TIAA-Divest! was founded in 2019 by Bill Kish and Iris Marie Bloom, who met protesting against the opening of the Cricket Valley fracked gas power plant in low-income Dover, New York. When they learned that TIAA was a major investor in the Cricket Valley, they started the process of uncovering TIAA’s extensive holdings in fossil fuels and deforestation. The group has gathered momentum ever since, with university professors, doctors, students, and retirees joining the struggle. TIAA-Divest has teamed up with Action Aid, Stop the Money Pipeline, the Stop Land Grabs Coalition and As You Sow, among other vital partners. The coordinating committee members are all unpaid volunteers.
|Iris Marie Bloom has worked as a writer and organizer for peace and justice all her life, from American Committee on Africa and American Friends Service Committee to Women’s Anti-Violence Education (WAVE). She has worked full-time for climate justice since founding Protecting Our Waters in 2009, fighting fracking in Pennsylvania, helping defeat Pilgrim Oil Pipelines in New York, and co-founding TIAA-Divest in 2020. Iris is also a poet and veteran dog rescuer living in the beautiful Hudson Valley.
|When Professor Barbara Brandom, MD retired after working 35 years in a university pediatric hospital, she decided to learn about the effects her investments are having on the world in which our grandchildren may live. The more she learned, the more motivated she became to work for the changes that must take place if coming generations are to have a chance to thrive.
|Virginia Casper is a developmental psychologist and faculty Emerita from the Bank Street College of Education Graduate School, where she served in multiple roles for over 30 years. She joined TIAADivest after participating in a week of actions against Enbridge’s Line 3 tar sands oil pipeline that runs through the Anishinaanabe rice fields of Minnesota, only to find out that her retirement funds support Enbridge. Virginia also serves on the Coordinating Committee of 1,000 Grandmothers for Future Generations.
|Doug Hertzler is a product of family farming in central Pennsylvania, and has become a crab picking, flag waving Marylander. He is also an anthropologist whose work has focused on social justice movements and land rights. He has served as a faculty member at Eastern Mennonite University in Virgina and now works as a Senior Policy Analyst for ActionAid. In spite of it all he is still a participant in a TIAA retirement account, and he would like them to invest in ways that do not destroy communities and the climate.
|Bill Kish is a software engineer who came to realize that he could not sit idly by as increasing CO2 levels destroy our ecosystems. When TIAA financed a methane-fired power plant in a nearby town Bill found an outlet and a way to become more deeply involved in the fight to stop climate catastrophe.
|Caroline Levine is Ryan Professor of the Humanities at Cornell University. She was part of the team that persuaded the Trustees of Cornell University to divest from fossil fuels in 2020. She has a dog named Rosa Luxembark.
|Molly Ornati is an environmental activist who co-founded 350Brooklyn in 2015. Her professional career focused on bottom-up financial empowerment programs, working as the Director of the Latin American Program for the NGO Trickle Up and Assistant Director of Financial Inclusion at Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration in NY. Previously, she worked as a journalist for Associated Press in Venezuela, and in documentary film, producing programs on art and culture for PBS.
|Sheldon Pollock is the Arvind Raghunathan Professor emeritus of South Asian Studies at Columbia University. He is the facilitator of Third Act Educators.
|Abigayle Reese is an organizer and cross-industry consultant, began her organizing journey in Minnesota at 19, fighting against the Line 3 pipeline while working at Friends of the Earth. Believing in an intersectional approach, she passionately educates her two dogs, Odin and Hades, about the inseparable connection between addressing racism, economic injustice, and climate change.
|Daniel A. Segal is the Jean M. Pitzer Professor of Anthropology and Professor of History at Pitzer College of the Claremont Colleges in California. At Pitzer College, he served on the Task Force that led to the College divesting its endowment of fossil fuels in 2014. He is a past Fellow of the Center for Advanced Study in the Social and Behavioral Sciences at Stanford; and his most recent research was in the far northern Amazon and examined the impact of the Brazilian state on the region and its predominantly Indigenous population. His social activism also embraces advocacy for the human and political rights of Palestinians. He can be found on twitter @DanSegal14.
|I.M. Weasel is TIAA-Divest!’s mascot. He represents TIAA’s weasel-worded responses to participants’ demands that TIAA stop funding the climate crisis. Mr. Weasel is NOT fooled by TIAA’s greenwashing!