December 19, 2012
Today, we’re announcing several changes to our leadership team to adapt to what we see as the changing landscape for mission-driven organizations. I will be assuming the role of board chairman, handing over the President’s reins to Astrid Scholz, who’s been serving us as Executive Vice President this year and has been with us at Ecotrust for 11 years.
In my new full-time role as chairman, I plan to work closely with Astrid and an expanded group of vice chairs: Kat Taylor, CEO and co-founder of One PacificCoast Bank; Bob Friedman, founder and chair of the Corporation for Enterprise Development; and immediate past chair Gun Denhart, Portland civic leader and co-founder of clothiers Hanna Andersson. We are all committed to expanding Ecotrust’s ability to address global problems.
After two decades of work across the region, Ecotrust is in a great place. Our experience has more relevance than ever as private capital is increasingly seeking to serve greater good. Our Natural Capital Fund, invested in triple-bottom-line initiatives around the region, has converted $30 million in grants and program- and mission-related investments into $800 million in assets at work in communities from California to Alaska. Now a broad group of investors is taking a similar approach in seeking social and environmental, as well as financial, returns. In the United States alone, the impact investment sector is valued at over $4 billion. And activists are helping to change this market by the day, initiating efforts such as the fossil fuels divestment movement.
Our board shares my excitement about the opportunities ahead. Kat Taylor, who joined Ecotrust’s board in 2010, says, “One of the greatest tools to change the world is creatively deployed capital—we are just beginning to see the possibilities in mobilizing capital for good.”
I have great confidence in Astrid’s vision, her steady hand overseeing Ecotrust’s $10 million annual budget and her ability to unleash great things from our creative, capable staff — now more than 60. Astrid is deeply steeped in Ecotrust’s culture and has done award-winning work in developing innovative, collaborative tools and approaches to improve social, economic, and environmental decision-making, in her former role as Vice President of Knowledge Systems.
Astrid has a great way of thinking about the transition to a new generation of leadership—which now also includes two new Vice Presidents, Nancy Bales in development and Kristen Sheeran in Knowledge Systems— “Like everything else we do at Ecotrust,” she says, “this transition is inspired by nature: much as the giants in the Redwood forests of the bioregion become more prolific with age while a circle of saplings grows up around them, we are liberating Spencer to do what he does best while cultivating a circle of leadership to take Ecotrust into the next era.”
Surrounded by such a wise, energetic group, I am feeling reinvigorated and am embracing the continued evolution of Ecotrust as we seek hopeful, radical change in our third decade.
Here’s to drawing inspiration from nature and finding renewed purpose in 2013.
Press Release: Ecotrust announces change in leadership
Photo: Astrid Scholz and Spencer Beebe.
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