Mark Spalding

Chair (FY11 - Current)

Mark J. Spalding is serving on the Sargasso Sea Commission. He is a member of the Ocean Studies Board of the the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. He is a member of the Pool of Experts for the UN World Ocean Assessment, and a Senior Fellow at the Center for the Blue Economy, at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, and is a member of the Steering Committee of the Western Hemisphere Migratory Species Initiative. Mark is an active participant in the marine working group, Ocean Acidification collaborative, Baja California group, and coral reef group of the funders' organization, the Consultative Group on Biological Diversity. He serves as an advisor Eco-Allianza and Surfrider international and on the International Bering Sea Forum. He is the former chair of the Council of the National Whale Conservation Fund. He has consulted for the Alaska Conservation Foundation, San Diego Foundation, the International Community Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Fundación La Puerta, and a number of family foundations. He designed and managed the Orca Fund. He has served as a member of the Environmental Grants Advisory Committee of FINCOMUN (Tijuana, Mexico’s Community Foundation). Mark concurrently serves as the CEO and President of SeaWeb.

Mark, who has been practicing law and acting as a policy consultant for 31 years, was the chair of the environmental law section of the California State Bar Association from 1998-1999. From 1994 to 2003 Mark was the Director of the Environmental Law and Civil Society Program, and Editor of the Journal of Environment and Development, at the Graduate School of International Relations & Pacific Studies (IR/PS), University of California at San Diego. In addition to lecturing at IR/PS, Mark has taught at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UCSD's Muir College, UC Berkeley's Goldman School of Public Policy, and University of San Diego's School of Law. Mark helped design some of the most significant ocean conservation campaigns in recent years. He is an experienced and successful facilitator at the international level. He brings his extensive experience with the legal and policy aspects of ocean conservation to the Foundation's grantmaking strategy and evaluation process. He holds a B.A. in history with Honors from Claremont McKenna College, a J.D. from Loyola Law School, and a Master in Pacific International Affairs (MPIA) from IR/PS.

Angel Braestrup

Secretary (FY02 - Current)

Angel Braestrup (Executive Director, The Curtis & Edith Munson Foundation) has been involved in ocean conservation funding for more than 20 years. She also serves as program director for The Henry Foundation.  From 2005-2008, Angel was the co-chair of the Marine Funders Working Group of the Consultative Group on Biological Diversity, on whose board she now serves. She serves as Chair of the Board of the Norcross Wildlife Foundation and the Board of the Center for Agricultural Partnerships.  She is a former board member of the Association of Small Foundations, and a member of the steering committee of the Chesapeake Bay Funders Network. Angel worked for a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1982-1989, specializing in transportation, energy, agriculture, water resources, and other environment issues. Prior to becoming executive director, Angel served as editor of the Munson Foundation's bimonthly newsletter, Conservation Digest. 

Joshua Ginsberg

Treasurer (FY14 - Current)

Joshua Ginsberg was born and raised in New York and will become the President of the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in September of 2014.  Dr. Ginsberg was the Senior Vice President, Global Conservation at the Wildlife Conservation Society from 2009 to 2014 where he oversees a $90 million portfolio of conservation initiatives in 60 countries around the world.  He spent 15 years working as a field biologist in Thailand and across East and Southern Africa leading a variety of mammal ecology and conservation projects. As Director of the Asia and Pacific Program at the Wildlife Conservation Society from 1996 until September 2004, Josh oversaw 100 projects in 16 countries.  Dr. Ginsberg was also Acting Director of the WCS Africa Program for 10 months in 2002 and Vice President for Conservation Operations from 2003-2009. He received a B. Sc. from Yale, and holds an M.A. and Ph.D. from Princeton in Ecology and Evolution. He served as the Chairman of the NOAA/NMFS Hawaiian Monk Seal Recovery Team from 2001-2007. Dr. Ginsberg sits on the Board of the Open Space Institute, the Catskill Mountain Keeper, the Foundation for the Exhibition of Photography, and was a founding board member of Video Volunteers, and of the Blacksmith Institute/Pure Earth on whose board he still sits.  He has held faculty positions at Oxford University and University College London, and is an Adjunct Professor at Columbia University where he teaches conservation biology and international relations of the environment. He has supervised 18 Masters and nine Ph. D. students. He is an author on over 50 reviewed papers, and has edited three books on wildlife conservation, ecology and evolution.  

