Vision and Mission

Sustain Dane’s vision is a thriving and connected community with a sustainable environment and economy we are proud to pass on to future generations. Our mission is to inspire, connect, and support people to accelerate sustainable actions for community wellbeing.

Meet Our Team

Claire Oleksiak

Executive Director

As Executive Director Claire aims to accelerate a sustainable environment and economy that benefits all members of our community. Claire is passionate about innovation, collaboration, and social impact. Prior to joining Sustain Dane, she worked as the Community Services Manager for the City of Madison Parks Division.  In that role, she facilitated partnerships with public and private organizations, managed community facilities, and implemented the Connecting Children to Nature Initiative. Claire also worked on local community and economic development in Washington, DC for 10 years. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Cornell University and a master’s degree from Oxford University. She grew up in Madison, WI. Reach out to Claire about strategic partnerships, your thoughts on sustainability opportunities and challenges, and any other questions related to Sustain Dane overall

Lorenza Zebell

Sustainability Project Manager

Lorenza develops and manages the Accelerate Sustainability workshops, one-on-one assistance, and tracking of our partner’s sustainable impacts. She believes taking sustainable actions large and small can create a more secure, fair, and prosperous future for our community and beyond. Lorenza was a dedicated volunteer with Sustain Dane for years before accepting this position. She holds a degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Operations and Sustainability. Prior to her work with Sustain Dane she ran WSUM 91.7 FM Madison’s student radio station. Reach out to Lorenza for more information on engaging with sustainability at your organization.

Lucia Hunt

Member Relations and Development Specialist

As the Member Relations and Development Specialist at Sustain Dane, Lucia leads membership outreach and engagement, grants, and program sponsorship. Previously, Lucia worked with REAP Food Group to promote a more equitable and interconnected local food system in South Central Wisconsin. Before that, she worked as a project manager for Epic Systems. Lucia holds a bachelor’s degree in Geography from Macalester College, and she is passionate about analyzing and engaging with the layered systems and actors that play into urban sustainability. Reach out to Lucia with questions related to membership, donations, or sponsorships.

Kai Brito

NOAH Outreach Specialist & Multimedia Producer

Kai coordinates the Naturally Occurring and Affordable Housing (NOAH) projects at Sustain Dane. He also is a video producer and content creator with a passion for sustainability. His personal experiences with poverty and race drew him to the affordable housing sector, an area where improving sustainability metrics can improve both financial wellbeing and personal health. That is why he holds dual roles as a housing advocate and media personal, to help tell the stories of the most vulnerable people who are fighting for our planet. As an environmental storyteller, his secret for creating compelling narratives is to focus on human subjects and their relationships with their communities and the Earth. Kai graduated from UW-Madison with a degree in Environmental Science – Geospatial Focus. Additionally, he creates content for the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies and produces a morning talk show on WORT Radio. Reach out to Kai for questions on NOAH incentives and home-installations or photography & video project proposals.

Interns & Volunteers

Joie Zhang

Intern

As an intern, Joie coordinates volunteer programs and helps run social media at Sustain Dane. She is passionate about exploring the intersection between design and sustainability and its ability to connect communities. Currently she works at an architecture firm and recently graduated from Washington University in St. Louis with a bachelor’s degree in architecture and environmental studies.

Liz Hader

Intern

Liz is a junior at UW Madison getting a degree in Art and a certificate in Entrepreneurship. In the future she hopes to own her own upcycled thrift store where she finds items that would have otherwise been thrown away and upcycles them to be sold (ie: tie dye, screenprint, cut, sew, etc.) Additionally, one of her goals would be to run a 3D art program out the back of her store where she would teach how to make 3D art out of the trash and packaging. She is incredibly passionate about this kind of art as it is one of the most sustainable and affordable ways of making artwork yet one of the least talked about/ taught forms of art. She is an intern at Sustain Dane because she believes creating an environmentally conscious and sustainable future is crucial for our planet.

Stephanie Janeth Salgado Altamirano

Intern

Stephanie is a sophomore with junior standing at UW-Madison pursuing a degree in Political Science and Environmental Studies. Five years ago she moved from Honduras with her family. By the time she graduated high school she became co-author of the book of Green Card Youth Voices and co-founder of the nonprofit Youth Climate Action Team. Her determination in the past has allowed her to be selected to serve on the Climate Change Task Force as the youngest member in the committee. She hopes to work for a non-profit or organization that helps communities of color and/or poor. Further into the future, she hopes to serve and represent her community as an elected official. As a Sustain Dane intern she believes that racial justice is environmental justice, a measure necessary to address if we want to look forward into the future.

