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The Etna Community Organization welcomes four new board members

Updated: Mar 31, 2023

In January 2023, ECO added four new board members to help steer the organization into the future: Bridget Barrett, Ryan Gott, Melanie Rankin Groves, and Nick Haberman. Last year, we put out an all-call for interested individuals and we were heartened by the response. As a result, we decided to expand the board positions from seven directors to nine. The four new members have deep ties to the community and offer unique skills that will benefit the organization in a variety of ways.

Bridget Barrett, Etna resident, has worked in Pittsburgh politics for the past nine years and is currently serving as Chief of Staff to State Representative Emily Kinkead. While working full-time for elected officials she has also been involved in several local political campaigns.

"I moved to Etna for the sense of community I felt here. I hope that only deepens in the years to come and that Etna continues to be an amazing place to call home for all of its residents." - Bridget

Ryan Gott, Etna resident, is a public horticulture professional, entomologist, educator, and nature enthusiast working in the non-profit public garden sector. Ryan is an enthusiastic advocate for sustainable landscaping and environmental stewardship that benefits all parts of our ecosystem, including us.

"I serve on ECO's board to advance Etna and improve quality of life for all Etna residents. I want to be part of shaping Etna's bright future by listening to our community's needs and addressing those needs through holistic, sustainable solutions." - Ryan

Melanie Rankin Groves, Etna resident, studied art education and has worked in the field of museums and nonprofits for over 15 years, focusing in the areas of preservation, exhibition development, digital media, and diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion.

"I want to put energy back into my family's community, supporting the efforts that ECO makes to develop projects and initiatives that make Etna an exciting place to live. I was specifically excited to contribute to the building of the Etna community library, where I'm looking forward to meeting neighbors and new friends." - Melanie

Nick Haberman, born and raised in Etna, is an award-winning teacher and founder of the LIGHT Education Initiative - a program that seeks to inspire, prepare, and empower the next generation of humanitarians.

"My experience growing up in Etna, working as a teacher for the Shaler Area School District, and collaborating with nearly 20 school systems across Southwestern Pennsylvania through LIGHT has given me insight into how successful, meaningful youth programs function as a collaboration among school districts, community organizations, nonprofits, foundations, businesses, and volunteers." - Nick

These talented and dedicated community servants join five of ECO's founding members to complete the board: Alexis Boytim, Veni Mittal, Mary Ellen Ramage, Megan Tuñón, and Robert Tuñón. Each has been with the organization since the Etna EcoDistrict planning stage and each has been instrumental in achieving our significant milestones, such as the EcoDistrict certification in 2019, the COVID-19 response programs of 2020, and the acquisition of the library site in 2022.

Robert Tuñón, an Etna resident and architect by trade, was elected as ECO's Board Chair for his constant dedication to the organization. He serves as the Chair of the Building Committee for the Etna Center for Community (ECC) project.

"For me, community service is essential for healthy, vibrant communities so I'm happy and honored to be able to serve Etna as a board member. After being a part of the Etna EcoDistrict community engagement effort, I feel committed to realizing some of the goals and visions expressed throughout the process." - Robert

Mary Ellen Ramage, an Etna Resident and Borough Manager, was elected as ECO's Vice Chair and is the ECC's Capital Campaign Committee Chair. Mary Ellen's contributions to the community are unmatched. She has been the bedrock of both the borough and the organization.

"My hope for Etna is that it continues to grow in an environmentally-friendly and socially-equitable way by bringing everyone in the community onto that path and that Etna has the resources to provide to all so that we thrive together." - Mary Ellen

Alexis Boytim, ECO's founding director, was elected as ECO's Board Treasurer. Alexis' instrumental role in the Etna EcoDistrict Education, Planning, and Certification process have helped ECO stay centered in the sustainability, resiliency, and equity goals of the community plan.

"I believe in the power of collective action to make our communities better places to live, work, and play. Through the Etna EcoDistrict, I saw this belief become a reality and am endlessly inspired by everyone in Etna to carry this work forward." - Alexis

Veni Mittal, honorary Etnian, was elected as ECO's Board Secretary. Veni has been serving in Etna since 2018 when she fell in love with the community and found a voice in leading its different sustainability initiatives.

"I want to see Etna community flourishing and thriving in the best sustainable way and also serving as an example for other communities because Etna is for everyone." - Veni

Megan Tuñón, an Etna resident and Etna Borough Council Vice President, is starting her third year as Executive Director. ECO's Executive Director also serves as an ex-officio board member.

"I see my role as being a conduit for bringing the community's ideas to life. As Executive Director, it is my mission to build the library and community center that will serve as the center for civic life for generations to come." - Megan

ECO's Board met at GBBN with architect Amanda Markovic for the board's annual retreat. Each retreat helps to refocus the organization on its mission and sets the goals for the year to come. ECO's 2023 goals are:

  1. Convert both ECC's storefronts into functional, operating spaces for community programming

  2. Provide weekly multigenerational programming at the Pop-Up spaces, Etna EcoPark, and other Etna locations

  3. Make ECC into a shovel-ready project by completing ECC's Construction Documents and obtaining required permit

  4. Restore masonry exterior of ECC's front façade

  5. Expand ECC fundraising activities to include fundraisers, new foundation requests, meetings with government officials, and a state / federal grant applications

  6. Establish pathways for more individuals to volunteer with ECO

  7. Advance ECO Board Manual with Board-approved policies

  8. Activate and establish sustainable patterns and practices ECO Committees

  9. Secure operational funding for 2024-2025

  10. Strengthen our relationship to community partners

  11. Maintain a committed, collaborative, & respectful board culture

If you are interested in learning more about ECO, its board, or how to get involved, reach out to Future board position openings will be publicly advertised as they were in 2022.

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