Kara Sheppard-Jones is based in Tiohtià:ke/Montréal and joined the Energy Transition Fund in the winter of 2023 as the 2nd Canada Programme officer. She’s spent the past 4 years working as a researcher at the Social Innovation + Change Initiative at Harvard Kennedy School, working on a book on power and the politics of change and supporting Democratizing work, a network of engaged women academics advancing a paradigm shift away from neoliberal capitalism. She has also worked as an electoral organizer and campaign manager for several movement-based candidates in Quebec, most recently flipping one of the few seats for the progressive Quebec Solidaire party, sending an anti-racist and anti-islamophobia advocate to parlement. She was trained through Movement School, a US-based organization made up of former AOC staffers, who are training a new generation of progressive organizers at the intersection of movements and elections. At ETF, Kara brings her knowledge of movements, organizing, and power to build synergies between climate and other movements and build out the movement’s capacity to build and deploy the power needed to win.
She has a Master’s degree in Political Science from McGill University on state-society relations and intersectional organizing in Québec and a B.A. in political science from Yale University specialized in political economy.
What’s something about you that would surprise others to know:
I studied abroad at the University of Havana during university!
Organization: Energy Transition Fund
What unique role do you or your organization play in the progressive movement in Canada?
We are a movement-aligned re-granter, who regrants funds to social movement organizing that tackles the pillars of support of the fossil fuel industry and builds support for a just transition.
What part of movement infrastructure are you interested in building in the next decade?
I’m a big believer in training to build relationships, common language, test hard/new things, and expand the movement. I’m especially curious about organizing training, communications, data & digital.
Mission & Mandate
ETF supports social movements and frontline organizing in key geographies in the global North and global South that are critical to halting oil and gas expansion and securing phase out and a just transition.
Who is your audience? Who are you trying to influence and engage?
Our movement partners, who themselves influence legislators, regulators, the general public, climate concerned and alarmed Canadians, Indigenous communities, corporations, etc.
One thing people might not know about your organization
We work internationally and are only 2 people who managing our regranting in Canada.
A win you’re celebrating with your organization
Having secured some multiyear funding ourselves, we’ve been able to double the number of multi-year grants we have offered to our partners.
A challenge you’re working through with your organization
How to stay laser focused on one part of the movement we can be accountable for, while acknowledging that we must build power across movements and reach beyond the usual climate base to craft a popular vision of a just transition and to build the power to win such a change.