Our Organization

Rooted In Hope is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to environmental protection and sustainable development. Our organization addresses the challenges of ecologically fragile and socially underserved regions of the world, with a particular focus on the interdependencies of forests, food, and water.  We work with international partners on grassroots projects that protect and restore the planet’s natural resources, while helping rural communities find new opportunities for growth. Through knowledge-sharing, collaboration, and education, we are advancing local solutions to global challenges.

We work at the intersection of forests, food, and water on grassroots projects that drive sustainable development in rural communities.
We envision a world where people can meet their needs and fulfill their dreams while preserving the natural resources of the planet.
We work to advance local solutions to global challenges by partnering with the communities we are supporting. We rely on an international network of partners, donors, and advisors to carry out our community-based initiatives.

  • Promote environmental awareness through community engagement
  • Recharge watersheds by improving root systems and reducing soil erosion
  • Protect endangered species by restoring vital ecosystems
  • Improve biodiversity by planting native species and preserving natural habitats
  • Create solutions through agricultural training and resource optimization
  • Increase farmer yields by using agroforestry, water management, and kitchen gardens
  • Empower communities through employment opportunities and community involvement
  • Educate students through participation and cross-cultural collaboration
  • Stimulate local economies through job creation and income generation
  • Advance sustainability through holistic projects that encourage local ownership
  • Combat climate change through reforestation and forest preservation

Rooted In Hope was founded by Cathy Rodgers and her two daughters, Jenny and Katie Emick. These three women share a deep appreciation for the world’s natural resources, as well as a strong commitment to sustainability and international development. In 2010, Cathy, Jenny, and Katie established Rooted In Hope to address the growing need for environmental protection and positive social development.

Rooted In Hope’s mission was designed to meet the needs of both the environment and the communities that depend on it. To date, Rooted In Hope has planted over 100,000 trees, improved food security and climate resilience for hundreds of smallholder farmers through the use of drip irrigation, educated over 5,000 students, trained women in several rural villages, and employed hundreds of local laborers. While the majority of projects have been conducted in Kenya, Rooted In Hope also has projects in the United States, Central America, and other parts of Africa.

Rooted In Hope fostered early partnerships with conservation organizations such as the Green Belt Movement and Kenya Wildlife Service, and continues to build alliances with government agencies, international NGOs, community-based organizations, and volunteer groups to carry out international projects.

Our Founders

Cathy Rodgers
Cathy RodgersCo-Founder & President
Cathy is an executive with a keen passion for sustainability. She is a 33 year veteran of IBM, currently serving as Vice President of Global Opportunities, and is deeply involved in IBM’s Smarter Planet initiatives, where she helps to drive integrated sustainability solutions.

Cathy is long standing member of the Institute of Supply Management, Committee Chair for Sustainability & Social Responsibility and one of the original members of the Women Executives in Supply Management Advisory Counsel. Cathy has been a long time supporter of women and minorities in business, and was featured in the New York Times for her work with minorities in business development.

Cathy has visited close to 100 countries, and is both personally and professionally dedicated to advancing environmental and social development.

Katie Emick
Katie EmickCo-Founder & Executive Director
Katie has worked across many sectors managing nonprofit organizations, corporate citizenship programs, and international development projects.

She received her Bachelor’s Degree from Cal Poly State University and her Master’s Degree from Thunderbird School of Global Management. Katie worked at DISH Network where she developed and managed the companywide corporate citizenship program. She also worked in Coca-Cola’s sustainability office and at a Buenos Aires-based NGO where she led an analysis on social investment in Argentina.

Katie is passionate about nonprofit work and has led several environmental and social development projects, including many of Rooted In Hope’s reforestation, drip irrigation, and sister-school programs.

Katie has visited over 40 countries and all seven continents. She recently completed her goal to run a half-marathon on every continent with her mother.

Jennifer Emick
Jennifer EmickCo-Founder & Board Member
Jennifer has worked across sectors and with cross-disciplinary teams as a researcher, strategist, graphic artist, marketing manager and program director. She is passionate about creating services that improve livelihoods and using information to drive impact.

Currently, Jennifer is a Brand Manager for Weebly. Previously, she worked as Communications Designer for an energy management company in the Silicon Valley and as the Marketing and Communications Manager for School-to-School International, a nonprofit organization focused on educational development. Jennifer has traveled to over four-dozen countries, is a Semester at Sea alumna and holds dual Bachelor’s Degrees in International Relations and Latin American Studies from the CSU, Chico.

Jennifer led a study examining the the impact of water on girls’ secondary education in rural Kenya. She has worked extensively on projects related to water, sanitation, and hygiene. Jennifer currently serves on the Board of Directors for Rooted In Hope.

Our Board of Directors

MaryEllen Bell
MaryEllen BellBoard Member
Maryellen Bell has 20 years of experience, with a strong background in agronomy, soil assessment, field monitoring, and horticulture management. Maryellen is a well-rounded horticultural consultant focusing on diagnosis, management, and use of recycled water in landscapes. Her expertise is instrumental in advising on Rooted In Hope’s reforestation and small-farming programs.
Steve Emick
Steve EmickBoard Member
Steve is passionate about supporting environmentally-focused organizations and has extensive experience working with leading agricultural and landscaping experts. With his strong financial acumen and background in accounting, Steve plays a key role in helping the organization budget for its programs and build upon its assets. He looks forward to joining his two daughters and the rest of the Rooted in Hope team.
Linda Rodgers
Linda RodgersBoard Member
Linda is a serial entrepreneur with the passion and dedication to turn a vision into a reality. She started a successful floral business which she sold to pursue a career in real estate. Linda received her Bachelors Degree in Human Services, specializing in social work. Her skills and creativity are invaluable to the Rooted In Hope team.
Tami Bonfante
Tami BonfanteBoard Member
Tami is a landscape professional with a wealth of knowledge about tree specimens, plant varieties, and nursery management. She currently works at Bonfante Specimen Trees where she oversees an extensive inventory of trees from seedling to maturity. Her experience, leadership, and enthusiasm help to drive Rooted In Hope’s programs both at home and abroad.