Jeannine Jacokes and Pete Upton Appointed to the Justice Climate Fund Board  

 New Board Appointments Advance Equitable Climate Initiative for Low-Income Communities  

ORLANDO, FL — The Justice Climate Fund, led by the Community Builders of Color Coalition (The Coalition), is pleased to announce the recent appointments to its Board. The addition of these esteemed leaders brings a wealth of experience and leadership that will play a key role in guiding the JCF and its impactful initiatives. 

Jeannine Jacokes, CEO of Community Development Bankers Association, and Partners for the Common Good, working to educate stakeholders on community development banks and connecting lenders, borrowers, and capital sources. Pete Upton, CEO and Chairperson for Native CDFI Network, and the Executive Director of Native360 Loan Fund, focusing on entrepreneurship, home ownership, consumer lending and financial literacy for Native Americans. Both are current members of The Coalition and will take on significant roles in directing and guiding the JCF. Each brings a unique set of skills, expertise, commitment, and leadership will be invaluable in propelling the JCF’s goals and endeavors. 

The Coalition, united in its focus on ensuring that low-income and disadvantaged communities equitably benefit from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund (GGRF), is committed to making positive strides in providing capital and leveraging resources that create sustainable and economic benefits for low-income and disadvantaged communities of color across the nation.   

“The appointment of Jeannine and Pete to the JCF Board represents a significant step forward in our relentless pursuit for environmental equity and climate justice.  Both have demonstrated a deep commitment and passion that aligns with our mission. Their diverse backgrounds and extensive experience will undoubtedly enrich our efforts in addressing climate justice for all,” said Lenwood V. Long, Sr., President & CEO of The Alliance, and Board Chair of the Justice Climate Fund. 

“I am honored to be appointed to the Board of the Justice Climate Fund. I am grateful to Chairman Lenwood Long and entire JFC Board for their leadership in ensuring communities of color and low income and disadvantaged urban, rural, and Native American communities nationwide are empowered to promote climate justice and economic justice. I believe JFC has a winning strategy that ensures GGRF resources are rapidly and responsibly deployed to communities at the grassroots level,” said Jeannine Jacokes, CEO of Community Development Bankers Association. 

The Justice Climate Fund, led by The Coalition, is a strategic initiative purposely built to maximize the dual goals of rapid reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and transforming communities through increased benefits (environmental, energy, climate, health and economic). By leveraging the strengths and assets of its members, the Fund aims to achieve real and lasting impacts on the environment and social equity. 

“I would like to express my profound gratitude to the Justice Climate Fund and Lenwood Long for their continued support of the Native American communities and native community roots within a trailblazing initiative. The JCF dedication ensures that EPA’s GGRF not only expeditiously tackles the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions but also fosters enduring health and economic improvements for underserved Native American communities across the nation,” said Pete Upton, CEO and Chairperson for Native CDFI Network.  

Current members of the JCF Board include Lenwood V. Long, Sr., Board Chair and President & CEO of The Alliance; Marla Bilonick, Board Vice-chair, and President & CEO of NALCAB; Cathie Mahon, Board Treasurer, and President & CEO of Inclusiv; Nicole Elam, Board Secretary, and President & CEO of National Bankers Association; Chrystel Cornelius, Board member, and President & CEO of Oweesta; and Harold Pettigrew, Board member, and President & CEO of Opportunity Finance Network. 

To learn more about the Coalition and the Justice Climate Fund, visit:

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Community Builders of Color Coalition & Justice Climate Fund 

Community Builders of Color Coalition, Justice Climate Fund, and African American Alliance of CDFI CEOs are collectively committed to eradicating the disproportionate impact of climate change on low-income and disadvantaged communities through empowering and resourcing BIPOC-led organizations. Learn more about the Coalition and the Justice Climate Fund

African American Alliance of CDFI CEOs 

The African American Alliance of CDFI CEOs, known as “The Alliance,” is a coalition consisting of over 75 CEOs from Black-led Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs). These institutions include loan funds, credit unions, venture capital firms, and non-profit developers. Since its establishment in 2018, The Alliance’s extensive network has provided services across all 50 states and the District of Columbia. To learn more about The Alliance and its programs, please visit   

Media Contacts: 

Alisha Brown / African American Alliance of CDFI CEOs 

[email protected] / 901-849-0820