Walter Howes

Audit Committee Member FY15

On behalf of the Board of Directors of The Ocean Foundation, we regret to announce the sudden loss of Walter S. Howes, a member of the Board since February 2015. For the past four and a half years, Walter shared his creative ideas and thoughtful analysis of the obstacles to restoring abundance in the global ocean.  We will sorely miss Walter’s presence at meetings and events. Our thoughts and prayers are with his mother, his colleagues, and his extended network of friends and family.

Bill Eichbaum

Audit Committee Member (FY16 - Current)

Bill Eichbam currently serves as the VP of Marine and Arctic Policy for the World Wildlife Fund. Bill has packed a dozen lifetimes' worth of accomplishments into his career as an environmental advocate. In the 1970s, he helped organize the first Earth Day. In the 1980s, he played a key role in the creation of the Chesapeake Bay Program. Before joining WWF in 1989, Bill served as Massachusetts' Undersecretary of Environmental Affairs - one of many positions held during his twenty years of public service. While working on environmental affairs for the state of Maryland, Bill spearheaded legislation for the Clean Water Act authorizing the creation of a national estuary restoration program. Now, as WWF's ultimate advocate for the sea, he is working to end destructive fishing practices, reduce pollution and establish a network of effectively managed, ecologically representative marine protected areas covering at least 10% of the world's seas.

Dawn M. Martin

Director (FY16 - Current)

Dawn M. Martin currently serves as Chief Operating Officer at Ceres, Inc., a non-profit advocating for sustainability leadership. She has utilized creative communication strategies to advance policy and conservation goals. Previously she has served as the President of SeaWeb, Chief Operating Officer for Oceana, Associate Deputy Administrator at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Political Director for American Oceans Campaign. Dawn brings a multidisciplinary approach that builds on her organizational management experience and skills as an attorney, strategic policy professional and communications specialist. She serves as a principal for the Communication Partnership for Science and the Sea (COMPASS), on the advisory board of the Center for Health and the Global Environment at Harvard Medical School, as a member of the Ocean Portal Editorial Board for the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, and a founding member of the steering committee for the Global Forum on Oceans, Coasts and Islands. Martin sits on the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation Board as a trustee, its Vice-Chair and Treasurer. Martin has a degree in Political Science and received her Juris Doctorate from Loyola Law School in Los Angeles and studied international human rights and humanitarian law at the International Institute of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France, and the Henri Dunant Institute in Geneva, Switzerland.

Lisa Volgenau

Director (FY17 - Current)

Lisa has worked for The Volgenau Foundation as Executive Director, Vice President for Environment and founding Board Member since 1995.  She previously worked for National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration, Science Applications International Corporation and Litton Bionetics.  She holds a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Virginia Tech and a Masters of Science in Marine-Estuarine Biology/Environmental Science from University of Maryland (published thesis on impact of fishing gear entanglements on humpback whales).  She is active in funder organizations including Consultative Group on Biological Diversity (serving on Marines Planning committee in 2017), Environmental Grantmakers Association and helped initiate Northern Virginia Environmental Funders Network.  She has participated in research involving humpback and right whales, various birds, and sanddiving fish (Red Sea).  She actively participates with grantees research (e.g. eelgrass/oysterbed restoration, corals, wolves, panthers, shearwater/whale tagging).  She enjoys spending time with family, traveling, photography, piano and coastal/mountain activities including scuba diving, hiking, camping, skiing, and running.


