The fight against climate change gains an army of champions in Mothers Out Front

Laureate
Kelsey Wirth
Program
McNulty Prize
Location
United States
Year
2019
McNULTY PRIZE LAUREATE

Combating climate change has never been a more pressing concern. As the recent UN and House climate reports make brutally clear, the window to avert climate change has already passed, and the window to avert its worst effects is closing. Mothers Out Front, a grassroots coalition of mothers and caregivers driven to ensure a safe, livable world for their children, is leading the charge to take decisive action, empowering constituents that have influence at the local level to drive transformational environmental policy change.

31,000
Activists, organizers, and supporters
2,700
Volunteers active weekly
47
Teams of mothers working in 10 states

KelseyWirth_HS_May_2018.png#asset:1845Kelsey Wirth, co-founder of Mothers Out Front, has understood the importance of environmental policy since she was a child. Her father, Tim Wirth, was a U.S. Senator who sponsored the first Congressional hearing on global warming in 1988. Kelsey co-founded Align Technology, the medical device company behind Invisalign, and later chaired the board of the Environmental Working Group. She decided to harness the power of her own demographic—mothers willing to do whatever it takes to protect their children—to launch Mothers Out Front in 2013.

We are uniquely positioned to rapidly grow our mother-led climate movement into an unstoppable force for change.

Kelsey Wirth

Mothers Out Front utilizes a unique grassroots approach that has resulted in massive expansion and numerous tangible policy wins at the local and state levels. They creatively apply a proven model of deep organizing that distributes leadership across community organizers, and is inclusive of those facing the brunt of the climate crisis in frontline communities. These organizers are given broad autonomy to pursue initiatives designed specifically for their local constituencies. The strategy has allowed Mothers Out Front to scale dramatically: since its inception, the organization has grown to include over 30,000 members, donors, and active participants, with 43 community-based teams operating in ten states.

Employing the leadership training, network building, and social media strategies supplied by the national organization, local chapters have realized an array of major policy wins. As a direct result of Mothers Out Front advocacy, Massachusetts passed new laws requiring utilities to identify and fix all polluting large-volume leaks from their gas pipelines within 2 years; New York halted its plans to expand a major gas plant, instead committing to convert it into a renewably-powered data center, solar array and battery storage; and California passed the landmark Clean Energy Act, with a state-level target of 100% clean electricity by 2045.

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