The WALC Institute is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization founded in 2009 with a mission to inspire, teach, connect and support communities in their efforts to improve health and well-being through better built environments. Each year, the Institute works directly with as many as 100 communities and thousands of community members, professionals, local leaders and students.
Our current team of four staff members is spread across the country in Washington State, Oregon and Florida while our network of partners, consultants and service providers spans an even broader geography. To achieve our vision of creating connected communities that support active living and that advance opportunities for all people through walkable streets and livable cities, we:
- provide technical assistance directly to communities
- develop and broadly disseminate educational tools and materials
- conduct capacity-building and professional-development training on best practices in walkability/livability
- engage students and interns in learning opportunities
WALC Institute team members are passionate about helping communities become more walkable and livable. With a volunteer board of directors, a small team of paid staff and an extensive network of partners and associates, the Institute fulfills its mission through technical assistance, education and outreach. Our team includes:
Rich Killingsworth, Board President
Based in Dover, Delaware
Rich Killingsworth is the Chief of Health Promotion and Disease Prevention at the Delaware Division of Public Health. He is the former director of Active Living by Design, and also led the National Foundation on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition. Rich served as a special advisor to the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition and has become nationally recognized for his pioneering efforts in cultivating the emerging domains of placemaking, active living and the impacts of the built and natural environment on everyday life, especially health. Rich is an adjunct professor in the Department of Behavioral Health and Nutrition at the University of Delaware.
Dr. Andrew Dannenberg, Board Member
Based in Seattle, Washington
Andy Dannenberg is nationally renowned for helping bring the Health Impact Assessment into the livability movement and leading the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in promoting the HIA. Andy is co-editor of Making Healthy Places: Designing and Building for Health, Well-being, and Sustainability with Howard Frumkin and Richard J. Jackson. Andy also is a consultant to and former team leader of the Healthy Community Design Initiative at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Center for Environmental Health in Atlanta. For the past decade his research and teaching have focused on examining the health aspects of planning and designing our built environment. He has a particular interest in the use of a health impact assessment as a tool to inform community planners about the health consequences of their decisions. He previously served as director of the Division of Applied Public Health Training at the CDC. Andy is also an affiliate professor in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences and in the Department of Urban Design and Planning at the University of Washington in Seattle, where he teaches courses on healthy community design and on health impact assessment. In addition to his earlier CDC work, Andy served as the preventive medicine residency director and as an injury prevention epidemiologist on the faculty at the Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health in Baltimore. He was also a cardiovascular epidemiologist at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda. Andy earned his MD at Stanford University and an MPH from Johns Hopkins University, and completed a family medicine residency at the Medical University of South Carolina.
Lisa Portelli, Board Member
Based in Orlando, Florida
Lisa is a Program Director at the Winter Park Health Foundation, where she oversees the Foundation’s Community Health focus area and has led WPHF’s entry into policy-based work, including recent efforts to train local practitioners on Health Impact Assessments to increase their use in Central Florida. Lisa also is an adjunct instructor at the University of Central Florida, teaching “Planning Healthy Communities” in the Masters of Urban and Regional Planning program. In Spring 2014, Lisa taught her class to conduct Rapid HIAs and oversaw the class as it conducted a Rapid HIA for a planning process taking place in an historically underserved local community.
Kelly Morphy, Executive Director and Board Member
Based in Winter Garden, Florida
Kelly brings to the WALC Institute and the communities it serves more than 15 years of experience in community involvement and public service. She works directly with communities to help them become healthier, better connected, more accessible and more sustainable through effective and meaningful civic engagement. She also advances the mission of the Institute and the livability movement by developing strategic plans and effectively managing community projects, outreach programs, and business-development initiatives. Kelly’s experience prior to joining the Institute included managing communications for an urban-design firm in Florida, serving as a public-information officer for an air-pollution-control district in California, and operating two small businesses. She started her career as a journalist on her home island of Guam, and also competed internationally as a member of the Guam Women’s National Soccer Team, before relocating to the mainland. She and her husband Tim have three children and live in Winter Garden, Florida, where Kelly also serves in a volunteer capacity as president of the not-for-profit corporation Safe Streets West Orange.
Robert Ping, Technical Assistance Program Manager
Based in Portland, Oregon
A self-described ‘bikeaholic’ and a passionate transportation advocate, Robert has become well known throughout the country for his work in Safe Routes to School program and policy change, and helps communities and advocates to improve the built environment and increase safety, social equity, and physical activity through bicycling and walking. Robert has focused nearly his entire career on getting people more active, especially children and youth, and especially on bicycles. Robert has more than two decades experience managing non-profit organizations and programs, with experience in Safe Routes to School, Complete Streets, Smart Growth and Social Equity, policy change at the state, regional, and local levels, program development and technical assistance, public speaking, and community organizing. From 2003-2013 Robert focused on Safe Routes to School, becoming one of the nation’s leading experts in this growing movement to get kids active and improve the built environment.
Sally Lovell, Finance Manager and Ex-Officio Board Member
Based in Port Townsend, Washington
Sally is an avid walker, whose passion for wandering in the great outdoors equals her passion for bookkeeping. Over the last ten years, Sally has been the treasurer of several nonprofit organizations in Washington state including the Food Co-op of Port Townsend and the Green Building Guild. Since arriving in Washington twenty years ago, her interest in sustainability issues have led her to volunteer for organizations involved in green building, organic food systems, and renewable energy and smart transportation. She came to the WALC Institute with more than 25 years of experience in bookkeeping and financial management. Not only a keeper of financial records, Sally also brings experience in managing small organizations, human-resource requirements, and providing administrative support to organization leadership. Sally loves her flexible schedule, which makes it easy for her to stay active through bicycling and walking. Sally also enjoys occasionally hiking the mountain trails near her home on the Olympic Peninsula.
Mark Fenton, Senior Advisor and Consultant
Based in Boston, Massachusetts
Mark Fenton is a national public health, planning, and transportation consultant who conducts two-day Healthy Community Design Summits, is an adjunct associate professor at Tufts University’s Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, and is former host of the “America’s Walking” series on PBS television. He’s author of numerous books including the best selling “Complete Guide to Walking for Health, Weight Loss, and Fitness” (Lyons Press, 2nd edition 2008). Mark was a facilitator for the walkable community workshop series of the National Center for Bicycling and Walking; he now provides technical training and community planning as an independent consultant, including as Senior Advisor to the WALC Institute. He studied biomechanics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was a researcher at the Olympic Training Center’s Sports Science Laboratory in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and manager of Reebok’s Human Performance Laboratory. He’s a vocal advocate for non-motorized transportation, a frequent consultant on bicycle and pedestrian community plans, and recognized authority on public health issues and the need for community, environmental, and public-policy initiatives to encourage more walking, bicycling, and transit use.
Dan Burden, Co-Founder and Consultant
Based in Port Townsend, Washington
Dan has spent most of his life helping the world get “back on its feet.” In 2014, the White House recognized Dan as a Champion of Change for his efforts to make places more walkable, including the leadership he has provided through the WALC Institute’s technical assistance program and the resulting changes made in dozens communities the Institute has served. In 2009, a user’s poll by Planetizen named Dan as one of the Top 100 Urban Thinkers of all time. That same year, Dan co-founded the WALC Institute to create a focus on education, capacity-building and training to support communities in becoming more engaged and healthier through active living. Dan also serves on the board of advisors for Walkscore (www.walkscore.com) and is the Director of Innovation & Inspiration for Blue Zones, LLC.
The WALC Institute team is always interested to hear ideas on how we can help communities in their efforts to become more walkable and livable. To share your thoughts or let us know how we can help your community, please contact us.