Meet The Honorees

Ruth Walter

Board Member, Groundwork Hudson Valley

The Honorable Ruth Walter grew up in Dobbs Ferry, the youngest of eight children. She graduated from Hackley School in Tarrytown and Princeton University. Her interest in public service came from her father, who was a speechwriter for New York City politicians and from her mother, who was an elementary school teacher in the Bronx. Ruth has served in many civic roles, most recently as Westchester County Legislator (2020-2021) where she chaired the Environment & Health Committee and secured new County funding for Groundwork to support the Green Team and its work along the Saw Mill River. Ruth has been passionate about environmental activism since her children were small, sending them to nature camp each year, and teaching them the joys of camping and hiking and reducing their family’s carbon footprint.


Yonkers NAACP Unit #2188

President, Reverend Frank E. Coleman, Jr.

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) was established in 1909 and is America’s oldest and largest civil rights organization. Today, the NAACP has more than 2,200 branches powered by over 2 million activists. The Yonkers NAACP Unit #2188 was formed in 1961 and is most known for the desegregation case entitled “United States and Yonkers Branch of the NAACP v. Yonkers Board of Education”. Under the leadership of its President, Reverend Frank E. Coleman, Jr., who is in his second term as president, the Yonkers NAACP will continue to fight for equity in housing, education, criminal justice and police reform, while also addressing environmental and climate justice issues negatively impacting communities of color. These include climate change, toxic spills in and around our city, water and waste management, and the danger in using polyfluoralkyl substances (PFAS) also called “forever chemicals” which have been proven to cause cancer, liver damage, and infertility, increased risk of asthma and thyroid disease.


Buro Happold

Climate Action Plan Consultant for the City of Yonkers

Buro Happold, is a global, integrated, multidisciplinary consulting and engineering firm that offers a complete range of services for the built environment, from individual buildings to campuses, and from neighborhoods to regional plans. Buro Happold is engaged in both the built and natural environments, tackling complex design and implementation issues relating to buildings, neighborhoods, cities, and institutions. The firm’s appreciation of the various city aspects—social, economic, resource, infrastructure, and political—allows the firm to support decision makers by providing a complete picture of the planning context and devising a unique approach to delivery. Drawing on local and international experience of best practices, staff work with clients to identify suitable strategies and programs to meet current and future challenges. In addition to more traditional analytic assessments, the firm prides itself on planning and then delivering unique, highly visible, and complex projects hand in hand with its clients.