Tevin Hamilton

Rising From the Bottom Up

Tevin Hamilton — ’21 MEM
“I went to college in Louisiana and lived in the area between Baton Rouge and New Orleans known as Cancer Alley, a heavily polluted 100-mile stretch with over 150 chemical plants. My goal was a career in forestry, but living there changed me. I saw how Black and low-income communities are more harshly affected by environmental hazards created by companies, so I started reading about environmental justice and knew I wanted to be in a position to help. That is what led me to YSE.”

Hometown: St. Louis, Missouri
Fellowship host: The Pisces Foundation
Next step: Looking for a position in environmental philanthropy

Key takeaway from the Environmental Fellows Program: “I’ve been given firsthand experience of the ins and outs of environmental grantmaking, and it has inspired me to possibly start my own grantmaking foundation down the line.”

“My fellowship at the Pisces Foundation has been a very positive experience. I started a blog and podcast on water issues and have been preparing to interview some of our grantee organizations. My work here has led me to think about how we can be better allies to grassroots groups, how we can increase the number of Black donors, and increase the commitment to fund organizations led by people of color.

“Too often the power is with people who don’t care about the long- term health of the community. The CEOs of polluting companies don’t live in the neighborhoods where they put their chemical plants. We are trying to ask people living in these communities what they need and look at how we can shift the power about environmental conditions, so it comes from the bottom up.”

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