This year will mark a critical moment for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation as the President, Will Baker, prepares for retirement. Mr. Baker joined the organization as an intern and has dedicated 40 years to building and growing the organization. As the Board of Trustees celebrates Mr. Baker’s great legacy, they will be appointing a dynamic leader to build on this rich history and position the Foundation for incredible impact ahead.

About the Chesapeake Bay Foundation

For more than 50 years, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation has fought vigilantly for healthy rivers, clean streams, and a restored Chesapeake Bay. For this vital organization, it is not just about clean water. Taking action to reduce pollution supports local businesses, creates jobs, and provides significant environmental and public health benefits.

With a strong focus on equity, the Foundation deeply believes that all watershed communities deserve no less, including those that have long faced systemic barriers to clean water, air, and a safe environment. Even through the pandemic, the Foundation has continued its critical work, accomplishing major improvements for the Bay.

Over the past year, across the 64,000-square-mile watershed, devoted employees planted trees, restored oyster reefs, improved farming practices, engaged in strategic partnerships, won legislative victories, provided environmental education to students, helped communities clean up rivers and streams, and reached ever closer to the goal of a vibrant Chesapeake Bay—successes that will stand for generations as a testament to what can be achieved together.

Founded in 1967, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) is the largest independent conservation organization dedicated solely to saving the Bay. Serving as a watchdog, CBF fights for effective, science-based solutions to the pollution degrading the Chesapeake Bay and its rivers and streams. CBF’s motto, "Save the Bay," is a regional rallying cry for pollution reduction throughout the Chesapeake's six-state, 64,000-square-mile watershed, which is home to more than 18 million people and 3,000 species of plants and animals.

And, just as biodiversity is the key to a thriving ecosystem, human diversity is the key to saving the Bay. Success depends on people from widely diverse backgrounds, cultures, ethnicities, identities, and races taking collective action. Clean water, clean air, and a safe environment are rights we all share.

With environmental award-winning offices in Maryland and Virginia, as well as offices in Pennsylvania, and the District of Columbia and 15 field centers, CBF continues to lead the way in restoring the Bay and its rivers and streams. For more than 50 years, the organization has created broad understanding of the Bay's poor health, engaged public leaders in making commitments to restore the Chesapeake, and fought successfully to create a new approach to cleanup that features real accountability—the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint.

But the Bay is still a system dangerously out of balance. CBF continues to engage in education, advocacy, litigation, and restoration to turn the tide and leave a legacy of clean water for future generations.

Context of the Position

The President of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation will provide visionary leadership and
strategic direction to a very committed and highly productive staff towards goals crafted through a dynamic partnership with the Board of Trustees. The President will play a significant role as a regional and national thought-leader on conservation issues.

Essential Functions

Primary responsibilities of the President include:

  • Drive measurable progress toward achieving goals laid out by the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint.
  • Serve as the chief spokesperson for CBF and its mission. Cultivate positive relationships and partnerships with key stakeholders, including donors, members, governmental entities, media and the scientific community. Provide industry leadership among related organizations.
  • Advance the Foundation’s brand and reputation throughout the local community, region, and the world as a trusted conservation advocate, convener, and facilitator on important and emerging environmental issues.
  • In close coordination with the Board of Trustees, lead the CBF’s strong fundraising performance by cultivating strong relationships and securing gifts from individuals, governments, foundations, and corporations. CBF has an annual fundraising goal of 20 million dollars.
  • In coordination with the Chairman of the Board of Trustees, develop and recruit a Board of Trustees with a membership representative of all communities in the CBF watershed region.
  • Oversee the financial policies and goals that maintain the fiscal integrity of the organization. Ensure transparency and regular communication with the Board regarding budget planning, oversight, and financial decision-making.
  • Develop and retain an outstanding and diverse professional staff that is committed to teamwork, mutual respect, collaboration and fulfillment of CBF’s mission.
  • Lead the development of innovative initiatives, advocacy, educational programs, litigation, conservation science and research, and public awareness and engagement.
  • Champion and integrate diversity, equity, inclusion and justice throughout CBF initiatives, communications, hiring, and organizational culture/management.
  • Connect with the scientific community to coordinate and promote the CBF’s mission-based programs, initiatives and strategic partnerships. Oversee engagement with elected officials to create and / or influence legislative and regulatory policies.

Professional Experience and Qualifications

The successful candidate will bring strong leadership experience, which may include executive leadership within a nonprofit organization, scientific organization, research organization, think-tank, institution of higher learning or business enterprise. Passion for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s mission, and the gravitas to inspire a diverse array of stakeholders is a must.

Additionally, candidates ideally will possess the following qualifications:

  • Significant experience in a leadership role in a setting of similar size and complexity.
  • Exceptional leadership, strategic visioning, fundraising and programming skills with a demonstrated ability to achieve financial results through a transparent, collaborative, and innovative style.
  •  Excellent communication skills and high EQ, and the ability to communicate CBF’s vision and work in ways that engage and compel the communities the organization serves and with which it partners.
  • Possess or be able to gain a thorough understanding of the local, regional and federal political landscape and serve as an effective advocate, community liaison, and negotiator.
  • Outstanding interpersonal acumen across all cultures and positions, and a clear commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • Strong domain knowledge of the latest science, technology, policy developments, and news on environmental conservation.
  • Ability to engage with an extensive network of scientists and other relevant scholars and practitioners in the non-profit, governmental, and industry worlds.
  • Proven financial acumen and ability to plan strategically for an organization’s success and growth.
  • Demonstrated success leading internal change management processes. 


  • An undergraduate degree is required.

How to Apply

Applicants can submit application materials to CBF's search consultants, Korn Ferry:,-MD-President-MD/155253755

CBF offers a comprehensive benefits package to include: 20 vacation days, 10 sick days, health, vision, dental, life insurance, and a tax deferred retirement plan.

CBF encourages diverse candidates to apply and is committed to creating a diverse and inclusive environment. CBF is proud to be an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, genetics, disability, age, or veteran status.

The Bay Needs You

The 2020 State of the Bay Report makes it clear that the Bay needs our support now more than ever. Your donation helps the Chesapeake Bay Foundation maintain our momentum toward a restored Bay, rivers, and streams for today and generations to come.

Donate Today

Save the Bay

Founded in 1967, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) is the largest independent conservation organization dedicated solely to saving the Bay.

Save the Bay
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