Dear Friends: It’s an amazing year of growth, awareness and public support for America’s National Marine Sanctuary System. President Obama created the world’s largest marine protected area and reignited the sanctuary designation process. The National Marine Sanctuary Foundation – the System’s not-for-profit partner and chief advocate – is ready for this exciting future as well: Tomorrow, the NMSF Board of Trustees will announce that Kristen Sarri will join the organization as President and Chief Executive Officer on October 24.

Kristen Sarri NMSFKris joins our NMSF team after nearly 20 years in senior positions in Congress and federal agencies including the Department of the Interior, Department of Commerce and the Office of Management and Budget. While her experience is diverse, the consistent threads across all her roles are a deep involvement in shaping ocean and environmental issues, strong strategic and operational management skills, wide-ranging expertise in the legislative and regulatory sectors, a track record of success in engaging disparate stakeholders and – most of all – a passion for the ocean and the critical importance of sanctuaries in the ocean’s healthy future.

Kris’s mandate is to set a transformational strategy for NMSF’s future. While that’s no simple task, she will be building it on an auspicious foundation. Among its accomplishments in the past six months, NMSF had its best-attended, most successful Capitol Hill Ocean Week conference and Ocean Awards Gala event; distributed its largest-ever pool of Hollings Grants funding; and launched a new digital presence including an online call-to-action advocacy tool to seamlessly rally public support of sanctuary priorities. If you participated in any of these efforts, we thank you for helping us achieve these successes.

Our web/media announcement about Kris is below. In the coming weeks, Kris will share updates on priorities and goals but, as a starting point, we wanted to share her vision in her own words:

“The National Marine Sanctuary Foundation is dedicated to conserving what we cannot see:  critical habitats, cultural resources that tell our histories, living labs for science and education and significant natural resources that support coastal communities while connecting the public with the outdoors. We have an extraordinary opportunity to unite all those who would contribute to and benefit from this alliance – a potential partnership spanning policymakers, funders, communities, industries and other stakeholders, supported by our chapters, friends groups and all individuals passionate about the ocean.”

We deeply appreciate your support and involvement with NMSF in the past and look forward to even more opportunities to work together in the coming year.

Best, Robert J. Trainor Chair, Board of Trustees