Bentonville-based Walton Family Foundation announced the promotion Wednesday (June 24) of Dr. Moira Mcdonald to the director of its Environment Program, which focuses on “protecting rivers, oceans and the communities that rely on them,” according to a news release.
For the last 11 years, Mcdonald led the foundation’s Mississippi River and coastal initiatives. Mcdonald has more than 20 years’ experience in wetlands and freshwater conservation.
“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 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.”
Mcdonald, who is based in Maryland, was previously 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.”
Mcdonald received her undergraduate degree in environmental science and Russian studies from Brown University and has a master’s and a Ph.D. in geography from the University of Minnesota.
The Walton Family Foundation was created in 1987 and is led by the family of Walmart Inc. founders Sam and Helen Walton. Carrie Walton Penner, who is their granddaughter, is the board chair.