Croatan Institute Welcomes William J. Barber III as a Board Member

December 20, 2023

Croatan Institute is happy to announce that long-time partner of the Institute, William J. Barber, III, has joined our Board of Directors. Barber currently serves as the Director of Equitable Investment and Energy Justice at the Coalition for Green Capital and the CEO of Rural Beacon Initiative, LLC 

Barber’s background includes extensive experience as a social justice organizer and environmental justice advocate, working with the North Carolina NAACP, the Poor People’s Campaign, the Climate Reality Project, and numerous other organizations. Barber’s work focuses on increasing the self-determination of communities through responsible finance. 

As CEO of Rural Beacon Initiative, LLC, Barber has collaborated with Croatan Institute to acquire a farm in the historic Free Black community of Piney Woods, NC, using innovative financing in partnership with Foodshed Capital. Rural Beacon Initiative is now creating a sustainability hub at the site in Martin County called Free Union Farm. Free Union Farm is focused on renewable energy, regenerative agriculture, and social equity and using those systems to drive community empowerment and economic development. Croatan Institute is helping advise Rural Beacon Initiative on the implementation of agricultural and forestry practices.  

With a bachelor’s in Environmental Physics from North Carolina Central University, and a J.D. in Environmental Law and Policy from UNC School of Law, Barber brings a range of talents to our board, and we look forward to his stewardship of the Institute.