Projects and Events Manager
Meredith Benek is the Projects and Events Coordinator at Sustainable Pittsburgh, responsible for managing special projects and executing events. With nearly 20 years’ experience in hospitality, Meredith has developed a deep appreciation for the complexities of the industry. This experience has driven her to successfully execute many virtual and in-person event experiences that are good for people and planet. She hopes to be able to inspire positive change with effective strategy and communication.
Meredith holds a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies from Slippery Rock University and a Master’s degree in Sustainability from Chatham University.
Donna L. Bour
Director of Development
Donna Bour has a long career in development, fundraising, sponsorship, and event management. She has extensive experience writing foundation and government grants and corporate sponsorship proposals, creating and implementing individual giving campaigns, and organizing special fundraising events. In May of 2001 she launched Bour Associates, a consulting firm specializing in nonprofit development and fundraising and events management. Over a period of 15 years she worked with diverse nonprofits in the region providing fundraising consulting and event planning services.
In June of 2015, after working with the organization in a number of capacities for 14 years, she was asked by the Executive Director of Venture Outdoors to create, staff, and direct the newly formed Development and Communications Department. She developed job descriptions, hired and trained staff, created brand standards and continued to be responsible for all fundraising, development, events, and outbound communications. She also developed and launched the organization’s most successful sponsorship effort to date.
Donna joined the Hill Community Development Corporation (Hill CDC) as Senior Fund Development Officer in May 2019. She was responsible for launching and managing the Hill CDC’s significant capital campaign efforts, organizational fundraising, securing corporate sponsorships and leading related events during an exciting time of growth for the Hill District community. During her 3½ years there, the organization increased contributed revenue by over $3.5 million.
She joined the Sustainable Pittsburgh staff in October of 2022 as Director of Development. She is excited to apply her skills and experience in this new role with an organization that was, coincidentally, her very first client and has worked with many times over the past 20 years.
Donna earned a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Pittsburgh and a Master’s degree in Public Management from Carnegie Mellon University.
Senior Program Manager
Rebecca joined Sustainable Pittsburgh in 2014 to develop and lead the Sustainable Pittsburgh Restaurant program. Through this performance program, she works with restaurants throughout the Pittsburgh region to gain recognition for their sustainability efforts, improve sustainability performance, and catalyze change within the regional food system.
Rebecca comes to Sustainable Pittsburgh as a 2014 graduate of the Duquesne MBA Sustainability program. Prior to returning for her MBA, Rebecca was also the sole owner and operator of a small, local granola production company, Heart of the Earth. By generating almost zero waste and sourcing products locally, Heart of the Earth was designed with sustainable values at its core and distributed through Pittsburgh area farmers markets. Rebecca also possesses approximately two decades of experience working in the restaurant industry through various capacities.
Rebecca obtained her B.A. in Psychology from The Ohio State University, then went on to complete her teaching certification through The University of Georgia. Prior to returning to school to earn her MBA, she was an educator for eleven years.
Rebecca is a Steering Committee member with Pittsburgh Food Policy Council, a member of the Project Team for the Greater Pittsburgh Food Action Plan, an Advisory Committee member of the Hilltop Urban Farm, and also serves on the Steering Committee of the Restaurant Opportunities Center’s Behind the Kitchen Door project.
Alexis Henry is the Administrative Assistant for Sustainable Pittsburgh. A Pennsylvania native, Alexis first moved to Pittsburgh in 2012 to pursue a History degree at Pitt. During this time, she fell in love with the art and culture of Pittsburgh, only leaving to complete an MA in Museum Studies at UCL. Back in PA, Alexis managed an art gallery until transitioning into her non-profit career. Alexis likes to practice sustainability every day by supporting local farmers, buying second-hand, and eliminating plastic usage by owning a multitude of jars.
Director of Government Affairs
Matt Mahoney is the Director of Government Affairs for Sustainable Pittsburgh. Before joining Sustainable Pittsburgh, Matt worked with Plug Smart, a regional energy services and building automation company, to develop Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) opportunities throughout the Midwest. Prior to Plug Smart, Matt served as the Western Pennsylvania Program Manager for the Keystone Energy Efficiency Alliance (KEEA), a Pennsylvania-based trade association for the energy efficiency industry. During his time with KEEA, Matt successfully advocated for the adoption of C-PACE among county governments in Western Pennsylvania. Before KEEA, Matt worked with the Center for Responsible Shale Development where he served the inaugural President and Board of Directors to mitigate air emissions and protect water system related to natural gas development in the Appalachian Basin.
Matt earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Anthropology from Slippery Rock University and a Master’s degree in Renewable Energy and Sustainability Systems from Penn State University. Matt is also an adjunct professor teaching Energy Policy at Chatham University, a military veteran that served honorably, and a proud husband and father of two.
