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Anna Claussen

IATP’s very own Anna Claussen, Director of Rural Strategies, is one of three people recently awarded one of three prestigious Nathan Cummings Foundation Fellowships. Fellows are awarded 18 months of support to turn an inspired idea, in the field of social justice, into a world-changing reality to combat issues of inequality and climate change.

Anna’s idea that rural communities themselves held the answers to addressing climate change provided the spark for the Rural Climate Dialogues, a joint IATP and Jefferson Center Project launched in 2014. As a Nathan Cummings Foundation Fellow, Anna will expand on the idea, building tools to elevate the voices of rural Americans to advance inclusive climate change policies. Understanding empathy as a prerequisite to partnership, her work will leverage cultural narratives, transformative stories, and immersive experiences to invite fresh views on the power of rural communities to mitigate and adapt to climate change.

“Rural resistance to climate action has been viewed as a messaging problem by many, rather than a call to better understand the challenges of rural community members and design a new approach to climate policy that is reflective of their situations. Furthermore, in the desperation to tackle our climate crisis, we also need to reclaim our common humanity as a country. With a thoughtful approach, we can do both simultaneously, with greater positive impact.”

IATP is thrilled for Anna and for the promise her work holds and thrilled, too, that during her Fellowship Anna will serve as an Advisor to IATP’s Rural Communities Team. Tara Ritter, Senior Program Associate for Climate and Rural Communities will be stepping up to lead the IATP rural climate dialogue work.

The Nathan Cummings Foundation is a multigenerational family foundation focused on finding solutions to the two most challenging problems of our time—the climate crisis and growing inequality.