Carissa Patrone is a passionate connector who enjoys finding and amplifying the interconnectedness and synergies of all things. As the Program Coordinator of Drawdown Lift, Carissa advances partnership engagement and written communications that support the intersection of climate solutions, improvement of human wellbeing, and poverty alleviation particularly in emerging economies in Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia.
Before joining Project Drawdown, Carissa served as a Peace Corps Volunteer working alongside three high school English teachers in the mountains of Telpaneca, Nicaragua. Her experience there deeply shaped her career and elevated the need for community development that is people-centered, equitable, and sustainable. Upon her return, she worked as the first Peace Corps Campus Recruiter in West Michigan. Most recently, Carissa worked as Equity Program Manager with the West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum and served on the planning committee for the City of Grand Rapids’ Community Collaboration on Climate Change and NAACP of Greater Grand Rapids’ Environmental Justice Community Coalition.
Carissa earned a Master of Public Administration Degree with an emphasis in Nonprofit Management and Leadership from Grand Valley State University where she focused her research on using a development lens to evaluate the sustainability and impact of a Ghanaian nonprofit organization in the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) sector. She also holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in Spanish and Communications Studies. Outside of work, Carissa can be found running by one of the many lakes in the Twin Cities, playing soccer, or reading a good book outside.