2021 Annual Report

We advocate for the health of all North Carolinians by pursuing equitable and collaborative solutions that address climate change and air pollution.

In so many ways, 2021 was a year of turning points and progress for CleanAIRE NC. We of course relaunched our organization with a new name, and a new look. More than that, we moved forward on so many of our shared goals. We successfully campaigned for policies and community infrastructure projects that will accelerate our transition to a clean energy future. We won legal challenges to achieve stronger air quality protections and greater health equity at major sources of air pollution. And we amplified our impact through educational and training programs, conferences and events, and a growing citizen science network. 

To our CleanAIRE NC donors, thank you for making all this possible. Your investments in our organization played a critical role in advancing climate solutions, reigning in harmful air pollution, and improving community health across North Carolina. We are incredibly grateful and look forward to what we will accomplish in 2022 due to your commitment to our mission. Together, we will continue that hard work of protecting what connects us.

The CleanAIRE NC Team

Our Impact: 2021 At A Glance

Clean Air Actions Across the State

2021 Wins for Clean Air & Climate Health

Joining RGGI Puts NC on a Path to a Clean Energy Future

No state can solve the climate crisis by itself. But North Carolina can meet the carbon reductions we need by partnering with other states in a cooperative emissions-trading agreement called the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI).

CleanAIRE NC successfully petitioned for North Carolina to join RGGI at the state’s Environmental Management Commission. This sets North Carolina on a clear path to a clean energy future. The NC Department of Environmental Quality is now engaged in a rulemaking process and preparing a regulatory impact analysis for the rule.

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Building an Interfaith Climate Coalition

People of all faiths connected on the urgency of the climate crisis at our Greening Our Faith Communities Summit. Over the course of the two-day summit attendees shared ideas and lessons-learned for creating a stronger and healthier community for everyone.

If you’re looking for an organization that is focused on environmental justice that has actual real-world work in these communities, has built the relationships, built the trust, and is willing to work over a long period of time to actually see this change, CleanAIRE NC is a great opportunity.


Durham, NC

Setting Stronger Safeguards at Biogas Facility

In monumental win for our climate and community health, CleanAIRE NC reached a settlement agreement with Align RNG over a proposed biogas plant in Sampson County. Align has agreed to set much stricter limits on air pollution from the facility, and will be required to monitor for (and publicly report) methane leaks going forward.

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Creating a More Just Energy System for NC

To reach a clean energy future, we need advocates who know how to navigate North Carolina’s energy regulatory system. Our six-part webinar series Pulling Back the Curtain: Who’s Charting Our Energy Future gave aspiring clean energy advocates the tools to help them reshape North Carolina’s energy landscape to create a more just system that puts people over profits.

2021 American Climate Leadership Award

National Finalist
Presented by ecoAmerica

2021 Community Impact Organization Award

Presented by the U.S. Green Building Council

Training Community Climate Leaders

Through our NC Climate Ambassadors program, we help people become local leaders who can inspire climate action in their communities. In 2021 we expanded the Climate Ambassadors program statewide, increasing the number of grassroots advocates who can speak and act confidently on climate change. We have now trained over 100 Climate Ambassadors who are turning climate goals into climate progress!

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Holding Duke Energy Accountable

All Carolina families deserve affordable, clean, and equitable energy. And while Duke Energy has publicly set some ambitious climate goals, it’s worth asking how the company plans to meet those goals. CleanAIRE NC released a report in January 2021 comparing Duke Energy’s public climate goals with the specific carbon reduction strategies the company is taking. The big takeaway: While Duke Energy is making some progress, they still have a ways to go to make its climate targets a reality.

CleanAIRE NC is a multiplier of engagement with the environmental issues that we face and getting the message out to all of us. The Climate Ambassadors program trains advocates and volunteers to be aware, engage, and contribute.


Charlotte, NC

Sparking Conversations on Climate, Health, & Equity

The 2021 NC BREATHE Conference brought together a diverse group of over 300 North Carolina stakeholders to discuss climate change solutions that advance health and equity in our state. The two-day event opened with Keynote Speaker William Barber III addressing climate justice and featured interactive breakout sessions on environmental racism, challenges for healthcare delivery, and building capacity for climate resilience in Tribal communities.

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Ending a Decade of Pollution with CPI Plant Closures

For over a decade the CPI power plants in Roxboro and Southport generated energy by burning garbage, including tires and railroad ties. Thanks to a legal challenge from CleanAIRE NC, the Division of Air Quality stepped in to enforce air quality standards, resulting in both plants ending operations in March 2021. This means cleaner, healthier air for the communities of Person and Brunswick Counties.

[The NC BREATHE Conference] was an inspiring, powerful, dynamic learning experience. I learned much from the outstanding and diverse experts and the shared personal experiences…[CleanAIRE NC’s] commitments to environmental justice and to creating a people-centered coalition are powerful and far-reaching.


