ACOEL Foundation

Lawyers in Service to the Environment

History, Mission, and Structure

The Foundation was incorporated in Delaware in October 2017 and obtained approval in August 2018 as a nonprofit charitable foundation with 501(c)(3) status under the federal Internal Revenue Code.  The Foundation raises funds and provides resources to support the public interest work of the Fellows of the American College of Environmental Lawyers (ACOEL).

The Foundation’s Bylaws provide that the officers of ACOEL will serve as the Trustees of the Foundation.  Those Foundation Trustees elect from among the ACOEL membership the President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer of the Foundation and any other officers, as appropriate, and approve the designation of the members of the Foundation Advisory Council. The Foundation officers and members of the Advisory Council typically meet monthly to conduct the business of the Foundation. 

Officers, Advisory Council and Trustees 2022-2023


Virginia RobbinsPresident
Gail PortVice President
Amy EdwardsSecretary
Molly CagleTreasurer
Allan GatesImmediate Past President
Peter CulpVice President for Development
Jim BruenVice President for Development
Melinda TaylorVice President for Development

Advisory Council

Heidi Friedman
Pam Giblin
Kevin Healy
Mike Hockley
Seth Jaffe
Debbie Mans
Kevin Murray


Ken Warren
Kevin Murray
Molly Cagle
Robin Craig
Mike Hockley

Past Presidents

Allan Gates2019-2021
John Cruden2018-2019
Jim Bruen2017-2018

Current Project Support

Annual Stephen E. Herrmann Environmental Writing Award

The winning author and the publishing law journal each receive a stipend honoring work that promotes the understanding of environmental legal issues.

Irene Weintraub, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, and Cardozo Law Review
NEPA and Uncertainty in Low-Risk, High-Impact Scenarios: Nuclear Energy as a Case Study

Jin Hyung Lee, Emory U. School of Law, and Emory Law Journal
Establishing Applicable Water Quality Standards for Surface Waters on Indian Reservations

Emily Hush, Columbia University Law School, and Columbia Journal of Environmental Law
Where No Man Has Gone Before: The Future of Sustainable Development in the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement and New Generation Free
Trade Agreements

Joshua Landis, Vanderbilt University Law School, and Vanderbilt Law Review
Sunny and Share: Balancing Airspace Entitlement Rights Between Solar Energy Adopters and Their Neighbors

Nina Lincoff, University of California – Berkeley School of Law, and California Law Review
Looking to Hybrid Species for the Future of Coral Reefs

Madeeha Dean, University of California – Berkeley School of Law, and California Law Review
An Environmental FOIA: Balancing Trade Secrecy with the Public’s Right to Know

Kelly McGee, University of Chicago Law School, and University of Chicago Law Review
A Place Worth Protecting

Cuba Symposium

On February 9-10, 2023, seven ACOEL Fellows participated in a joint symposium, held in Havana, Cuba, organized by ACOEL and the Foundation Antonio Nunez Jimenez of Nature and Humanity (FANJ), the Cuban NGO with which ACOEL had entered into a February 2019  Memorandum of Understanding designed to identify opportunities to foster U.S./Cuba environmental cooperation and engagement. The topic and title of the 2023 symposium was: USA-Cuba Key Environmental Issues: Lessons Learned – Lessons Shared.  David Farer, co-chair of the ACOEL International Pro Bono Committee and chair of its Cuba Working Group, was joined on the ACOEL faculty at the symposium by Fellows Elizabeth Andrews, Bessie Daschbach, Lee DeHihns, Lewis Jones, Rob Kirsch and Marla Wieder. Also attending the symposium were representatives of FANJ, representatives of MINREX, the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the National Organization of Collective Law Firms (the organization of Cuban lawyers), and representatives of the Cuban Ministry of Agriculture.  Although each of the ACOEL Fellows who participated in the symposium bore his or her own expenses for the trip to Cuba, the ACOEL Foundation is proud to have helped fund some of the other expenses incurred in connection with this important and interesting joint symposium.  More information on the symposium, including the topics covered by the six panels and follow-up steps, can be found on the ACOEL webpage here



Waste Plastic to Fuel for Diesel Engines

The Foundation has provided targeted support for the work of Empowered Solutions for Environmental Sustainability (ESES) to combat plastic waste accumulation in the environment and to deploy in Uganda a PolyFuel Processor that converts waste plastic into clean fuel oil.

Proposal to ALI for a Restatement of Environmental Law or Environmental Law Principles Project

The Foundation is facilitating a February 2023 Workshop of ACOEL Fellows, environmental members of the American Law Institute, and third-party experts to analyze the feasibility of persuading ALI to commission a first-ever Restatement of Environmental Law or Principles of Environmental Law.

Foundation Support for Projects that Meet Strategic Plan Goals

As an initial matter, the Foundation primarily will focus its support and funding on projects that fall within the following two categories and meet the criteria set forth in its Strategic Plan: (1) Climate Resilience or Mitigation; and (2) Water Quality, Quantity and Resources. The Foundation is in discussions with other not-for-profit organizations and academics who work in these areas to identify opportunities for potential support. The Foundation is evaluating projects that have the potential to identify legal barriers impeding infrastructure resiliency projects adjacent to coastal areas, and projects that would implement innovative technologies for water preservation in the Western U.S. and the legal solutions to permit these types of projects to proceed.

Our 2022 Donors

Adam Babich
Rita Barker
John M. Barkett
Linda Benfield
Bond, Schoeneck & King
Christopher Braun
James Bruen
Thomas Burack
Molly Cagle
Susan M. Cooke
Robert Cox
William Cox
Robin Craig
John Dernbach
Alex Dunn
Amy Edwards
Pamela Elkow
David Farer
David Flannery
Heidi Friedman
Allan Gates
Karen Gaylord
Michael Gerrard
Pamela Giblin
Sam Gutter
Ridgeway Hall
Kevin Healy
Stephen Herrmann
Robert Hines
Michael Hockley
Peter Hsiao
Seth Jaffe
Ronald Janke
JCM Industries Foundation
Adam Kahn

Paul Kent
King & Spalding
Dennis Krumholz
Tommy Lavender
Chris Locke
Gene Lucero
Francis Lyons
James May
Carol McCabe
Steven Miano
Daniel Miller
James Morriss
Kevin Murray
Jon Niermann
Earl Phillips
Jeffrey Pollock
Gail Port
James Ray
Kathy Robb
Virginia Robbins
Martha Rudolph
JB Ruhl
Mary Ryan
Lynn Slade
Donald Stever
Philip Tabas
Melinda Taylor
Chris Thomas
Thompson & Knight
Dennis Treacy
David Ullrich
Charles Warren
Jacqueline Warren
Kenneth Warren
Daniel Whittle

Become a Donor

Donations to the Foundation may be made on-line using the donation button above, or by sending a check payable to ACOEL Foundation to the following address:

ACOEL Foundation
Attn.: Loretta Reinersmann
1730 M Street NW, Suite 700
Washington, DC 20036

Donations to the ACOEL Foundation qualify as tax deductible charitable contributions.

To view the Foundation’s bylaws, strategic plan, gift policy and Conflict of Interest Policy, go to ACOEL Foundation Documents (ACOEL Members Only) (login required).