Mothers Out Front & Kelsey Wirth Win McNulty Prize for Mobilizing Bold Action on Climate

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Mothers Out Front & Kelsey Wirth Win McNulty Prize for Mobilizing Bold Action on Climate

BREAKING NEWS—The McNulty Foundation and the Aspen Institute today announced Kelsey Wirth and Mothers Out Front as the recipient of the 12th annual John P. McNulty Prize, which recognizes individuals who are creating sustainable models for social change. Mothers Out Front is mobilizing more than 32,000 women and their children to demand those in power at all levels of US government take bold action that will accelerate the nation’s transition away from fossil fuels.

Co-founded in 2013 by Wirth and Vanessa Rule, Mothers Out Front uses a proven model of grassroots organizing, and has trained and empowered mothers and others who are influencing decision-makers and showing up in force. Much of their work is focused on building power in frontline communities — low-income communities and communities of color that have been hit hardest by the health and environmental costs of the climate crisis.

“Climate change affects everyone, but it harms the vulnerable and marginalized most of all,” said former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, chair of the McNulty Prize Jury. “We need courage and leadership on this issue now more than ever. If anything can move politicians to act, it's an organized and diverse movement of mothers fighting for their children’s futures."

It was that same paradigm shift that propelled Kelsey Wirth to found her organization. “If a car was driving down the street and my daughter ran in front of it, I would throw myself between her and the car. That’s how I came to understand climate change, not as a citizen, but as a mother.”

Unable to sit idly by while her daughters stood to inherit an increasingly poisoned planet, Wirth organized meetings in her home with other moms in her Massachusetts neighborhood. What started there has grown into a 32,000-strong force, with more than 45 mother-led teams driving change in 10 states, with more states on the horizon...