Jessica Manuela Loya is an outspoken social, economic, and environmental justice advocate who believes the solutions to inequity are found in and led by the communities most overburdened and underserved by the existing systems. Most recently, in 2021, she co-founded, Rooted & Reimagined Strategies, a Latina owned and operated consulting firm with a focus on driving forward environmental justice policy, equity and restorative justice in philanthropy, and capacity building and political strategy for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) led organizations and coalitions. In the first year, she has helped to secure over $1million in grants for her nonprofit clients and her firm has advised on over $10 million in philanthropic contributions.
Her success as a consultant is in large part due to several successful years of issue-based advocacy, programming, and senior leadership development in the nonprofit sector. From 2018- 2020, she served as the first Director of Policy & Programs at GreenLatinos. In this role, she directed the organization’s national policy agenda on issues of climate, clean air, conservation, clean water, clean transportation and environmental justice. She frequently testified before the US Department of Interior, Environmental Protection Agency and met with Members of Congress and their staff to advance shared legislative goals. She managed a team of program associates to implement campaigns, host and deliver advocacy training to over 5,000 advocates, and plan the annual three-day GreenLatinos Summit.
Recognizing the importance of collective power to elevating the voices and concerns of underrepresented and overburdened communities, such as Latino communities, Jessica has become a champion for the power of coalition building. She helped to build and lead three national coalitions, including the Next 100 Coalition, where she was elected co-chair of the board for six years and the Clean Water For All Coalition, where she served as co-chair for three years during which time she lead their Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion review and action planning.
Through her work she helped to secure protections for millions of acres of federal public lands; secured millions in federal funding for clean water infrastructure; secured strong regulatory standards that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and advocated for stronger clean air protections to ease and ultimately eliminate the burden of environmental injustice facing communities across the country.
In addition to her experience in the nonprofit sector, Jessica has used her knowledge and experience as a public servant. She served in White House Council on Environmental Quality’s Office of Public Engagement during the Obama Administration from 2015-2016 and most recently served on the Presidential Transition for President Joseph R. Biden. Over five months, Jessica was a member of a select team tasked with bringing forward the largest and most diverse set of Presidential appointments for Day
One of the Biden Administration. As part of her work, she identified highly skilled professionals from across various sectors, conducted hundreds of interviews and reviewed thousands of resumes. She conducted her tasks with fine attention to detail, great discretion, and the highest level of professionalism. President Biden, thanked her and her colleagues for their time, dedication, and service during an unprecedented time of attacks on our democracy. The work she accomplished played a critical role in upholding the transfer of power.
Jessica is a graduate of the University of California, Santa Cruz where she received a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and a minor in Environmental Studies. She was awarded the Chancellor’s Achievement Award for Diversity Equity and Inclusion for her work to make the university campus and its policies more inclusive of LGBTQ+ students, including her creation of E.Q.U.A.L (Elevating Queer Understanding and Leadership), a student organization focused on building the leadership skills of LGBTQ+ students and creating more understanding of LGBTQ+ issues amongst the student body. As well as her leadership in leading a campus wide research study that reviewed programs, services, and student wellbeing and provided policy and program recommendations to support the success and retention of LGBTQ+ students of color.
In her personal time, Jessica continues her passion for environmental issues in her local community in Washington, D.C. as she is the Chair of the Board for the Emery Community Garden Foundation and Steering Committee members for the Next Generation Leaders Council for the Rock Creek Conservancy.
During her time as a National Urban Fellow she is most interested in continuing to explore the field of Philanthropy and strategically leveraging her community engagement and leadership development skills in the field.