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Forterra Staff Defy Bosses, Show Support For The Snoqualmie Tribe

According to the Seattle Times, The Snoqualmie Indian Tribe has accused the Seattle-based land conservancy Forterra of misleading the tribe and the federal government in obtaining a grant worth up to $20 million to help fund a regional sustainable timber and housing project.

On an Indigenous People’s Day, the largely white staff of a major Seattle NGOs has taken a public stand against the NGO and in defense of a wronged Tribal Nation. Totally unprecedented, giant career risk. They released the following statement in support of the Snoqualmie Tribe.

To the Snoqualmie Indian Tribe and Forterra Board of Directors –

We, the undersigned, are former staff members and leaders of Forterra who are writing to express our solidarity and support for the Snoqualmie Indian Tribe, which has made public very serious allegations of misconduct by Forterra.

It is clear from publicly available information that Forterra has, at minimum, behaved in an inappropriate, disrespectful, and misleading manner inconsistent with the organization’s stated value: We show respect for people, place, culture and each other. It appears that Forterra has mistreated a sovereign Tribal Nation on its own ancestral lands while claiming to act in its best interest. Beyond that, instead of approaching this embarrassing mistake with “accountability, humility and care”, it appears Forterra’s executive team has engaged in victim blaming, pointing to the Tribe’s “bad faith”. We are all too familiar with Forterra’s keen ability to deflect responsibility and create alternative narratives. Every one of us has either experienced this type of behavior directly or witnessed our colleagues endure it during our tenure with Forterra.

Simply put, we believe the Tribe. Even those of us who do not have specific knowledge of this situation believe the Tribe’s allegations to be credible because they are consistent with our own concerns regarding long-standing detrimental conduct by the organization’s leadership. It is our opinion that Forterra’s executive leadership team has created a toxic, volatile, and retaliatory workplace under the guise of becoming a “best place to work”. This leadership’s recent actions do not represent our values, nor do they represent the values Forterra as an institution has stood for when it has been at its best. We believe that executive leadership should be held accountable for failing to properly engage the Tribe throughout its grant application process, and these other similar harms.

We joined Forterra with joy, hope, and vision, committing years of our lives to the organization because we believed in its stated mission and held in great esteem its many real accomplishments. We all care deeply about the work we and our colleagues did at the organization and have pride in the organization’s achievements, their community partners, and the many wonderful people who have worked there throughout the years. However, collectively, we know this organization better than anyone. We are speaking up to defend the organization from its current mismanagement and dearth of leadership at the executive level and implore a drastic change in direction to preserve Forterra’s valuable legacy and restore its reputation in the communities we all seek to serve. It is time for accountability.

Making promises while knowingly unable to deliver those promises to its employees, communities in need, and the donors and investors who finance those efforts is unconscionable. We ask that the Board of Directors insist on accountability at the executive level so as to prevent additional harm to the organization’s many partners and stakeholders.

We, the undersigned, offer our continued support for the Snoqualmie Indian Tribe and stand ready to support them in persevering through this difficult and stressful time.

To the majority of those who are still there doing the work, we are always behind you, we are with you every step of the way. We look forward to actively supporting Forterra again when its integrity is restored and commitment to its mission renewed.

Sincerely,

Alex Greenler Graphic Design & Marketing Associate

Alex Reeder Associate Director of Philanthropy, Annual Giving

Alex Selvey Project Manager, Riparian Restoration

Ali Yeates Lakehart Green Cities Program Manager

Alicia Rinehart Grants and Budget Analyst

Alison Crowley Managing Director

Amanda Minix Corporate and Foundation Relations Manager

Andrew Shifflette IT & Business Systems Manager

Ashe Olds AP and Payroll Specialist

Ashley Arhin Senior Project Associate

Bonnie Tabb Executive Assistant

Bree Nicolello Project Manager, Innovations

Carrie Hawthorne Digital marketing manager

Cheryl A Wynne CFO and VP Administration

Christine Stephens Riparian Restoration Project Manager

Christopher Blado Green Cities Project Associate

Darcey Hughes Director of Conservation Transactions

Dre Anderson Community Engagement Manager

Elby Jones Green Cities Program Manager

Eli Tome Director of Riparian Restoration

Everett Lawson Senior Marketing Manager

Hayley Edmonston Project Manager

James Slone Grants Coordinator

Jenae Poe Investor Relations

Jenny Ugolino Green Cities Program Manager

Jessa Timmer Senior Project Manager

Jessi Velazquez Information Systems Associate

Jessica Vu Project Manager

Jill Scheffer Senior Director of Conservation

Jillian Brown Creative manager

Jordan Boulter Web and Audience Growth Manager

Jordan M. Rash Senior Conservation Director

Julie Witherspoon Managing Director, Transaction Operations

Justin W. Stewardship Associate

Kaitlin Hollander Accounting Assistant

Kalee Snorden Perry Stewardship Associate

Khushi Dayal Office Manager/Administrative Assistant

Kim Cuevas Director of Individual Giving

Ksenia Popova Assistant Director, Donor Engagement and Venture Philanthropy

Kyvan Elep Project Manager

Lauren Zondag Community Relations

Leah Marlow (Oren) Membership and Events Coordinator

Lindsay Hanna Senior Director, Policy & Communities Programs

Lucy Shirley Managing Editor, Design and Publications

Lynn Siniscalchi Data Coordinator

Mandy Gregory Operations and Development Director

Margaret Tyson Operations Director

Marc Seligson Communications Manager

Marisa Allison Database Specialist

Maya Klem Project Manager, Green Cities

Melony Pederson Sr. Construction and Development Manager

Mia Stigler Event Coordinator

Nicholas Carr Director Chehalis Basin

Nicole Marcotte Green Cities Project Manager

Nikia Washington Foundation Manager

Nora Peters Development Associate

Olgy Diaz Government Affairs Director

Paula Wrzecionowska Event Manager

Philip Deng Program Manager of Philanthropy

Rachel Perlot Major Gifts Manager

Rafael Saucedo Senior Corporate Relations Manager

Rebecca Schwartzman Project Manager, Innovations

Ryan Walker Director, Conservation Transactions

Sarah Sanborn Senior Communications Manager

Sarah Wyer Digital Marketing Manager

Shaila Davis Director of Philanthropy – Operations

Shannon Deasy Development & Donor Manager

Sheryl Wiser Corporate Partnership Manager

Stuart Watson Director of Land Management

Sue Badgley Staff Accountant

Susan LaCroix Conservation Transactions Project Manager

Susannah Hale Vice President of Philanthropy

Tatyana Manheim Senior Communications Manager

Tim Sandoval Sr. Project Manager

Tobyn Smith Senior Project Associate

Venice Wong Project Associate, Conservation Transactions

Waylon Robert Project Manager, Transactions

Whitney Rose Associate Director of Philanthropy & Investor Relations

  • 10 additional former Forterrans wanted to sign in support, but felt that they were unable to for various reasons, they are in agreement with the 78 listed above, and also stand with the Snoqualmie Indian Tribe
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