WASHINGTON, June 24, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- The Walton Family Foundation today named Moira Mcdonald, Ph.D., the director of the Environment Program, which focuses on protecting rivers, oceans, and the communities that rely on them.
"Never in our lives has it been more clear how dependent we all are on a healthy environment to sustain us. Moira understands the complexities of thriving ecosystems and the people and communities that depend on them," said Lukas Walton, chair of the Walton Family Foundation's Environment Committee. "Over the last two decades, the Walton Family Foundation has helped secure the largest water conservation agreement in history, established the sustainable seafood market, and helped launch the largest funded restoration project in the world in Coastal Louisiana. Moira is the leader we need to keep driving system-wide changes for a world where nature and people are able to thrive together."
With nearly a dozen years leading the Walton Family Foundation's Mississippi River and Delta Program, Mcdonald helped leverage historic funding for Coastal Louisiana restoration and led work to make conservation a more integral part of federal agricultural policy. Previously, she was a senior advisor at the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation where she led efforts on freshwater conservation in the Great Lakes and Mississippi River.
"Moira is a trusted and sought after expert inside the foundation and across the field," said Caryl M. Stern, executive director of the Walton Family Foundation. "Climate change is touching every part of our world and our work right now, and Moira has a deep understanding of the challenges and opportunities of this moment."
Other leaders from across the environmental field and beyond have also weighed in:
Charles Allen, Community Engagement Director, National Audubon Society: "Under Moira's leadership, the Walton Family Foundation has helped Audubon expand our Campus Chapter Program to historically black colleges and universities, and engage communities of color more deeply in our coastal restoration work. We are excited to continue this work to intentionally reach out and authentically build a more inclusive and diverse environmental field together."
Mary Jane Melendez, Chief Sustainability Officer, General Mills: "Building conservation and sustainability into our work is one of the most important levers we can pull to protect nature and jobs. Moira has shown time and again how deeply she understands the delicate dance among these pieces and brings people together to develop smart solutions for lasting, positive impact."
Walt Reid, Director of the Conservation and Science Program, The David & Lucille Packard Foundation: "Moira has a real command of the facts and science, and is incredibly strategic. She understands how to move big pieces of work forward that make real change happen. It's rare to find someone with such wisdom on the science and policy, who also takes the time to connect as a real colleague – and that matters because we need more people to feel connected to this work."
Liz Moran Stelk, Executive Director, Illinois Stewardship Alliance: "Moira can speak with farmers, academics, policymakers, and industry leaders with a clear command of science, but also with humanity and empathy. Her superpower is being able to bring people from different walks of life together for solutions that are rooted in science, common sense, and what's good for people and the planet."
Moira lives in Takoma Park, Maryland, with her wife Debra, and their two kids Naomi and Jonah. She is a native midwesterner, with a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota. She is a dog lover and an avid bicyclist.
About the Walton Family Foundation
The Walton Family Foundation is, at its core, a family-led foundation. Three generations of the descendants of our founders, Sam and Helen Walton, and their spouses, work together to lead the foundation and create access to opportunity for people and communities. We work in three areas: improving K-12 education, protecting rivers and oceans and the communities they support, and investing in our home region of Northwest Arkansas and the Arkansas-Mississippi Delta. To learn more, visit waltonfamilyfoundation.org and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
SOURCE Walton Family Foundation