About Roots of Success

Our Team


Our Mission

To prepare youth and adults from communities with high rates of poverty and unemployment for environmental jobs and career pathways and to become activists and leaders who can address environmental challenges and injustices in their communities and society more broadly


Our Vision

A society that prioritizes social and racial justice, good jobs, thriving communities, and a healthy environment


Our Story

Roots of Success was created by Dr. Raquel Pinderhughes, Professor of Urban Studies & Planning at San Francisco State University and an internationally recognized expert on the green economy and green workforce training. The curriculum is informed by Dr. Pinderhughes’ decades of experience working with and teaching underserved populations, and in-depth research with employers in 21 sectors of the green economy, and in response to the growing momentum to promote sustainable development and provide good jobs for individuals with significant barriers to employment – fighting pollution and poverty simultaneously.

In 2021, Roots of Success was approved by the federal Department of Labor as the nation’s first “Environmental Literacy Instructor” Registered Apprenticeship Program.

click to enlarge

Listen to a Though Provoking Recent Interview with Founder and Executive Director, Dr. Raquel Pinderhughes 

In this interesting hour long conversation,  Dr. Pinderhughes explains her work that led to the creation of the Roots of Success program, highlights the importance of embedding environmental justice in environmental education and job training programs, and shows the need to center people most affected by environmental injustices who are too often excluded from spaces and opportunities. The conversation delves into the impact of Roots of Success in prisons throughout the United States, as well as the next steps for Roots of Success after becoming a federally recognized Apprenticeship and Pre-Apprenticeship program.

Programs that have used RoS


Community Colleges

  • Beaumont Independent School District Adult Education
  • Berkeley City College
  • Bronx Community College Future Now
  • Cañada College
  • Chicago Botanic Garden (Windy City Harvest)
  • College of the Mainland Continuing Education
  • Community College of Vermont
  • Cuyahoga Community College
  • EastSide University
  • Guilford College
  • Harris County Department of Education Adult Education
  • Houston Community College
  • Laney College
  • Lone Star College
  • Olive Harvey Community College
  • Skyline College
  • Texas A&M AgriLife
  • Tompkins-Cortland Community College


Environmental Organizations

  • Association for Energy Affordability
  • Bayou Rebirth
  • Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corp.
  • EarthMatters
  • East Michigan Environmental Action Council
  • Environmental Coalition for Water
  • Global Exchange
  • Glory Gardens NOLA
  • Going Green Living Bling
  • Green Connection Resource Center
  • Green Youth Art & Media Center
  • Grind for the Green
  • Jazz Root
  • KCP+L SmartGrid
  • Kheprw Institute
  • Lawrence Hall of Science
  • Let’s Raise A Million (LRAM)
  • Mothers on the Move
  • Mountain View Solar and Wind
  • Sierra Club
  • Solar One
  • Spiritual Empowerment Equals
  • Sustainable Rural Regenerative Enterprises for Families (SURREF)
  • The BLK Projek
  • The Climate Project
  • The Garden Project
  • The Green Project
  • The Willowell Foundation
  • Urban Agenda



  • City of Omaha Planning Department
  • City of Texas City Department of Recreation and Tourism
  • Marin County CDC
  • Marin County Office of Education
  • Marin Employment Connection
  • Mission Solano
  • NYC Department of Education
  • San Francisco Public Utilities Commission
  • SF Dept of the Environment
  • Solano County Health and Social Services Dept.
  • Solano County Sheriff’s Office
  • Solano County Youth & Family Services
  • Solano Employment Connection
  • Texas Education Agency
  • Washington County Youth Service Bureau

Re-entry Programs

  • Marin County Probation
  • Southeastern Vermont Community Action (SEVCA)
  • The Garden Project
  • Wilbur Wright College
  • Windy City Harvest