Nora Pouillon

Director (FY16 - Current)

Nora Pouillon is a pioneer and champion of organic, environmentally conscious cuisine who promotes and embodies healthy, sustainable living. Born in Austria, her inspiration in the kitchen comes from her parents who understood the value of simply prepared seasonal foods. In 1979, Chef Pouillon opened Restaurant Nora, in Washington, D.C., which in 1999 became the first certified organic restaurant in the United States and was instrumental in creating organic certification standards for restaurants. She is the author of Cooking with Nora, a seasonal menu cookbook that was a finalist for the Julia Child Cookbook Award. As a leading spokesperson from the culinary industry, she worked with SeaWeb and the Natural Resources Defense Council to launch the Give Swordfish A Break media campaign in 1998. This first large-scale effort to mobilize chefs and consumers in support of fisheries conservation, also won the support of hotels, cruise lines, grocery stores, and airlines to stop serving North Atlantic swordfish. Pouillon’s recognition includes awards from the International Association of Culinary Professionals, Women Chefs & Restaurateurs, Santé, the Organic Trade Association, New Hope Natural Media, the American Horticultural Society, the Campaign for Better Health and others. Pouillon co-founded Changing Seas, a sustainable aquaculture business.

Elliot Cafritz

Director (FY16-Current)

Elliot Cafritz currently is serving as the president of the Board of directors of the Glen Echo Fire Department Foundation, Bethesda, Maryland.  He is co-founder of the FDC DC Scholarship, Fund Development Council, Columbia College Columbia University New York, NY/Washington, DC.  He serves as a member of the Advisory Board, The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation, Washington, DC.  Elliot is a member of the House Committee, Temple Micah Washington, DC. He is dedicated to improving coastal real estate development processes and techniques that do less harm, or in as many cases as possible, improve the neighboring ocean.  Elliot currently is raising funds for three coastal real estate development projects in Costa Rica. He holds a B.A. in architecture from Columbia College, Columbia University, New York, NY and an MBA, from Georgetown University, Washington, DC. He enjoys scuba diving and sailing in the ocean. 


Russell Smith

Director (FY17 - Current)

Russell F. Smith III has worked on international environmental issues for more than 20 years.  He served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Fisheries at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.  In that position he led U.S. international engagement in support of the sustainable management of fisheries, including promoting science-based decision-making and improving efforts to combat illegal, unregulated, and unreported fishing. In addition, he represented the United States as the U.S. Commissioner in several regional fisheries management organizations.  Russell has also worked for the Office of the United States Trade Representative on efforts to ensure that U.S trade policy and its implementation are supportive of U.S. environmental policy, including through the promotion of the sustainable management of natural resources and ensuring that opportunities for trade and investment liberalization resulting in access to the U.S. market are used as incentives for the enhancement, and not degradation, of environmental protection. As an attorney in the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, Russell’s work included a focus on working with developing countries on improving their legal systems, including with regards to the development and implementation of environmental laws and regulations.  During his career he has worked extensively with representatives at all levels of the Executive Branch, Members of Congress and their staffs, civil society, industry and academia.  Prior to his federal Executive Branch service, Russell was an associate at Spiegel & McDiarmid, a law firm in Washington, D.C. and clerked for the Honorable Douglas W. Hillman, Chief Judge, U.S. District Court, Western District of Michigan.  He is a graduate of Yale University and the University of Michigan Law School.


Independent Voting Board Members

The above board members constitute the Board of Directors of The Ocean Foundation and of SeaWeb. The Ocean Foundation by-laws currently allow for 15 board members.  Of the current board members, 90% are fully independent with no material or pecuniary relationship with The Ocean Foundation (in the US, independent outsiders make up 66% of all boards).  The Ocean Foundation is not a membership organization, thus our board members are elected by the board itself; they are not appointed by Chair of the Board (i.e. this is a self-perpetuating board).  One member of our board is the paid President of The Ocean Foundation.  As of the end of our 2017 fiscal year on June 30th, we had nine outside directors (independent board members), and our President for a total of ten directors.