Academy Chief Philanthropy Officer Mary Nemerov

San Francisco (July 13, 2020) — The California Academy of Sciences is pleased to welcome Mary Nemerov as the Academy’s new Chief Philanthropy Officer (CPO). In this role, Nemerov will work closely with the Academy’s Board of Trustees and a team of development professionals to raise philanthropic gifts that support the institution’s world-class scientific research, environmental literacy programs, conservation initiatives, and public museum. Every year, up to half of the Academy’s budget represents generous contributions from individuals, corporations, foundations, and civic supporters committed to helping the Academy deliver on its mission to explore, explain, and sustain life. Nemerov, an accomplished fundraiser for more than 20 years, joins the Academy today.

“Mary’s deep love for the natural world and proven track record for bold fundraising couldn’t be a better fit for the Academy. We’re thrilled to welcome her during this time of great institutional change and transformation,” says Academy Executive Director Scott Sampson, PhD. “Our world has changed and Mary’s dedication to science and public engagement is sure to strengthen the Academy’s bold impact in California and beyond.”

Nemerov joins the Academy after 13 outstanding years at the Sierra Club, where she served as their national Chief Advancement Officer leading a team of more than 80 people. In this role, Mary was instrumental in raising hundreds of millions of dollars in support and managed membership and direct marketing, planned giving, business partnerships, and major gifts efforts. Beyond her remarkable career accomplishments, Nemerov is known as an exceptional leader and supportive manager with an interest in developing and retaining top talent. Prior to her time at the Sierra Club, Nemerov spent eight years honing her talent for conservation-focused fundraising with the Trust for Public Land, working primarily to support projects across New England.

“I’m honored to join the Academy—an institution I have loved and visited since I was a child—and their outstanding leadership team,” says Nemerov. “The work of the institution to address the threats of climate change through education and scientific research, and the ongoing efforts to bring marginalized communities into fuller participation into the institution's mission is deeply inspiring to me. I can’t wait to begin working with staff, volunteers, and the philanthropic community to build an even stronger, more vibrant Academy.”

Nemerov will succeed the Academy’s two-year Interim CPO Rebecca Schuett, who has moved into her new role as Director of Philanthropy. During her tenure, Schuett’s exemplary leadership helped guide the Academy through its transition to a new Executive Director and sustained the institution during the difficult, uncertain days of its temporary pandemic-related closure. Schuett will work closely with Nemerov and her hardworking team as they continue to support the Academy’s world-changing initiatives.

“Rebecca's inspiring leadership, grit under fire, and abiding love for the Academy’s mission have been a driving force behind the organization’s growth and evolution over the past 14 years,” says Sampson. “She is a tireless champion of the Academy’s efforts to help nature and people thrive together, and we are fortunate to retain her exceptional leadership and knowledge of Bay Area philanthropy as she works with Mary to help guide the Academy into a new institutional era.”

Nemerov also serves as chair of the board of Environmental Leadership Professionals, a national nonprofit dedicated to supporting visionary, action-oriented, and diverse leadership at environmental and social change organizations. Born and raised in San Francisco, she holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley, and a master’s degree in urban and environmental planning from the University of Michigan.

About the California Academy of Sciences

The California Academy of Sciences is a renowned scientific and educational institution dedicated to exploring, explaining, and sustaining life. Based in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, it is home to a world-class aquarium, planetarium, and natural history museum, as well as innovative programs in scientific research and education—all under one living roof. When opened, our hours are 9:30 am - 5:00 pm Monday - Saturday, and 11:00 am - 5:00 pm on Sunday. Admission includes all exhibits, programs, and shows. Please note that in response to the latest guidelines and information from local and state public health authorities, the Academy will be temporarily closed to the public. For reopening information and daily ticket prices, please visit or call (415) 379-8000 for more information.

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