For Immediate Release
CONTACT: Acting Executive Directors at director @ jrsbiodiversity.org
JRS Biodiversity Foundation Announces New Executive Director
SEATTLE, Washington – March 27, 2021– The JRS Biodiversity Foundation is pleased to announce Matthew Cassetta as its new Executive Director. Cassetta brings over two decades of diverse experience in international diplomacy and project management, much of it focused in Africa on capacity-building and development partnerships. With a Master of Science concentrating in Protected Areas Management, conservation is a true passion and greatly influenced his professional trajectory first in the NGO sector and later in the Foreign Service. With postings ranging from Brasilia to Bangui to Brazzaville, Matthew developed creative collaborations with partners in civil society, academia, the private sector, and national governments for impactful programs to advance development while valuing unique biodiversity and enhancing environmental stewardship. These included such diverse projects as grants competitions for African forest conservateurs, outreach to prevent wildlife trafficking, anti-erosion and reforestation efforts, and biodiversity awareness campaigns in the Caribbean and Pacific regions.
Matthew’s work in Africa began as Regional Environment Officer for Central and West Africa, and later as Facilitator of the multilateral Congo Basin Forest Partnership, and most recently as Deputy Chief of Mission in both the Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic. As a result, he brings a strong and influential network of contacts and collaborators in the international community of both donors and innovators working across Africa. With fluency in French, Portuguese, and Spanish, Matthew looks forward to expanding discussions with partners in the field. “I am eager to engage with JRS’ dynamic partners in sustaining Africa’s rich natural heritage for future generations, as they confront challenges from the rapid pace of pressures on land use, demographic increase, habitat conversion and the effects of climate change”. He will join the Foundation on April 5, 2021.
“We are excited that Matthew is our new Executive Director and confident that his passion for biodiversity conservation and informatics, capacity building, and working with partners and communities will ensure that the JRS Foundation continues and expands implementation of its mission during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and beyond,” said Baldwyn Torto, President of the Foundation.
Cassetta will succeed Dr. Don S. Doering who retired as JRS Executive Director in Fall 2020 after serving as the foundation’s Executive Director since 2012. “We are grateful for Don’s leadership of the Foundation, stewardship of its programs, and building the JRS network of African institutions and people,” said Torto.
About the JRS Biodiversity Foundation – The mission of the JRS Biodiversity Foundation is to increase access to and use of information that will lead to greater biodiversity conservation and more sustainable development in Sub-Saharan Africa. Founded in 2004, the JRS Biodiversity Foundation supports the capacity of institutions and people who collect, manage, and share biodiversity data for Sub-Saharan Africa. JRS’ grantees connect scientific knowledge to stakeholders who make and influence decisions that are crucial to conserving biodiversity. The foundation has awarded $US 20.3 million in grants since 2007. Visit JRS online at http://jrsbiodiversity.org.