About Unified Ground

A sustainable planet is not possible without an equitable society. 

I believe that as a technologist, with great power comes great responsibility.

When I left media to work for mission-based companies, it was because I truly believe in the impact of the work. And now, along with my brother, Jelani Ellis, we have founded Unified Ground because this is the opportunity to join our passions for social justice and fighting climate change. We have established Unified Ground together since we believe change must start locally — with family and community. Our amazing team is driven by these same ideals, and that makes me excited to get up every morning and bend the arc of history towards justice.

We look forward to working with you!

Jamil Omari Ellis (Co-Founder, CEO)


Unified Ground's technology connects ESG initiatives, government's climate policy work, and social impact dollars with a network of community based businesses and organizations to meet the end to end needs of climate and social impact investments.


Close the income and wealth gap in vulnerable communities, because a sustainable planet is not possible without an equitable society.

Climate change disproportionately affects vulnerable, low-income and black and brown communities. We believe that enabling and lifting up these communities to be integral parts of the solution is imperative. Unified Ground will ensure climate and social impact investments will have deep impact by building up the foundation and resilience of these communities.

Our team

Jamil Ellis

Founder, CEO, CTO

Prior to starting Unified Ground, Jamil spent 4 years as CTO of Bright Power managing all technology and business systems and leading development of its flagship software product, EnergyScoreCards. Before joining Bright Power, Jamil served as the first CTO at BlocPower where he managed the development of its platform, led product development, and built strategic partnerships to drive the company’s mission.

Jamil is a board member of CultureHub, a center for art and technology that connects communities around the world, and the Manufacturing & Industrial Innovation Council, a Mayoral Industry Partnership that supports the sustainability and growth of New York’s manufacturing and industrial sectors.

When he’s not rooting for the Yankees, he’s spending time with his family, writing, and producing his podcast with his father on Race, Law and History, Ellis Conversations. He received his B.S. in Computer Engineering from Columbia.

Jelani Ellis

Founder, Product Development

Jelani Ellis is an educator, entrepreneur, consultant and investor. Prior to Unified Ground, he worked for 15 years as a classroom teacher at The Berkeley Carroll School in Brooklyn, NY. In addition to regularly participating in professional development around communication skills and curriculum development, he worked with colleagues to update the Social Studies program and lead workshops on Collaborative Communication.

In his spare time, he enjoys amateur juggling, playing and designing boardgames, and having deep conversations with his brother’s puppy, Brown Sugar. He received his Bachelor’s Degree in Philosophy from Harvard University and his Master’s in Education from Bank Street College.

Ronald Ellis

Board Member

Ronald Ellis served twenty-four years as a United States Magistrate Judge in New York before retiring in 2017.  Prior to his judicial service, Judge Ellis worked at the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Inc. for seventeen years, where he held several leadership positions, including Director of the Fund's Poverty & Justice Program, which addressed the problems of families and individuals in poverty, including cases involving access to health care, school equity, low-income housing, and environmental justice.   

Judge Ellis has been an adjunct professor at multiple law schools, where his subject areas included courses concerning the intersection of race and law. Since retirement, some of his energy has been channeled into the podcast he shares with Jamil. Judge Ellis is an avid amateur photographer, and seldom goes out without one or more cameras.

Dana Archer

Dana Archer-Rosenthal

Dana Archer-Rosenthal has 20 years of experience supporting innovative program and financing models for poverty alleviation and environmental sustainability. She has held leadership positions in leading social enterprises (Hot Bread Kitchen, BlocPower) ), community development financial institutions (NonprofitFinance Fund) and philanthropy (Robin Hood Foundation), and has managed program delivery for large-scale public-private partnerships funded by the City of New York and the federal Social Innovation Fund.
She has deep issue area expertise in workforce and economic development, social innovation financing, and nonprofit funding models. As an independent consultant for the past five years, she has provided tactical and strategic support to early- and growth-stage nonprofits and businesses in the areas of program design and evaluation, fundraising strategy and organizational growth and development. Current and past clients include Stacks+Joules, Green City Force, Food Education Fund, Drive Change, Rebuilding Together NYC, Southwest Brooklyn Industrial Development Corporation, and Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks Conservancy. She also researches and writes on topics related to workforce development, job quality and outcomes-based funding, with recent publications for the Workforce Professionals Training Institute, New America and Nonprofit Finance Fund. She is a proud native New Yorker and New York City public school graduate and has degrees in urban studies and city planning from Vassar College and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 