Each year, CleanAIRE NC honors individuals, organizations, and partners who have shown extraordinary commitment to tackling the climate crisis and improving North Carolina’s air quality. Congratulations to our 2021 Blue Sky Award winners! Learn more about our Blue Sky Award winners here.

Partner of the Year

Southern Environmental Law Center

Accepting the award: Nick Jimenez

The team at SELC (Derb Carter, Gudrun Thompson, Mary Maclean Asbill, and Nick Jimenez) have worked tirelessly with CleanAIRE NC to represent North Carolina communities going up against big polluters. We successfully petitioned the NC Environmental Management Commission for North Carolina to join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, putting our state on a path to cut carbon emissions and build a clean energy economy. SELC and CleanAIRE NC also successfully challenged the biogas industry in eastern NC, securing improved community health protections at a Sampson County facility.

Alan Burns Legacy Award


Accepting the award: Shruti Agrawal and Samiksha Pyndi

Framework4Future is a team of environmental youth activists committed to developing the next generation of civic leaders. Shruti Agrawal and Samiksha Pyndi, members of Framework4Future’s sustainability program, accepted the award. Both Shruti and Samiksha successfully completed our NC Climate Ambassadors workshops to become community leaders in the fight against climate change. They co-organized last year’s Cool Globes event in Charlotte where youth members of F4F gave presentations about the climate crisis. Shruti is also the founder of New Normal, an environmental club that motivates high schoolers to think proactively about climate solutions.

Volunteer of the Year

Jennifer Roberts

Jennifer Roberts has been a lifelong advocate for clean air and environmental justice. As Mayor of Charlotte she introduced a 100% Clean Energy Resolution for the City. Jennifer headed the Communities Program on climate solutions for ecoAmerica. She also Chaired the Mecklenburg County Commission, where she championed energy reduction and conservation in County operations and spearheaded a Clean Air Works initiative to reduce carbon emissions from local businesses. Jennifer is currently on the Steering Committee of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Climate Leaders, and is a lead trainer for our NC Climate Ambassador workshops.

Our Programmatic Strategy

When people are equipped with the right knowledge and tools, they’re empowered to take action and chart a better future. To that end, our programming teaches our members about climate change and air quality, engages them in data collection, and empowers them to take action in the community and political sphere.

Citizen Science

Citizen Scientist volunteers track and help interpret local air quality data, captured by low-cost air monitoring devices. All across the state, scientists and change-makers can use the data we collect to improve the quality of the air we breathe.


As advocates, we organize and take action for policy solutions that lead to better health for our communities. We provide the training and tools to help our members hold polluters accountable and push for stronger climate and clean air protections.

Environmental Justice

No community should suffer more environmental burdens because of their race or socioeconomic status. Our environmental justice efforts target the root causes of the damage, identify its disparate impacts, and chart paths to restoration.


Doctors, nurses, and health professionals are among the most trusted messengers on the health impacts of air pollution and climate change. The CleanAIRE NC Health program leverages these trusted voices to advocate for a healthier, more resilient future.


We’re equipping North Carolinians with the knowledge, tools, and resources they need to protect their health and advance clean air and climate solutions.

2021 Financials

Our Team

2021 Staff

June Blotnick

Executive Director

Gerald Babao

Deputy Director

Kerstan Ryan

Manager, Philanthropy

Kelly Picarsic

Manager, Online Engagement

Andrew Whelan

Manager, Marketing Communications

Daisha Williams

Manager, Environmental Justice

Joel Porter

Manager, Policy

Maria Sharova

Manager, Citizen Science

Stephanie Johannes

Manager, Health

Madison Fragnito

Development Associate

2021 Board of Directors

Kwame Alexander

Program Director | RJ Leeper Construction

Michael Jemison

Vice Chair
Senior Financial Business Analyst | Bank of America

Allison Navarro

Founder | RESET Integrative Health Coaching

Lorraine Piephoff

Certified Public Accountant

Debra Watt

Executive Vice President & Chief Human Resources Officer | Foundation For The Carolinas

Donnetta Collier

Financial Capabilities Manager | Self-Help Credit Union

Leroy Fields

Operational Risk Consultant | Wells Fargo

Andrew George

Civic Science Fellow
Sigma X

Eric Hall

Physical Scientist | U.S. EPA

Brian Magi

Associate Professor of Atmospheric Sciences | UNC Charlotte

Joy Marshall

Senior Manager | TIAA

Sen. DeAndrea Salvador

NC State Senator, District 39 – Mecklenburg

Allison Shockley

Architect | Becker Morgan Group

James Smith

President | Executive Sellers Realty

Scott Shuford

Community Planning and Resilience Principal | CASE Consultants International

Celebrating 20 Years of
Clean Air Action

Make a gift to CleanAIRE NC today and help power the next 20 years of clean air and climate progress!