William Penn Foundation Welcomes Stuart Clarke as New Program Director of Watershed Protection

Watershed Protection

William Penn Foundation Welcomes Stuart Clarke as New Program Director of Watershed Protection

Posted: Wednesday, July 28, 2021
Source: William Penn Foundation

PHILADELPHIA (July 28, 2021) – The William Penn Foundation announced today the appointment of Stuart A. Clarke as the organization’s new Program Director of Watershed Protection.

Clarke will oversee a $30 million annual grant portfolio, which includes investments in research, data gathering, and advocacy focusing on priority stressors across the Delaware River watershed; targeted land protection and restoration in areas of critical importance in the watershed; and efforts to broaden equitable public access to and engagement with the basin’s rivers and streams. He brings a wealth of nonprofit, academic, and philanthropic experience to the Foundation in a variety of leadership roles.

“Stuart is a highly respected and seasoned environmental leader, and shares the Foundation’s passion for creating the conditions for a thriving, healthy watershed,” said Shawn McCaney, Executive Director of the William Penn Foundation. “He will be a valuable addition to our team and an important thought leader for the Foundation and the regional environmental sector.”

“I have worked with Stuart in almost every capacity over more than 15 years, and he is one of the most thoughtful professionals I have ever worked with. As a grantmaker, he is an ally, supporter, and partner to all,” said Jamie Baxter, Director of the Chesapeake Bay Funders Network. “He is a consummate thought leader who listens intently and raises the bar of possibility.  Bringing Stuart on board is a big win for the communities in the region, the Delaware River, and for the Foundation’s watershed team.”

Clarke comes to the Foundation from his previous role as Vice President of Strategic Initiatives at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Studies, where he led strategic planning, fundraising, and communications. Prior to that, Clarke served for 15 years as the Executive Director of the privately endowed Town Creek Foundation, which supported environmental advocacy work in the Maryland and the Chesapeake Bay. He was responsible for developing the foundation's strategic priorities and overseeing grant making, collaboration, and communications activities. Under his leadership, Town Creek invested more than $80 million to address the challenge of climate change and to advance restoration and protection of the Chesapeake Bay.

His experience also includes national environmental grantmaking at the Turner Foundation and serving as Executive Director of Outward Bound Atlanta. From 2015-2019, Clarke was appointed by the Maryland General Assembly to Co-Chair Maryland’s statewide Climate Change Commission. He has served on the Board of Trustees of Greenpeace US and of the Maryland League of Conservation Voters, and he currently serves on the Board of Earthjustice, the largest nonprofit environmental law firm in the United States. Clarke is a graduate of Lafayette College and undertook PhD studies at Yale University.

“I am deeply honored to be joining the watershed team at the William Penn Foundation. They have accomplished wonderfully important things under Andrew Johnson’s excellent leadership, and I am tremendously excited for the opportunity to help preserve and extend that legacy,” said Clarke. “We are faced with unprecedented challenges to the health and sustainability of our natural environment and the communities that it serves, and I look forward to working with the Foundation staff and our grantee partners to meet the urgent demands of this moment.”

Clarke will officially join the Foundation in late August. 



About the William Penn Foundation            

The William Penn Foundation, founded in 1945 by Otto and Phoebe Haas, is dedicated to improving the quality of life in the Greater Philadelphia region through efforts that increase educational opportunities for children from low-income families, ensure a sustainable environment, foster creativity that enhances civic life, and advance philanthropy in the Philadelphia region. In 2021, the Foundation will grant more than $117 million to support vital efforts in the region. www.williampennfoundation.org