PLA Board and Leadership Updates

By Katie Cavanaugh-Smith posted 06-14-2024 11:30 AM

The Public Lands Alliance (PLA) is pleased to announce the appointment of three new members to the Board of Directors and the promotion of PLA staff member Amy Matthews.

New Board Directors

Richard Cohen

Richard is a longtime leader in corporate finance who today invests his time to support the environment and his local community. His commitment to conservation and wildlife is exemplified in his service as President of the Friends of Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge, a nonprofit partner organization he founded in 2020. He also holds the role of Treasurer of the Lafayette Rotary Club. 

Richard had a long career in the Global Capital markets, having spent 14 years at Bank of America.

Ray Foote

Ray leads the conservation and environment practice of The Compass Group, a national fundraising consulting firm. During his 36 years of professional nonprofit fundraising experience, he focused primarily on conservation, environmental, and preservation issues. Ray has overseen development teams large and small, stewardship, planned giving, digital fundraising, marketing, and communications strategies and has served on executive teams of three national nonprofits.

Prior to Compass, Ray served for ten years as executive vice president of the National Forest Foundation where he secured commitments ranging from $1 million to $25 million. As the vice president of development for the National Parks Conservation Association, Ray led their capital campaign to exceed its $125 million goal by $7 million. He has served on the EPA’s “Smart Growth Network,” on the Environmental Quality Advisory Council of Fairfax County (VA), and the board of EarthShare. He remains active as a board member of several nonprofit organizations.

A frequent and passionate speaker, Ray has presented at the Public Lands Alliance, International Conference of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Center for Nonprofit Advancement, and as a guest lecturer at University of Virginia, Michigan State University, George Mason University, and other venues. He graduated magna cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania with a BA and MA in history. He is an avid hiker, photographer, and musician.

Sarah Meyer

Sarah Meyer brings over 20 years of experience in the nonprofit and higher education sectors. She currently resides in Central Texas and has also made her home in California, Colorado, and Wisconsin - each of which has enriched her love for nature and the outdoors. 

Currently serving as the Executive Director for the Friends of Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge, Sarah has significantly increased financial support and community engagement. Her leadership has ensured the preservation and enhancement of this vital ecosystem, fostering a strong sense of stewardship among diverse populations and promoting inclusivity in conservation efforts.
Sarah's dedication to making public lands accessible aligns well with the mission of the Public Lands Alliance. Her strategic vision, combined with her passion for outdoor recreation, will be instrumental in advancing the organization's goals. Sarah is poised to make significant contributions, helping to protect and promote our nation’s public lands for the enjoyment and benefit of all.

Promotion of Amy Matthews

We're thrilled to announce the promotion of Amy Matthews to the role of Vice President and Chief Financial Officer at the Public Lands Alliance.

Amy, who recently celebrated 21 years with our organization, has been instrumental in advancing our mission and supporting our members. Her dedication and expertise will continue to be invaluable as she steps into this new leadership role.