Prisons, Jails & Juvenile Justice Facilities

  • Center for Community Alternatives
  • Cook County Sheriff’s Boot Camp
  • East River Academy
  • Five Keys
  • Franklin Medical Center
  • Garden Time
  • Grafton Correctional Institution
  • Hawaii Youth Correctional Facility
  • The Kite
  • Maple Street Correctional Center
  • Marion Correctional Institution
  • Montgomery County Correctional Facility
  • New Mexico Corrections Department
  • Northeast Pre-Release Center
  • Ohio Central School System
  • Ohio Dept. of Rehabilitation and Correction
  • Ohio Green Prison Project
  • Ohio Reformatory for Women
  • Pickaway Correctional Institution
  • Richland Correctional Institution
  • Rikers Island
  • Southeastern Correctional Institution (SCI)
  • Southern State Correction Facility
  • Washington Department of Children, Youth, and Families


High Schools and Youth Programs

  • BACK/MCOE at County Community School
  • Berkeley Youth Alternatives
  • Binghamton City School District
  • Blanche Kelso Bruce Academy
  • Boston Youth Environmental Network
  • Brooklyn High School for Leadership and Community Service
  • Brotherhood Sister Sol
  • Build 2 Lead
  • Catherine Ferguson Academy
  • CCA Academy
  • Co-op Technical School
  • DoE – District 79
  • Ecology Center Youth Environmental Academy
  • Evans Solutions, Inc.
  • Global Student Embassy
  • Harris County Department of Education
  • Incite Focus
  • Kitty Andersen Youth Science Center
  • Mile High Youth Corps
  • Mission High School
  • New Roots Charter School
  • NYC Dept. of Education
  • Oakland Unified School District
  • Police Athletic League of New York City RISE Program
  • Pro Se Potential
  • ReSource YouthBuild
  • St. Patrick Center
  • Thompson Island Outward Bound
  • Toltecalli High School
  • Urban Assembly School for Green Careers
  • Vermont Green Youth Services
  • Vermont Youth Development Corps
  • Vermont Youth Services
  • Vietnamese Youth Development Center
  • YouthBuild
  • YouthBuild Cypress Hills
  • YouthBuild Louisville
  • Youth Opportunities Unlimited


Advocacy Organizations

  • Bayou Healers
  • Black Chamber of Commerce
  • Boston Workers Alliance
  • Chicanos Por La Causa, Inc.
  • Chittenden Emergency Food Self
  • Christian Fellowship Baptist Church
  • Community Food Advocates
  • Community Housing Partnership
  • Ella Baker Center for Human Rights (National)
  • Environmental Justice Advocates of MN
  • Friends of the Urban Forest
  • George Washington Carver Urban Science Alliance
  • Green For All (National)
  • Green Futures LA
  • Green Initiative of South Dallas
  • Greening Detroit
  • Healthy Partnership
  • J. Cole Recovery Homes, Inc.
  • League of Young Voters
  • Literacy Chicago
  • Louisiana Bucket Brigade
  • Martha O’ Bryan Community Center
  • MassCOSH
  • MQVN Community Development Corporation
  • Mt. Vernon Missionary Baptist
  • Navajo Green Jobs Coalition
  • Nebraskans for Peace
  • New Energy Economy
  • New Jersey Institute for Social Justice
  • NLEN
  • Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada
  • Push Buffalo
  • Rosewood House
  • Sera, Inc.
  • Social Justice Learning Institute
  • Southwest Organizing Project
  • Tewa Women United
  • The Horticultural Society of New York
  • Tierra y Libertad Organization
  • Urban Strategies Inc.


Historically Black Colleges & Universities

  • Fight for Light
  • Clark Atlanta University
  • Dillard University
  • Elizabeth City State University
  • Florida A&M University
  • Howard University
  • Jackson State University
  • Morehouse College
  • Morris Brown College
  • North Carolina A&T University
  • Spelman College