Michael Jarrett


Michael has worked in the energy efficiency field for the majority of his career and has had a diverse set of experiences, including serving as a researcher at ACEEE, an EPA consultant at ICF, and as the Director of Data Operations and Director of Analysis, National at Bright Power. His interest in the intersection of climate change mitigation and social justice came from his grad school capstone project that focused on equity in access to healthy foods in Washington, D.C.

Michael holds a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science and History from Duquesne University and a Masters in Public Policy from The George Washington University. After nearly a decade living in Washington, D.C. and New York City he currently resides in his hometown of Pittsburgh.

When not at work, Michael enjoys playing guitar (he has yet to receive any noise complaints from his neighbors!), biking, hiking, and spending time with friends and family. And when we’re not in the middle of a global pandemic he also enjoys spending too much of his salary on concert tickets and traveling to new cities in search of amazing food and cleverly-named IPAs.

Alena Perez


Alena brings her global public health lens and expertise in strategic partnership building and operational program management. Prior, she held the role of Director of Operations in Technology for a green energy management company, consulted on short-term implementation projects throughout the social impact space in NYC, served on the disaster relief coordination team with the World Health Organization internationally, and improved the child abuse response system in San Francisco.

When Alena is not focused on social impact, you can find her exploring the world, challenging her mind to learn new languages, and immersing herself through dance and creativity.


Matt Mawhinney


Matt has over 8 years of experience at the intersection of workforce development and social impact both with LaunchCode and more recently as the co-founder of Generation Data. He has helped hundreds of individuals start good paying technology careers and helped generate millions of dollars in business revenue and non-profit grants. Matt is also a member of the My Climate Journey community.

He lives in Washington, DC with his dog Cow.

Akil Friday

Outreach & Sales

Akil Friday brings 15 years of sustainability experience and passion as the Sales/Outreach Manager for Unified Ground. He worked in the Utility/Energy industry throughout his career in several areas such as Program Management, Operations, Marketing and Sales/Outreach. His great joy is working with underserved communities, ensuring awareness and participation in energy sustainable programs. Akil has managed affordable program budgets for energy efficiency exceeding annual spends of 15 millions dollars to achieve city/state goals.

He is also passionate about health and fitness as an avid gym member. Cooking is therapeutic for Akil not to mention he's always ready for a new adventure as it relates to travel. Akil has a BSc. from St. John's University in Business and his Msc from Fordham University in Leadership and Social Justice.

Soraya Karimi


Soraya's passion for what lies at intersection of sustainability and technology began at Stanford University, where her degree in Environmental Engineering exposed her to the potential the energy space has for monetizing social good. She works to hone Unified Ground's technology while employed as a Data Analyst at the regenerative food-labeling company HowGood. Soraya's previous experience includes operating as a Data Analyst at the retrofitting and auditing company Bright Power, and planning for a small city in Florida.
Soraya enjoys listening to records on her vintage record player, pushing the boundaries of her home-built PC, crocheting, and drinking tea at her current residence in Clermont, Florida.

Aminata Cisse


Aminata, a passionate computer science student at CUNY Brooklyn College, is driven by the potential of technology to create positive change. As a bronx native and Malian-American, her background fuels her interest in innovation, problem-solving, and community engagement. Aminata's journey reflects the power of diverse experiences, having participated in food and youth advocacy initiatives like YFA and YWAC, she witnessed the need for impactful solutions whichsparked her transition to computer science, as she viewed technology as a powerful tool for large-scale social good.

Her experience as a Software Engineer Intern at Develop for Good, where she revamped a community organization's mobile app, solidified her passion. Now at Unified Ground, Aminata continues to strengthen her technical, leadership and organizational skills while contributing to meaningful technological solutions.

In her free time, Aminata enjoys creating web applications, exploring new culinary experiences, and reading.