember Mike O’Brien. He is the volunteer co-director of Environmental Professionals of Color in Seattle and currently serves on the board of the Washington Environmental Council. He is deeply committed to integrating social justice with environmental sustainability.
Morris earned his law degree from Boalt Hall at the University of California at Berkeley and his bachelor’s degree in business administration from Loyola Marymount.
Mary McNair, Grants Assistant
A Pacific Northwest native, Mary McNair joined the Bullitt Foundation in 2013 as a Grants Assistant. Mary is delighted to work in the world’s first living commercial building and enjoys gazing at mountains every morning.
Mary has always engaged in environmentally friendly practices, but it wasn’t until she served as an agriculture and forestry Peace Corps volunteer in Africa that she became passionate about sustainability and environmental preservation. After her return, Mary briefly explored a career in city and state government but quickly decided to pursue a career in the non-profit sector. She earned her Master’s in Public Administration from the Evans School of Public Affairs at the University of Washington in 2010 with an emphasis on Non-Profit Management. Most recently she ran the Jumpstart program, supervising college students who taught Head Start preschool children. This work ignited her passion for promoting social justice, education and leadership; prompting her to complete the Community Leadership Program through the Asian and Pacific Islander Community Leadership Foundation (ACLF).
In her free time, Mary serves as a board member for ACLF, enjoys camping and hiking, plays soccer, and loves to cook.
Neelima Shah, Program Officer
Neelima Shah is passionate about protecting the natural environment and reducing human impact on it.
Prior to joining the Bullitt Foundation, Neelima managed the environment and civic charitable investments for The Boeing Company in the Northwest Region. During that time, she developed the company’s local grantmaking strategies in these areas and worked to leverage dollars with the power of employee and volunteer efforts. Prior to Boeing, Neelima was the Program Officer at the Henry M. Jackson Foundation where she had the opportunity to work with U.S. organizations in the areas of International Affairs Education, Environment and Public Service as well as Russian human rights NGOs.
Neelima is a 2005 American German Marshall Fund Fellow and a 2004 World Affairs Council Fellow. She earned her Masters’ of Public Administration at the University of Washington’s Daniel J. Evans School of Public Affairs in 2002 and was a guest instructor for a grant proposal writing class at the School in 2006.
Colleen Walsh, operations Manager
Colleen Walsh is the Bullitt Foundation's Operations Manager. Originally from Virginia, Colleen started making her way out west upon her college graduation when she joined the Jesuit Volunteer Corps, NW working in Missoula, Montana as a children’s advocate at the local YWCA and at the Missoula Food Bank. The extraordinary access to the wilderness that Missoula offered enticed her to stay for seven years after her year long volunteer experience. Colleen primarily worked in Child and Family Mental Health, utilizing the wilderness and outdoor activities in her therapies. She went on to earn her Masters in Social Work from the University of Montana- Go Griz! When she moved to Seattle in 2004, Colleen fought for the educational equity of youth in foster care as an Educational Advocate for Treehouse. After a rewarding career in social work, Colleen is thrilled to be a part of an organization that champions innovative and sustainable environmental and natural solutions for our Northwest corner of the world.
In her free time, Colleen finds balance through her yoga practice, running, tennis and exploring the outdoors.
Steven Whitney, Program Officer
When Steve Whitney was invited to join the Bullitt staff in 2000, he perceived an unprecedented opportunity to serve the environmental community and protect the ecosystems of the Pacific Northwest. His fourteen years with The Wilderness Society as director of its National Parks Program, Northwest Regional Director, and Deputy Vice President for Regional Conservation built on the time he had already spent in Washington D.C. as a public lands activist and lobbyist.
Steve has also served as a natural resource specialist with the National Parks Conservation Association, as Legislative Aide to then-Representative Leon Panetta, and as a board member of several non-profit organizations including Earth Ministry, Washington Environmental Council, and the Cascade Youth Symphony.
He is the immediate past President of the board of the Consultative Group on Biological Diversity, a national association of environmental foundations.
Steve grew up with an appreciation of wilderness and traces his career choices to the time he spent with his parents in Yosemite National Park. A parent himself, he proudly acknowledges the achievements of two talented daughters. He is a cyclist, and when not traversing trails under towering trees, Steve tends his own miniature bonsai forest.