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Dr. Leon Clarke joins Bezos Earth Fund

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The Center for Global Sustainability (CGS) is excited to announce that Research Director Leon Clarke has accepted a position at the Bezos Earth Fund as Director of Decarbonization Pathways. Dr. Clarke is one of a number of new senior climate and sustainability experts joining the organization’s staff.  

“While we’re sad to see him go from CGS, this is a move that will be good for the climate. Dr. Clarke’s expertise in large-scale decarbonization can now be applied through substantial funding across the entire global community. And it’s great that this type of approach, linking decarbonization analysis with policy, is being recognized as critical for informing global climate ambition.” says Director Nate Hultman.

In his new capacity, Dr. Clarke will help the Bezos Earth Fund continue to move critical funding and resources to help its mission to “fight climate change, protect and restore nature, and advance environmental justice and economic opportunity.” 

Learn from the Bezos Earth Fund’s full release below: 


WASHINGTON, Feb. 25, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, the Bezos Earth Fund announced the addition of new senior staff to support its mission to fight climate change, protect and restore nature, and advance environmental justice and economic opportunity.

Cecilia Martinez joins this week as the newest addition to the Bezos Earth Fund's senior leadership team as Principal Advisor for Resilience and Communities, after serving as the White House's inaugural environmental justice official. Dr. Martinez, one of Time magazine's most influential people of 2020, will lead efforts to build resilience and strengthen communities worldwide, working to tackle climate change and protect and restore natural ecosystems.

Additional senior hires in 2022 include the following:

  • Doug Varley joins as General Counsel. Varley was previously President of the Washington, D.C.-based law firm Caplin & Drysdale. He has worked with national and international environmental organizations for more than 25 years.
  • Leon Clarke joins as Director of Decarbonization Pathways. Dr. Clarke previously was the University of Maryland Center for Global Sustainability's Research Director. He is an author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, was an author on the National Climate Assessment, and holds a doctorate from Stanford University.
  • Stacie Cobos joins as Chief Communications Officer. Cobos previously led global communications and marketing at the International Fund for Animal Welfare and The Climate Reality Project and has managed communications on three U.S. presidential campaigns.
  • Tony Chan joins as Chief Financial and Operating Officer. Chan previously served as the Ford Foundation's Deputy Chief Operating Officer and earlier held senior positions at Habitat for Humanity International, Accenture and Arthur Andersen.
  • Valerie Blain-Smith joins as Chief People Officer. Blain-Smith has more than 20 years of experience working in human resources and previously served as the World Wildlife Fund's Senior Vice President of Human Resources.

"We are delighted to welcome a growing team of individuals who combine deep professionalism with genuine passion," said Bezos Earth Fund President and CEO Andrew Steer. "Together with our partners and grantees, we look forward to helping drive bold climate action and seizing the challenges of this decisive decade."

These new staff members join the current team, which includes Andrew Steer (President and CEO), Charlotte Pera (Vice President for Strategy and Programs), Kelly Levin (Chief of Science, Data and Systems Change), Danielle Deane-Ryan (Director of Equitable Climate Solutions), Brian Cimagala (Senior Film Producer), Fiona McRaith (Manager for Engagement and Delivery) and Eda Lee (Executive Assistant). Jeff Bezos serves as the Earth Fund's Executive Chair, and Lauren Sánchez serves as Vice Chair.

The Bezos Earth Fund also benefits from the deep subject matter expertise of its advisers and fellows. These include:

  • Amanda Eichel (Cities), former Executive Director of the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy and advisor to the U.N. Secretary General's Special Envoy for Cities and Climate.
  • Amen Ra Mashariki (Data and Social Justice), former New York City Chief Analytics Officer and the Federal Office of Personnel Management's Chief Technology Officer.
  • Arun Majumdar (Energy Technology), Professor of Engineering, Stanford University, Chair of the Advisory Board for the U.S. Secretary of Energy, Founding Director of the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, and formerly Google Vice President for Energy.
  • Cristián Samper (Principal Advisor, Nature), President and CEO of the Wildlife Conservation Society and former Director of the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History.
  • Pamela Matson (Food Systems), Professor at Stanford University, where she was Dean of the School of Earth, Energy and Environmental Sciences. She is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Science and a MacArthur Award recipient.
  • Tom Rivett-Carnac (International Climate), Co-founder of Global Optimism with Christiana Figueres and advisor at the Macquarie Group and for the Earthshot Prize.

The Bezos Earth Fund has awarded $1.4 billion since November 2020, focused on five themes: nature, decarbonization of the economy, environmental justice, economics and finance, and monitoring and accountability.

The Earth Fund continues growing its team of experts, partners, and grantees. Browse open positions at

About the Bezos Earth Fund

The Bezos Earth Fund is Jeff Bezos' $10 billion personal commitment to fund scientists, activists, NGOs, and others to help drive climate and nature solutions. By allocating funds creatively, wisely, and boldly, the Bezos Earth Fund has the potential for transformative influence in this decisive decade. Funds will be fully allocated by 2030 — the date by which the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals must be achieved.

For Media Inquiries:
Shannon Kennedy
Strategic Engagement Manager, CGS
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