Who We Are



Founded in late 2014, ECA has grown in a short time to over 3600 members with 5 active regional chapters and more in formation. We have established collaborative partnerships with 68 other climate-focused organizations. As an all-volunteer organization, we rely on our members to create the ECA legacy. You too can be part of this legacy!  


Meet the volunteer leaders who make Elders Climate Action possible

We are primarily baby boomers. Having come of age in a time of social activism, we know what power citizen voices can have in shaping public policy. We are grandparents and  concerned elders who accept our role as guardians of future generations. We recognize that if we do not do something now, our grandchildren and future generations will suffer from our inaction.  

Click on the image below to read the bio

  • Hazel Chandler, Arizona

  • Margo Frank,  California

  • Geri Freedman, Florida

  • Grady

    Grady McGonagill,  Massachusetts

  • Shirley McGrath, California

  • Paul Severance, Indiana

  • Dr. Steve Simon, Indiana

  • John Sorensen, California

  • Leslie Wharton, Maryland

Hazel Chandler, Arizona

Coordinating Council member, Arizona Chapter Co-Leader

As I went through my life stages of motherhood and grand-parenting I became increasingly concerned about the world that our children and grandchildren are inheriting.  Upon retiring from the nonprofit sector, I finally had time to act in response to this concern and felt an urgent call to act now.  I trained with Climate Reality and a few weeks later found Elders Climate Action. Together with my other Elder friends, we are writing a new story to tell our grandchildren about how we joined together to demand human rights for all and a livable future for future generations and all inhabitants of planet earth.   

Margo Frank,  California

Co-Chair Communications & Marketing Committee, Coordinating Council member

I love being a grandmother but I worry about the world my grandkids will inherit. As a partially retired Licensed Clinical Social Worker, I focus on creating resiliency in my rural community. In 2015 I joined ECA so that I could do more to leave a sustainable world for future generations.  Being involved in ECA feeds my spirit, sets an example for my family and keeps me working on my own carbon footprint.

Geri Freedman, Florida

Co-Chair Coordinating Council and Communications & Marketing Committee

In my youth I was an activist in the women’s movement, the war and the environment.  Then came career and family which became my entire life. During my working years I worked in social services and government administration   became a grandparent and my life changed and  I knew I could do more to preserve our planet.   I look at my young grandchildren and I am inspired to act.  As a contributor to the current state of the earth I must act now.  I know we can make a difference for our grandchildren through our passion, wisdom, skills and actions. My vision is for my grandchildren to live in the beautiful world we grew up in.

Grady McGonagill,  Massachusetts

Engagement Committee Chair, Coordinating Council member, Massachusetts Chapter Leader

For 30 years I worked as a leadership consultant and coach.  In 2013 I  felt called to address climate change, offering pro bono support to The Better Future Project and joining the Citizens’ Climate Lobby. Grandparents’ Climate Action Day in 2015 drew me into ECA where I now use my leadership skills to lead the first ECA state chapter, in Massachusetts and provide inspiration to other chapters as they develop.

Shirley McGrath, California

Partnerships Liaison, Communications & Marketing Committee, Newsletter Editor, Member NorCal Chapter, Coordinating Council member

After retiring in 2008 from my job as Patient Services Manager for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society in San Francisco, I began to search for meaningful volunteer work. When I heard about  Grandparents Climate Action Day in 2015, I plunged into working with ECA.  My grandchildren are my motivation. I cannot imagine a more meaningful purpose than to alter the course of global climate change.  This is an incredible opportunity for older Americans to make this our life’s work.  

Paul Severance, Indiana

Founder, Elders Climate Action

Paul Severance spent most of his working life as a community organizer, including urban neighborhood organizing in New York and Indiana. He founded an Indiana senior citizens legislative advocacy organization, United Senior Action of Indiana, and served as its Executive Director for 27 years.  He is past Board Chair and current Administrative Director for Sage-ing International.

In retirement, Paul has turned his attention to the  existential threat posed by climate change, and the responsibility of elders to speak for the seventh generation.  He believes that both because of our long-term perspective and our numbers, American elders have the potential to become a leading force in combating climate change.  He founded Elders Climate Action, and now serves as a Congressional Liaison for Citizens Climate Lobby.

Dr. Steve Simon, Indiana

Coordinating Council, Policy Committee co-chair

I’ve always loved science! I studied it in college and built a career mostly focused on the environment and energy, including the EPA’s work in research, monitoring and remediation. My dedication to leaving a safe world for future generations led me to get involved with Elders Climate Action where I draw on my expertise to help formulate our national policies.

John Sorensen, California

Conscious Elders Network’s (CEN) Coordinating Director,  Fundraising Committee co-chair, ECA Coordinating Council member

Captivated by the Space Race, I worked for many years in the field of aerospace as an engineer, manager and entrepreneur. In 2005 I felt called to dedicate myself to humanitarian service and the creation of a culture that honors and supports the wisdom of conscious elders. Being involved with ECA is an extension of my life-long focus on social and environmental justice.

Leslie Wharton, Maryland

Co-Chair Coordinating Council and Engagement Committee

My love of American history led me to the field of law and a belief that our political leaders would act for the benefit of all. By 2007, when climate change grabbed my attention, I recognized that I could not rely on government to address this threat. I’m convinced that we the people need to take this issue in hand. That’s why I’m an Elders Climate Action leader.

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