Job Training Programs

  • A. Philip Randolph Institute
  • Ashoka Youth Venture
  • Asian Neighborhood Design/Success Centers
  • Bayview YMCA
  • Benevolence Farm
  • BIG: Blacks in Green
  • Black Belt Community Based Tourism Network (BBCBTN)
  • Blueprint Foundation
  • Boston Youth Environmental Network
  • Boys & Girls Club
  • Bridges Out of Poverty Initiative
  • Brooklyn Workforce Innovations
  • Buckelew
  • Build Up Detroit
  • Career Connect
  • Center Point Inc.
  • Clean Air Coalition of Western NY
  • Clean City
  • Collective Roots
  • Concrete Safaris
  • Connections to Success
  • Consortium for Worker Education
  • Cook County Green Corps
  • Cook County Works
  • Cornell Cooperative Extension Energy Warriors
  • Cypress Hills LDC
  • Detroiters Work for Environmental Justice
  • DHHS Marin County Employment Connection
  • East Bay Green Jobs Corps Initiative
  • Earthmatters and facilitator with Community Food Advocates
  • Economic Development (SEEED)
  • EcoTrust
  • Enterprise for Equity
  • Environmental and Construction Pre-Apprentice Program
  • Golden Ciphers
  • Goodwill Bronx
  • Goodwill Industries International
  • Goodwill Oklahoma
  • Goodwill Seattle
  • Green City Force
  • Green Connection
  • Green Door
  • Green Impact Zone
  • Green Jobs
  • Green Opportunities
  • Green Streets
  • Groundwork Rhode Island
  • Grow Pittsburgh
  • Grow Up Green
  • Growing Home
  • Houston Center for Literacy
  • IBEW
  • Illinois Equity Staffing
  • Jewish Vocational Service
  • Jobs Training
  • JobTrain Menlo Park
  • Justice for All
  • KC Can Compost
  • Limitless Vistas Inc.
  • Linking Learning to Life
  • Literacy Advance of Houston
  • Louisiana Green Corps
  • Marin City CDC
  • Marin County Office of Education – ROP
  • Marin Employment Connection
  • Maxima Educational Group, LLC
  • MKS Recovery
  • New York City District Council of Carpenters
  • Nguzo Saba Gardens
  • Nontraditional Employment for Women
  • NW Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition
  • OAI, Inc.
  • OMI/Excelsior Beacon Center
  • One Economy Corp
  • One World Green
  • PathStone
  • PA Horticultural Society Roots to Reentry Partnership
  • Pendleton Cottages
  • PeoriaCorps
  • PowerCorps PHL
  • Ramah Navajo Indian Reservation
  • ReSource
  • Richmond BUILD
  • Rising Sun Energy Center
  • San Mateo Co. HSA Green Jobs Academy
  • Sankofa Vision
  • Seattle Jobs Initiative
  • SF Conservation Corps
  • Skeo Solutions (National)
  • SoBRO
  • Solar Richmond
  • St. Patrick Center
  • Sustainable Rural Regenerative Enterprises for Families (SURREF)
  • Sustainable South Bronx
  • The Lei Company
  • The Osborne Association
  • The Otesha Project UK
  • Tricycle Gardens
  • TSU Environmental Career Worker Training Program
  • The Unity Council
  • Urban League of Greater Cleveland
  • Urban Tilth/RYSE
  • US Green Building Council
  • UVM Extension 4H Agricultural Youth Project
  • Vermont Adult Learning
  • Vermont Green
  • Vermont Green Jobs
  • Vermont Works for Women
  • Vermont Youth Conservation Corp.
  • Vermont Youth Development Corps
  • Vermont Youth Tomorrow
  • Women’s Re-entry Achievement Program
  • Young Community Developers, Inc.
  • Youth Services

Roots of Success has partnered with programs in 40 states, Puerto Rico, the UK, and South Africa. There are more than 1,900 trained and certified instructors worldwide.

Special thanks to the following individuals and foundations for supporting Roots of Success

David and Janet Leatherwood Family Fund
East Bay Community Energy
The Grove Foundation
The Kendeda Fund
Oregon Health Authority
Penny Foundation
Oregon Community Foundation
Individual donors 


Contact Us

Interested in scheduling a training, reviewing a sample the curriculum, or simply learning more about how Roots of Success could make an impact on your classroom, reach out to us via email below.