R. John Dawes Clean Water Fund Established as Dawes Retires from Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds – Earn Charter

The Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds (FPW), in partnership with the Community Foundation for the Alleghenies (CFA) is pleased to announce the R. John Dawes Clean Water Fund, celebrating the significant contributions John Dawes has made to build a strong, thriving, and effective organization to protect Pennsylvania’s waterways.

“The FPW’s board of directors is incredibly grateful for John’s stellar leadership and commitment to improving the waterways of Pennsylvania and are pleased to honor his recent retirement through creation of this fund. His legacy will be alive in a permanent way through the R. John Dawes Clean Water Fund to benefit the Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds,” said CFA President Mike Kane.

FPW is a grantmaking foundation that invests in local efforts to protect healthy streams, clean up pollution, and restore degraded wildlife habitat. Recently “retired” from FPW (he will remain in a consulting role), Dawes served as the inaugural Executive Director, dedicating more than 30 years to building the FPW into a well-organized, strategic philanthropy. In November 2023, conservation and environmental protection leader Deborah Nardone was appointed as the Executive Director of the Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds.

In testimony to Congress in 2022, Dawes said, “Since our inception in 1994, we have invested in more than 1,500 projects and provided $14 million in grants that have leveraged $190 million in total project costs. Our mission is to leverage local, state, and federal funds to protect the best of the best and restore the worst of the worst water problems.” FPW has provided grants to more than 175 environmental organizations across Pennsylvania.

Dawes has been the recipient of WeConservePA’s Lifetime Conservation Leadership Award. He’s also received the Pennsylvania Environmental Council’s Lifetime Achievement Award, a recognition by colleagues and Commonwealth of Pennsylvania agency secretaries for service to improve Pennsylvania’s environment. Additionally, he received the ECHO award (Environment, Community, Humanity, and Ownership) given by the U.S. Department of Interior.

Among Dawes’ key accomplishments, he:

  • Was appointed as a mediator by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection to work with the environmental community and industry to establish better regulations for water quality monitoring in areas impacted by coal ash;
  • Worked with the Environmental Integrity Project to clean up Brunner Island in the Susquehanna River; and, he
  • Advocated for many key regulatory and legislated initiatives to protect Pennsylvania’s waterways, including the reauthorization of the Abandoned Mine Lands Fund in 2006.

Dawes says, “All of this work taught me that a group of citizens can change national public policy for the benefit of all.” He will continue in a consultancy role to the FPW over the next year.

“After investing more than 30 years of time and grant dollars throughout the state of Pennsylvania, I am excited to turn over the leadership of the FPW to such a qualified conservationist as Deb Nardone. This has been a wonderful position to hold, and it’s been an honor to work with committed colleagues who have enabled us to be creative and opportunistic, all the while improving ecosystem function on degraded site-specific projects,” said Dawes.

Nardone, a passionate advocate for Pennsylvania’s natural resources, brings 30 years of experience in shaping mission-focused programs and partnerships that succeed at the local, state, and national levels. Nardone will play a crucial role as FPW increases its capacity to meet the needs of communities working to protect Pennsylvania’s environment and health. For the past eight years, she served as executive director of Clearwater Conservancy, where she helped permanently conserve nearly 3,500 acres of central Pennsylvania habitat and grew the organization’s endowment by 500%. She has also held positions at Sierra Club, Trout Unlimited, and Chesapeake Bay Foundation, and holds a master’s degree in environmental pollution control.

FPW provides matching grant funds to both small and large groups and organizations throughout much of the Commonwealth and is a supporting organization of the Community Foundation for the Alleghenies. Through FPW’s grantmaking, assistance is provided to conservation organizations to achieve their restoration goals, while ensuring enough clean water for future generations of Pennsylvania children, families, and wildlife.


More information on the R. John Dawes fund can be found online at: https://www.cfalleghenies.org/fund/r-john-dawes-clean-water-fund. This post adapted from a release by the Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds.

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *