Iowa Interfaith Power & Light (Iowa IPL) has named Matt Russell, a sustainable agriculture leader at the Drake University Agricultural Law Center, as its new executive director.

Russell, a farmer and outspoken advocate for finding solutions to climate change, will fill the position starting in April. The Rev. Susan Hendershot Guy, the former executive director, left the organization in January to lead the national movement as president of Interfaith Power & Light.

“Matt was chosen to lead our statewide, faith based, grassroots organization because of his personal and professional commitment to care for creation,” says Brian Campbell, president of the Iowa IPL board of directors.

“Climate change is the greatest challenge of our time,” says Russell. “Iowa’s communities of faith play an unparalleled role in helping Iowans understand the moral imperative in solving this problem caused by human activity. I am excited and honored to lead Iowa Interfaith Power & Light into new opportunities, resources, and action.”

Under Russell’s leadership, Iowa IPL will develop a program to engage Iowa agriculture on climate change as well as continue its advocacy for sustainable energy policies and efforts to help Iowans reduce their carbon footprint.

Russell has spent his entire career with non-profit organizations in addition to eight years at USDA as a member of the Farm Service Agency state committee. Currently, Russell works as the Resilient Agriculture Coordinator at the Drake University Agricultural Law Center. He farms with his spouse in rural Lacona and grew up on a family farm near Anita. He received a bachelor’s degree from Loras College and studied for the Catholic Diocese of Des Moines at the University of St. Mary of the Lake, Mundelein Seminary in Illinois. He earned a master’s degree in Rural Sociology from Iowa State University.

Starting April 1, 2018, Iowa IPL’s new director can be reached at director@iowaipl.org and 515-689-1112.