Northwest Straits Foundation
The Northwest Straits Foundation is the non-profit partner of the Northwest Straits Initiative, established to support the Initiative's scientific, restoration, and education projects and programs in partnership with the Northwest Straits Commission and Marine Resources Committees (MRCs). The Foundation’s mission is to protect and restore the health of marine resources of the Northwest Straits by promiting and implementing science-based restoration and stewardship, enhancing collaboration and attracting resources for the work of the Northwest Straits Initiative.
The Northwest Straits Foundation was created in 2002 to augment the ability of the Northwest Straits Initiative to pursue funding for its programs and projects. The Foundation adds value to the work of the MRCs and the Initiative through expansion of funding opportunities, project development and management assistance, added staff capacity, and through regional programs with collective impact.
The Foundation attains its goals by:
• Working in collaboration with the Marine Resources Committees of the Northwest Straits to develop, fund, and manage restoration, education, and citizen science projects within their home waters;
• Supporting the MRCs through technical assistance and training, project implementation assistance, fundraising, and fiscal management of project grants;
* Developing and managing restoration and education projects of regional scope, such as the Derelict Fishing Gear Removal program and the Community Oil Spill Preparedness and Response Program.
Robyn du Pré, Executive Director
Robyn brings twenty-five years’ experience in senior leadership positions in non-profit conservation organizations to her work at the Foundation. She has worked as an advocate and educator for the marine environment for many years, with a particular focus on community engagement in issues surrounding storm water, toxics, and cleanup. She is excited by the potential of creating collaborative, community-based stewardship of the Northwest Straits ecosystem. Robyn holds a B.S. in environmental science and a M.A in political science and environmental policy.
Joan Drinkwin, Programs Director
Joan oversees projects and programs ranging from derelict fishing gear removals to nearshore restoration, outreach and education. She has worked for more than twenty years with private non-profit organizations as well as the State of Washington on marine conservation and restoration projects and policies in Puget Sound. Joan served on the City of Mount Vernon planning commission, and has served on the boards of several non-profit organizations. She has a master’s degree from the University of Texas.
Lisa Kaufman, Nearshore Program Manager
Lisa Kaufman was formerly the Restoration Manager for the Washington State Department of Natural Resources. She has worked on restoration projects around the region and was key to successful implementation of the Northwest Straits Initiative's creosote debris removal program and an important partner on many nearshore projects. Lisa will be a great asset as the foundation sets restoration targets and helps MRCs prioritize and develop their projects.
Jill Clark, Director of Outreach and Development
Jill is the Foundation's first Director of Outreach and Development. She has many years’ experience, including serving as the first director of the Bellingham Technical College Foundation and, more recently, as development director for Kulshan Community Land Trust in Bellingham. She has deep experience with crafting messages that resonate with key audiences, overseeing organizational communications, and helping donors find the best way to express the philanthropic spirit. She serves on the board of directors of RE-Sources and Bellingham Chamber Chorale, where she shares her love of choral music with the community.
Cathy Cameron, Accounting Manager
Heidi Lehman, Administrative Coordinator
Heidi is an enthusiastic and dedicated professional with over 13 years of administrative experience and 7 years of experience managing private foundations. She holds a B.A. in Journalism with an emphasis in Public Relations and a minor in Communications that she obtained at California State University Long Beach. When Heidi isn’t assisting the foundation with its many grants and programs, she enjoys hiking, cooking and studying improv comedy.
Jason Morgan, Program Intern
Jason is working under a full time internship to support the Derelict Fishing Gear and Nearshore Restoration Programs. During his 6 years in commercial fisheries management, Jason gained extensive field experience in the West Coast Groundfish Observer Program, and was a key component to the successful start of the IFQ Catch Monitor Program. In addition to a busy professional life, he is an active volunteer devoting time to community outreach and environmental stewardship programs.