Dr. Joylette Portlock is the Executive Director of Sustainable Pittsburgh, a nonprofit working to advance sustainability policies and practices in southwestern Pennsylvania. Sustainable Pittsburgh regularly works with hundreds of partners in the region — including local governments, nonprofits, and the business community — to ensure our economy is built to last and that our people and our planet thrive. Prior to her role at Sustainable Pittsburgh, Dr. Portlock served as Associate Director of Science and Research at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History and as Executive Director of Communitopia, a nonprofit based in Pittsburgh that focuses on climate change communication. She holds a bachelor’s degree in biology with a minor in anthropology from MIT and a Ph.D. in genetics from Stanford University.
Her work focuses on building community around sustainability topics, with a particular interest in making important scientific, technical or complex information accessible and useful. Dr. Portlock has worked on environmental issues at the local, state, and federal level, and also currently serves on the Allegheny County Board of Health. She was an advisor to Project Drawdown, and serves in many other roles in the community, including as an advisory board member of the Black Environmental Collective. Dr. Portlock has lived and worked in the Pittsburgh region since 2007.
Director of Finance and Administration
Gary is the Director of Finance and Administration for Sustainable Pittsburgh. Prior to this, he worked as the Operations Manager for the Hollow Oak Land Trust and Director of Programs at the Nine Mile Run Watershed Association. He has also worked as a consultant for the Allegheny County Parks Foundation to develop a plan for mobilizing volunteers and the Allegheny Land Trust to lead them through the process of obtaining accreditation. Gary currently serves as a volunteer in leadership positions for the Friends of North Park and the North Area Environmental Council. Gary is a native of Pittsburgh who spent 20 years working in the corporate sector for organizations such as Mellon Bank, IBM, and Oracle before making a transition into nonprofit management.
Sarah SanGiovanni joined Sustainable Pittsburgh in 2020 to manage workplace performance programs and education. In addition to her role at Sustainable Pittsburgh, Sarah is a seventh-year PhD Candidate in Clark University’s Graduate School of Geography. Her dissertation research examines the extent to and means by which neighborhood governance initiatives shape sustainable development in the Pittsburgh region, with a particular focus on ecodistricts. Prior to her doctoral studies Sarah served as Program Coordinator for the Iowa Initiative for Sustainable Communities, a program of the University of Iowa that promotes state-wide sustainability initiatives and university teaching and learning through facilitating community-engaged research partnerships. She holds a Master of Urban Planning from the State University of New York at Buffalo, and bachelor’s degrees in Environmental Studies and English from Binghamton University.
Sarah’s work is driven by an abiding interest in how organizations and communities can develop and scale innovations for promoting sustainability. In her neighborhood, Sarah enjoys community gardening and serving as a board member for the Millvale Community Library.
Sustainability Programs Coordinator
Sawyer brings a passion for sustainability and works to support the programs at Sustainable Pittsburgh.
Sawyer has a background working in sustainability within contract food service, integrating nutrition, wellness, and social justice into sustainability programming. Sawyer also brings a Master’s Degree in Sustainability and a Master of Business Administration degree from Chatham University. They also earned the LEED GA credential expanding his knowledge to built spaces.
Sawyer’s goal is to support organizations and individuals to help bring lasting systemic change to uplift our community for a sustainable future for all. Sawyer works to integrate sustainability into his life by buying local, purchasing secondhand and cycles when it’s possible. They enjoy the outdoors by camping, foraging and bikepacking.
Ginette Walker Vinski
Director of Communications
Ginette Walker Vinski began her tenure at Sustainable Pittsburgh in 2007 as Communications Manager and in 2015 became Director of Communications. She is responsible for developing and executing the organization’s communications strategy, encompassing public relations, marketing, and events.
During her 20-year career, she has shaped and brought to fruition numerous marketing, advertising, and PR campaigns, spanning a range of audiences from consumers to corporate executives. She has extensive experience serving as media spokesperson, having been interviewed by several of Pittsburgh’s major news outlets including the Pittsburgh Business Times, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and WESA-FM. She appeared as a guest multiple times on programs such as KDKA-TV’s Pittsburgh Today Live.
Prior to her work at Sustainable Pittsburgh, Ginette served as Environmental Program Coordinator for the Pennsylvania Resources Council where she organized the first “Hard to Recycle” collection events for the region and worked with the City of Pittsburgh Office of the Mayor to help draft legislation establishing the Clean Pittsburgh Commission. She served as an appointed member of the commission for two years. She earned a Bachelor’s in Business Administration (Marketing and IT) from Duquesne University.