Denise Fairchild is the inaugural President of Emerald Cities Collaborative (ECC), a national nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C., with affiliates in major urban centers across the United States. She is charged with advancing ECC’s “high-road” mission to green our cities, build resilient local economies and ensure equity inclusion in both the process and outcomes of a new green and healthy economy.
Denise is nationally recognized and respected for her 40-year successful track record and innovative programs in sustainable and community economic development, domestically and internationally. In 1995 she founded and directed the Community and Economic Development (CED) Department at Los Angeles Trade-Technical College, as well as an affiliated nonprofit community development research and technical assistance organization, CDTech. She founded the Regional Economic Development Institute (REDI), an initiative of Los Angeles Trade-Technical College, to provide inner-city residents with career and technical education for high-growth/high-demand jobs in the L.A. region, with a focus on the green economy. From 1989-1995 she served as executive director of LISC-LA, helping to build out the region’s community development industry creating nonprofit housing, jobs and businesses that strengthened and improved the health and environments of L.A.’s low-income communities of color.
Her civic and political appointments have included the California Commission on Regionalism, the California Economic Strategy Panel, the California Local Economic Development Association, the Urban Land Institute National Inner City Advisor, the Coalition for Women’s Economic Development and the Los Angeles Environmental Quality Board. She has lived, worked and educated her two sons in South Los Angeles since 1977 and also served as Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s special advisor for South L.A. Investments.
Denise received her B.A from Fisk University in 1972, a masters in City Planning from the University of Pennsylvania and a doctorate in urban planning from UCLA. She holds a number of academic distinctions, including serving as a senior fellow at M.I.T., U.C.L.A. and The Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Fellowship.