Marine Debris Foundation

Trash scattered on sand and among shrubs at the back barrier of a beach.

Solicitation of Nominations for the Marine Debris Foundation Board of Directors

On December 18, 2020 the passage of the Save Our Seas 2.0 Act established the Marine Debris Foundation as a charitable and nonprofit organization to support the marine debris activities of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The purposes of the Marine Debris Foundation include encouraging, accepting, and administering private gifts of property for the benefit of, or in connection with, efforts to address marine debris and to perform other functions related to marine debris. 

Twelve people, in addition to the Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere, will serve as Directors on the new Marine Debris Foundation Board of Directors. The Board of Directors will represent diverse points of view relating to the assessment, prevention, reduction, and removal of marine debris. 

The Foundation is seeking expertise in the following categories: 

  • the assessment, prevention, reduction, or removal of marine debris, which may include an individual with expertise in post-consumer materials management or a circular economy;

  • the assessment, prevention, reduction, or removal of marine debris outside the United States; 

  • ocean and coastal resource conservation science or policy; 

  • international perspectives on marine debris including expertise in trade agreements, treaties, or foreign policy; or

  • experience or skills related to fundraising and nonprofit management. 

The Foundation's success will benefit greatly from a diverse membership on its Board of Directors that includes people with different experiences and expertise who can challenge each other’s assumptions. NOAA encourages candidates representing diverse perspectives from different genders, cultures, educational backgrounds, career stages, geographies, sectors, and other factors. 

Please consider nominating yourself or a colleague to serve on the Board of Directors after reviewing the responsibilities and criteria listed below and completing a nomination package by 11:59 p.m. EDT on June 30, 2021. 

For more information or questions, please contact Caitlin Wessel (caitlin.wessel@noaa.gov). Nomination packages should be emailed to marinedebris.foundation@noaa.gov with the subject line “Marine Debris Foundation Nomination” or mailed to Caitlin Wessel, Marine Debris Foundation Nomination c/o NOAA Disaster Response Center, 7344 Ziegler Blvd., Mobile, AL 36608.

Major Responsibilities of the Board of Directors

  • Appoint officers and employees; adopt a constitution and bylaws consistent with the purposes of the Foundation and the provisions of the Save Our Seas 2.0 Act; and undertake such other acts as may be necessary to complete the organization of the Foundation. 

  • Prepare for, attend, and participate in Board meetings at least once a year. 

  • Ensure effective organizational planning, including a business plan and other governing documents, to ensure effective governance of the Foundation. 

  • Encourage, accept, and administer private gifts of property to ensure adequate resources to conduct the business of the Foundation. 

  • Actively participate in fundraising, identify prospective donors, and support the fundraising program.

  • Manage resources effectively to support the purposes of the Foundation. 

  • Maintain the annual budget.

  • Fulfill all responsibilities of the Board as provided in the SOS 2.0 Act.

  • Hire and evaluate annually a chief operating officer who shall be knowledgeable and experienced in matters relating to the assessment, prevention, reduction, and removal of marine debris.

  • Sign an annual conflict of interest disclosure.

  • Provide a report at the end of each fiscal year to Congress as required under the SOS 2.0 Act.

Required Selection Criteria

The Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere shall appoint 12 Directors who meet the criteria established by the Save Our Seas 2.0 Act (Pub. L. 116-224), of whom—

  • at least four shall be educated or experienced in the assessment, prevention, reduction, or removal of marine debris, which may include an individual with expertise in post-consumer materials management or a circular economy;

  • at least two shall be educated or experienced in the assessment, prevention, reduction, or removal of marine debris outside the United States; 

  • at least two shall be educated or experienced in ocean and coastal resource conservation science or policy; and 

  • at least two shall be educated or experienced in international trade or foreign policy.

Nominees must be United States citizens.

Additional Selection Criteria

NOAA seeks nominees with one or more of the following areas of expertise: 

  • Fundraising
  • Finance
  • Accounting
  • Non-profit or foundation law
  • Human resources
  • Management
  • Research
  • Politics

Nominees should demonstrate one or more of the following competencies: 

  • Strategic leadership
  • Vision and mission development
  • Networking
  • Governance
  • Communication
  • Public relations
  • Marketing
  • Justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion
  • Understanding community needs

NOAA seeks nominees representing diverse experiences, including gender, culture, education, career stage, geography, sector, and other considerations, in alignment with Department of Commerce equal opportunity policies (DAO 215-3). Candidates should be willing to contribute to a diverse, equitable, and inclusive Board of Directors. All nominations will be fully considered, and qualified candidates need to be aware of the specific representation sought as outlined in the required criteria.

Term Length and Additional Restrictions

The initial Board of Directors will be appointed with staggered term lengths. Four Directors will be appointed for a term of six years; four Directors will be appointed for a term of four years; and four Directors will be appointed for a term of two years. 

Directors shall serve without pay, but may be reimbursed for the actual and necessary traveling and subsistence expenses incurred by them in the performance of the duties to the Foundation. 

Appointment as a Director of the Foundation shall not constitute employment by, or the holding of an office of, the United States for the purpose of any Federal law.

Nomination Process and Requirements

Nominations, including self-nominations, to the Board of Directors for the Marine Debris Foundation must be received, in entirety, no later than 11:59 p.m. EDT on June 30, 2021. Packages received after this time will not be considered.

All nominations should be emailed (recommended) to marinedebris.foundation@noaa.gov with the subject line “Marine Debris Foundation Nomination” or mailed to Caitlin Wessel, Marine Debris Foundation Nomination c/o NOAA Disaster Response Center, 7344 Ziegler Blvd., Mobile, AL 36608.

Nomination Checklist

All nominees should submit the following items: 

  1. Completed Nomination Form
  2. Current resume* including:
    • Complete contact information (telephone numbers, email address, mailing address) 
    • Career sector (e.g., federal, state, industry, nonprofit, etc.) 
    • Education history
    • Work and related experience
    • Honors and awards
    • Activities and hobbies
    • Skills

*No more than two pages in length, saved as a .doc or .docx file.

  1. Statement of Interest** including: 
    • A description of the candidate qualifications
    • Diversity statement, should include how the candidate will contribute to a diverse and inclusive Board of Directors 
    • Fundraising statement, should include candidates past experiences with fundraising and how they will contribute to a robust fundraising program for the Foundation.
    • List required criteria met and a short summary of how the candidate meets the specified criteria
    • List additional criteria met and a short summary of how the candidate meets the specified criteria
    • Why the candidate would be a good fit for the Board of Directors. 

**No more than four pages in length, saved as a .doc or .docx file.

  1. At least one letter of recommendation, but no more than three, saved as a .pdf file. Letters should be no longer than two pages in length and demonstrate the candidate’s qualifications. 

Nominations may be submitted by the candidate themselves, or by the person/organization recommending the candidate. If submitted by someone other than the candidate, the nomination package should include a signed statement from the candidate agreeing to be nominated. Incomplete applications will not be considered. You can download a checklist of required documents to include in the nomination package in the additional resources panel.