Georgia Forestry Foundation Announces Former State Economic Development Executive to Lead Initiatives

The Georgia Forestry Association is pleased to announce that Ember Bishop Bentley will begin serving as the first Executive Director of the Georgia Forestry Foundation, effective February 1. The non-profit Georgia Forestry Foundation seeks to secure a sustainable future for Georgia’s 22 million acres of working forests. The organization was established in 1989 to serve as the educational arm of the Georgia Forestry Association.

Ember comes to the Foundation from the Georgia Department of Economic Development where she was the Deputy Commissioner for International Relations. Prior to that she served as the Chief of Staff to Georgia’s First Lady, Sandra Deal. Ember will lead the Foundation’s fundraising effort and will oversee the growth of new programs in leadership, policy studies and education. She will report to Georgia Forestry Association CEO Andres Villegas.

“Over the past year, we have been transitioning the Association to help us meet the challenges and opportunities of a rapidly changing state,” said Villegas. “We have an absolute focus to make sure that Georgia, as the number one forestry state in the nation, also has the number one forestry association and foundation in the nation. The addition of Ember marks an important milestone for forestry in Georgia and supports our pursuit of excellence.”

“Georgia continues to thrive in large part due to bountiful natural resources, and the forestry industry is inseparable from our state’s history, culture and economy,” Ember said. “I am honored and excited to lead this new chapter of the Foundation. The role will allow me to leverage my personal and professional experiences, relationships and love of the outdoors toward a sustainable future for the forestry community.”

In 2016, the Association marked several important achievements:

  • Added 175 new members and member benefit programs
  • Focused the staff on connecting, protecting and empowering members
  • Reduced costs and increased income
  • Expanded its lobbying capacity
  • Grew the ForestPAC to record levels and engaged elected officials with high impact events
  • Completed a comprehensive strategic review of the Foundation and began pursuing major gifts

As the Foundation continues to grow and change over the next year,  reach out to Ember at ember@gfagrow.org.

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