About Us

The Vision

In order to create a better world we create a space where ideas succeed!
We envision a world that is sustainable, just, and prosperous for all. Our vision is of a world that is firmly based in local, collaborative, accessible, and just community interactions. Furthermore, we seek to create communities in which our experiences are fuller, more meaningful and rewarding. It is our belief that creative and bold solutions integrate understanding, appreciation, and respect for ecological processes into tangible improvements in our social and economic structures.  One neighborhood, one community, one solution at time, we build the world we know is possible.

We achieve our vision through a three part strategy:

1) Build Social Capacity:  The NICE provides resources that will assist aspiring community organizers in achieving their goals. Our programs utilize participatory learning and reflective processes to take learning from the blackboard to the blacktop and develop innovative new approaches to creating sustainable communities.

2) Create lasting community-based solutions: The NICE works with local student and youth organizers to campaign alongside community groups that are working to innovate and implement self sustaining and community-based sustainability projects in the Pacific Northwest. Common areas of focus are energy efficiency, renewable energy, transportation, local food, and waste reduction.

3) Share our processes and solutions: Each local program produces a specific community-based solution that fits the needs of its community. These solutions also serve as salable and replaceable models and assist new communities in developing their own solutions. This open source social network creates a space for sharing between people and resources, and contributes to the growth of a supportive and adaptive community of action and learning around the world.

Our Goals:

Personal Fulfillment

Support personal growth & pursuit of passions

Meaningful Collaboration

Connect passions as gifts toward shared aspirations

Rewarding Change

Recognize and evaluate tangible community improvements

Executive Team

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Nathan Jones – Lead Consultant
Nathan Jones has spent nearly a decade organizing, training, and mentoring emerging leaders in environmental and social justice organizations. He is one of the NICE’s founding members and has been a driving force behind the NICE Consulting and our innovative approach to creating change. Contact us for consulting!


Shabina Shariff – Executive Director
Shabina began her career in community organizing though her passion for the intersection between population, women’s reproductive rights, and the environment. As a member of the NICE Shabina has been a leader in piloting the NICE’s model for creating inclusive and sustainable local communities, and also has become our resident non-profit expert. Shabina is a great person to talk to if you are interested in starting a Catalyst Community or developing a partnership with the NICE.

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Annie Ton – Web MasterAnnie is our in house web designer. As well as being an excellent web designer she has a seamless design sense that is expressed in her web layouts. Upon completing her education in web design she will be adding to her skill set by moving into graphic arts.

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Robert Blake – Graphic Designer Robert is our graphic designer. He holds a BFA in illustration from School of Visual Arts in NYC, and has worked for clients such as Hachette Book Group and the City of Portland Bureau of Housing. He is a talented visual artist, and enjoys working with clients to find the best solution possible. Visit his website

Board of Directors

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Chris Becker – Board Chair
Chris is an intern architect and urban designer in Eugene. While earning his Bachelor of Architecture, he worked with numerous environmental justice student groups to empower young leaders and push for action on environmental issues. His interests include working with communities to create healthy and prosperous places for current and future generations to live, work, and play. Chris hopes to see the NICE expand it’s work in cities and neighborhoods to actively create better places for the people who live there.


Alexandria Sasek – 
International Consultant

I grew up near Philadelphia, PA and finished my undergraduate degree at the University of Oregon. I was involved with student sustainability initiatives both on the university campus and in the region, and attended sustainability conferences in the Pacific Northwest and Russia. I love to travel, discover rad cafes in new cities, and talk about the gender aspect. I was drawn to the NICE because of its ability to create and cultivate meaningful change and cooperation in our communities!

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Emma Newman  –
At Large

I grew up in the Northwest, attended college at the University of Oregon where I was deeply engaged in student organizing efforts, and have since been working professionally in the field of transportation options and planning. I love connecting people, communities, and ideas to produce beautiful results and the NICE is a great vehicle for doing so.


Brian Laird – Treasurer
Born and raised in Bend, Brian has lived in Corvallis for the last seven years and works in Student Leadership & Involvement at Oregon State University. He particularly enjoys movies, bicycling, and any excuse to spend quality time with friends. As the Treasurer for the NICE, Brian keeps record of the organization’s budget and prepares financial reports as needed. A major goal he has for the NICE is expanding the organization’s consulting work to allow for greater reinvestment in paid positions and programming.

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Leo Qin –  At Large
Leo works in Data Science and Cybersecurity in Portland. He first became involved with the NICE as part of Summer of Solutions 2011. In his free time, Leo literally does math for fun and writes about math, data, and other topics that are of interest to him (leozqin.me/blog). He is interested in building the NICE’s organizational structure, including finance and operations..


Duncan Reid – At Large
Duncan Reid serves as the Sustainability Coordinator for Linfield college and has been involved with The NICE for over 5 years. He is passionate about supporting sustainable and resilient communities and is currently building a tiny house with his wife. He enjoys backpacking, riding his bike and archery.

Allison Curtis -At Large

I work for Portland Women’s Crisis Line and Betties360 (two local non-profits). I like to bike, read, and spend time outside in my free time.