The Sustainability InstituteThe Sustainability Institute

By Katherine Richards


Army, 1982-2004

If there was a Golden Globe for community-involvement, the recipient without a doubt would be Marcella. As a trained medic, EMT, and the Safety and Occupational Health Manager for the Navy, she was back and forth between active duty and the reserves before her official retirement in 2004. Marcella happened upon the Sustainability Institute through a coincidental meeting at a yoga class with the Institute’s Development Associate, the lovely Miss Katherine Westmoreland Richards. One conversation later Marcella decided to get her own house retrofitted. After much involvement and fascination with the process, she decided to join the VCC. The VCC is an addition to unimaginably extensive list of things she’s involved in, the kind of list that makes you feel guilty for indulging in a dash of TV. Because while you’re catching up on Season 6 of The Office, Marcella is probably working the Citizen Information Line for the Red Cross, volunteering for the Lowcountry Emergency Response Team, or perhaps upholding her duties as Emergency Response Chairperson for her sorority, Delta Sigma Theta. Just to name a few.

As one could imagine, Marcella can unquestionably be described as a social butterfly. Not only do her magnificently large wings help her to bring warmth and life to every flower she visits, they make her a well-connected woman. In the limited time she’s been working as a member of the VCC, only once has she worked on a house where she didn’t personally know the homeowners. Marcella passionately believes in the power of taking a few minutes at the start of each project to establish a relationship between the corps members and the homeowner. And the result? “You can physically see them exhale and relax”. This simple yet immensely impactful act embodies the Sustainability Institute’s very existence; the ability to create the personal connection that a larger corporate company cannot. Marcella has dedicated her life to sharing; whether it be resources, time, talent, or knowledge. Furthermore, she is passionate about sharing sustainably, which she defines as being able “to maintain and use more environmentally conscious materials”. At the end of the day, the engine behind the wonder woman more commonly known as Marcella, is her drive to “contribute meaningfully to the community”.  

About krichards
Katherine Westmoreland Richards holds a dual-degree for International Business and Management and published an acclaimed research thesis on energy in the Netherlands. Katherine's passion for energy continued as she worked in Ecuador to help create sustainable business solutions for a reserve in the rainforest. Katherine now works on development at The Sustainability Institute and uses her experience and passion to continue to develop a sustainable Charleston.