Yosemite Conservancy announced Frank Dean as its new president and CEO to lead its efforts to inspire donor support for Yosemite National Park. Dean joins the conservancy after nearly six years as superintendent of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and brings with him vast experience from top-level National Park Service positions in Yosemite National Park, Point Reyes National Seashore and Saratoga National Historical Park.
“Frank has a deep understanding of and passion for Yosemite,” said Philip L. Pillsbury, Jr., Yosemite Conservancy board chair. “His effectiveness with the National Park Service, park partners and nonprofit donor organizations, and familiarity with Yosemite Conservancy, made him an ideal choice to build upon the positive momentum generated over the years to provide support to Yosemite.”
Dean retired from the NPS at the end of February. His position at the conservancy marks a return to his Yosemite roots. He served in Yosemite as a park ranger, and from 1990-1995 was management assistant to the superintendent and the primary NPS contact on Yosemite Conservancy projects.
“I had the pleasure of working with Frank in Point Reyes and I’m excited to partner with him on the Conservancy’s efforts to support Yosemite,” said Yosemite National Park Superintendent Don Neubacher.
Dean follows Mike Tollefson, who has stepped down after six years as president and CEO of the Conservancy. Tollefson will work with Dean to facilitate a smooth transition.
Tollefson leaves the Conservancy stronger than ever after increasing the organization’s donor base by 60% , improving annual support to Yosemite from $5.8 million in 2009 to $10.5 million in 2014, and raising nearly $20 million for the project to restore the Mariposa Grove.
Though support of donors, the nonprofit Yosemite Conservancy has provided more than $92 million in grants to Yosemite National Park for nearly 500 completed projects. In 2015, the Conservancy will complete $20 million in fundraising for the project to restore Mariposa Grove of giant sequoias. Also new for 2015, the Conservancy will fund 41 new project grants.
The grants include: trail and habitat restoration projects; wildlife management and protection programs involving Yosemite’s bears, songbirds, great gray owls; Youth in Yosemite programs that inspire the next generation of environmental stewards, teach kids about nature and improve leadership, literacy and life skills. In addition to annual project grants, the conservancy provides ongoing in-park experiences such as art, theater and Outdoor Adventures programs, along with volunteer opportunities and bookstores that help visitors forge deeper connections to the park.