Mission Statement

The Environmental League of Massachusetts Action Fund helps pass laws that protect our environmental legacy, holds our elected officials accountable, and works to build the political power of the environmental community. 

Good policy alone is often not enough. The environmental community needs:

  • To create a political strategy that supports public officials who protect the environment.
  • To elevate our issues, even on the agenda of those who support our work.

Political Director: Joe O'Brien

Joe O’Brien serves as the Political Director for the ELM-Action Fund. Joe has more than 25 years of experience in government, electoral politics, issue advocacy, and community service. 

Early in his career Joe worked for community based organizations in New York City, Boston and Worcester on a wide range of issues, including youth development, community organizing and environmental action. Joe also helped lead the campaign finance reform organization Mass Voters for Clean Elections and later served as the Director of the Commonwealth Coalition.

For the last 15 years Joe has worked as an elected official and government leader.  Joe served three terms on the Worcester School Committee and in 2009 became the first elected Mayor of Worcester who had not previously served on the City Council. Following his time as Mayor, he served one term on the Worcester City Council. 

Joe has extensive electoral management experience playing a leadership role for more than 20 federal, state and local candidates for public office.  Joe was the campaign Manager for Tim Murray’s successful campaign for Lt. Governor of Massachusetts and has helped elect political leaders in Central Massachusetts and San Diego.  Other notable efforts include working as a Regional GOTV Lead for the campaigns of Hillary Clinton and President Obama in New Hampshire in 2008 as well as helping to coordinate GOTV efforts for the Senate campaigns of Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey in Central Massachusetts

Joe also worked as the District Director for U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Worcester, where he oversaw the Congressman’s three district offices and served as a liaison to city and town officials. Prior to coming to the Action Fund Joe was the Political and Finance Director for Congressman McGovern Re-Election Committee. 

Joe earned a bachelor’s degree in Urban Studies from Fordham University in 1991 and a Master’s in Public Administration from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in 2000. Joe is also an adjunct professor at Clark University where he teaches in both the undergraduate Political Science and MPA programs. 

Executive Director: Ken Pruitt

Ken Pruitt serves as Executive Director of both the ELM Action Fund and its 501c3 partner, the Environmental League of Massachusetts (ELM). Ken began as Managing Director of ELM in 2008, and became Executive Director of both ELM and the ELM Action Fund in 2014. From 2003 to 2008 Ken was Executive Director of the Massachusetts Association of Conservation Commissions, a statewide advocacy organization dedicated to education and advocacy on behalf of the Commonwealth's 351 Conservation Commissions, which are charged with protecting wetlands, waterways and conservation land in every city and town. From 1998 to 2003 he was Director of Conservation for the Town of Boxford, MA, where he led efforts to protect important town natural resources. Previously Ken was a Land Use and Natural Resources Analyst with Science Applications International Corporation in the Washington, DC area, where he worked on assignment with the Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency on forestry, water quality and land use projects. Prior to graduate school he worked at the Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Economies (CERES) based in Boston, helping to promote a 10-point code of corporate environmental conduct. Ken is a graduate of Macalester College (B.A.), the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies (M.F.S.), and the Yale Graduate School (M.A.).

Board of Directors

  • ALEX BOK, Chair

  • George Bachrach, President

  • Ken Pruitt, Treasurer & Clerk


  • Seth Jaffe

  • Anne Kelly

  • Peter Nessen

  • Pete Pedersen

  • Tedd Saunders

  • Warren Tolman