The Marisla Foundation is a powerhouse of a marine funder, giving big in western North American conservation, but also sustainability and environmental health. We’ve been spending a lot of time lately looking at this prominent California funder. Now let’s take a look at the guy calling the shots.
At the helm of Laguna Beach-based Marisla is active environmental and progressive donor Anne G. Earhart, of the storied Getty oil family. But she mostly keeps to the background. The sole programmatic staff for this funder is Herbert M. Bedolfe, III, who is known to everyone as Beto. He’s been at Marisla since 1992, and is all over the West Coast environmentalist scene.
We just wrote a full IP profile of Bedolfe, linked here and below, which contains lots of meaty information about this heavyweight environmental funder. But here are few fun things to know about Bedolfe, and why they are important.
1. He speaks three languages
Bedolfe is fluent in Spanish and Portuguese, aside from his native English. This is impressive, but more importantly, it’s indicative of the fact that this executive director has been out in the field, all over the world. Early in his career, he ran projects for USAID in Africa. With the World Bank and the USDA, he worked on short-term assignments in Guinea Bissau and Sao Tome-Principe. He’s lived in Mozambique and the Cape Verde Islands. And he volunteered with the Peace Corps in Paraguay after finishing his MBA.
2. He’s a surfer.
Very zen. Bedolfe is hands-on as an executive director, but seems like a pretty friendly guy. He’s a founding member of the Health & Environmental Funders Network, and when he departed the steering committee, the team wrote about their gratitude on their website, citing his “cheerful energy” and “quiet wisdom.” “Beto is a model of low-ego, high-impact grantmaking, and he is a surfer. We suspect some connection.”
3. He knows Ted Danson.
I’m outing myself as a big Cheers fan here, but this is actually important. That’s because he knows the actor and oceans activist through his connection to Oceana, the world’s largest international ocean conservation group. They both sit on the board, but prior to that, Bedolfe was a founder and executive director of Oceana from 2002-2008. He helped the group rise to prominence, including a merger with Danson’s nonprofit the American Oceans Campaign.
There you have it. To learn more about Bedolfe and Marisla, hit the IP links below. Surf’s up.