Heather Ludemann, David and Lucile Packard Foundation

TITLE: Program Officer, Conservation and Science

FUNDING AREAS: Fisheries management and marine ecosystems—U.S. west coast

CONTACT: Visit PeopleFinder for email and phone number (paid subscribers only)

IP TAKE: Ludemann is going to look toward organizations working on sustainable market intervention  as well as fisheries policy reform.

PROFILE: Heather Ludemann joined the David and Lucile Packard Foundation in 2008, where she now leads the U.S. West Coast subprogram of their Conservation and Science division. She focuses on marine ecosystem restoration and management.

Before she started with Packard, Ludemann served as a marine resource manager with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), where she worked on projects designed to enhance the conservation and protection of marine habitats from human encroachment, especially when it came to fisheries. She has a bachelor's degree in biology and environmental studies from Tufts University, and a master's in marine affairs from the University of Washington, Seattle.

At Packard, Ludemann uses grantmaking to address the major threats to oceanic ecosystems, which include lax management of resources, overfishing, and irresponsible and destructive fishing practices. The program attempts to implement both market and policy approaches to promote better fishing practices, as well as marine habitat protection.

There are several aspects to this process. One is to use a certification system to increase consumer demand for sustainable seafood through standard marketing practices. Another is to encourage the implementation of policy reforms that are specifically designed to encourage better marine ecosystem management. Through the market and policy pressures, the foundation hopes to encourage fisheries to adopt more ethical practices, thus creating a culture of conservation that should last for a long time.

This, it hopes, will encourage those using the oceans to think more in the long term, thus conserving marine ecosystems and restoring fish populations. This will help to establish a pattern of sustainability between the ecosystems and the people who use them.

In addition to issues related to fishing, the foundation also gives grants to groups that do research into the effects of climate change on the oceans, as well as those nonprofits that support the restoration of marine bird populations.

Under Ludemann's leadership, the program's grantmaking strategy supports nonprofits whose objectives are almost exactly aligned with its own, and takes an investment approach to giving. It has long-term commitments to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, the Center for Ocean solutions, and the Fellowships for Science and Engineering. Its grant application process is not open to unsolicited grants, but it does accept letters of inquiry. If a potential grantee is interesting enough and aligned with the program's goals, the grantee will be invited to apply.