James Gray

Intern

Jamie is a sophomore at Northwestern University majoring in Environmental Science. He is passionate about fighting climate change, and believes the kind of sustainability work Sustain Dane is doing is key to protecting our planet and ourselves. He is helping Sustain Dane manage and present its data. In his spare time, he enjoys playing Magic: the Gathering and spending time with his cats.

Taleah Levin

Intern

My name is Taleah Levin, and I am a sophomore from Seattle, Washington studying Retail and Consumer Behavior as well as Graphic Design at the university of Wisconsin-Madison. This generation’s responsibility is to flip the switch regarding sustainability practices and educate others, no matter their economic ability on how to be environmentally conscious. I am most passionate about design and understanding the way that people consume in this world and would hope that in the future I could start my own affordable and sustainable fashion brand. Being from the West Coast I am constantly inspired by the water, the trees and the mountains, and know that I want my own kids to be able to experience nature the way that I have done so in my life. However, for that to happen, we must work towards a change for the better as soon as we can. 

Job Opportunities

There are no current open positions, but feel free to express you interest in an email to hello@sustaindane.org

Sustain Dane Board

Robin Lisowski

Robin Lisowski

President

Slipstream

Steve Whayland

Steve Whayland

Vice President

DC Engineering

Jim Bradley

Jim Bradley

Treasurer & Secretary

Home Savings Bank

Mark Richardson

Mark Richardson

GigBlender

Ben Reynolds

Ben Reynolds

Reynolds Transfer and Storage

Amanda Goetsch

Amanda Goetsch

University of Wisconsin Sustainable Management

Richard Heinemann

Richard Heinemann

Boardman Clark LLP

Yvette Jones

Yvette Jones

designCraft Advertising

Dave Benforado

Dave Benforado

MG&E

Melissa Flores

Melissa Flores

Nordic Consulting

Missy F. Tracy

Missy F. Tracy

Ho-Chunk Gaming Madison

Tom Thompson

Tom Thompson

UW Health

Annual Reports

Learn more about our work throughout past years. Sustain Dane’s Annual Report is a summary of our impact and partnerships with innovative organizations and individuals.

History

Sustain Dane was founded in 1999 by a group of Madison community members including Brian Joiner, Niki McGlathery, Jennifer Olsen, and Per Kielland-Lund to create a more sustainable future for Dane County. They used the internationally recognized science-based sustainability framework called The Natural Step as their guide. In 2003, Sustain Dane received 501(c)(3) status and was officially recognized as a nonprofit. Sustain Dane programs have evolved over the years, positively impacting Dane County sustainability and wellbeing.

Past Board Members

  • Grant Abert, Kailo Fund, Sustain Dane Co-founder
  • Sara Alvarado, Alvarado Real Estate
  • Josh Arnold
  • Craig Benson, UW-Madison Office of Sustainability
  • Dave Boyer, MCD, Sustain Dane Co-founder
  • Karen Crossley, Morgridge Center for Public Service
  • Jonathon Foley
  • Jac Garner, Webcrafters
  • Jordan Hemaidan, Michael Best & Friedrich
  • Michael Hernke, Sustain Dane Co-founder
  • Joann Kelley, MGE
  • Brian Joiner, Joiner & Associates, Sustain Dane Co-Founder
  • Wendy Kuo, Shoutlet
  • Niki McGlathery
  • Annette Miller, EQT by Design
  • Vanika Mock
  • Rose Molz, EZ Office Products
  • Michael Mucha, Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District
  • Sonya Newenhouse, Madison Environmental Group
  • Leslie Orrantia, UW- Madison
  • Angela Pakes, UW-Madison
  • Jonathon Patz, UW Global Health Institute
  • Lisa Peyton-Caire, Black Women’s Wellness & Summit Credit Union
  • Erik Ranheim, UW Health
  • Cate Ranheim, Meriter
  • Rebecca Ryan, Next Generation Consulting
  • Willa Schlecht, Agrace & Numbers for Nonprofits
  • Ben Schmidt, Urban Land Interests
  • Jen Voichick, Habitat ReStore