After a career devoted to public service, philanthropy, and environmental conservation, Jerry McCarthy serves as an advisor to individuals, foundations, and nonprofit organizations. Jerry has extensive experience in effective grant making, strategic planning, public policy, community outreach, developing creative partnerships and community collaborations with a concentration on environmental conservation and protection.
He served as Executive Director of the Virginia Environmental Endowment, a grant making foundation, since its founding in 1977 until his retirement in June 2013. Prior to that, he served as Executive Director and Chairman of Virginia's Council on the Environment. Earlier, as a Captain in the United States Air Force, Jerry was Program Manager for advanced research and development at the nation's premier nuclear weapons laboratory, the U. S. Air Force Weapons Laboratory in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He has also taught environmental management at the Duke University School of the Environment, and lectured at the University of Virginia and Virginia Commonwealth University, among others.
During his years of public service in Virginia, Jerry has served on numerous boards and commissions, including the Commonwealth Transportation Board (Secretary), the Commission on the Future of Virginia's Judiciary, the Virginia Land Conservation Foundation (Vice Chair), the Water Resources Research Center Board, the Chesapeake Bay Citizens Advisory Council (Chair), and the Natural Resources Partnership. He also served as an adviser to the Commission on Growth and Development, the Commission on the Future of Virginia, and as a member of the panel that recommended the creation of the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality.
Nationally, he served as a Board Member of the Southeastern Council of Foundations and was a founder of the Chesapeake Bay Funders Network, the Environmental Grantmakers Association and the Association of Small Foundations (recently renamed as Exponent Philanthropy), all of which serve to increase collaboration and effectiveness among grant making foundations in the country.
Among his accomplishments during his philanthropic career are the following:
- Originated the Robert R. Merhige Jr. Environmental History Archives at the Virginia Historical Society;
- Established the Institute for Environmental Negotiation at the University of Virginia, the first university-based alternative dispute resolution for complex environmental disputes and public policy dialogues in the country
- Initiated a unique Business-Conservation Partnership in Virginia called VirginiaForever
- Initiated an annual conference (“Environment Virginia”) at Virginia Military Institute among business, governmental, and nonprofit environmental leaders, where annually over 700 people (40% from business) come together to learn and discuss environmental conservation, natural resources, and regulatory issues
- Built an environmental conservation nonprofit community in Virginia by providing guidance and initial funding for numerous nonprofits, including the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, the James River Association, the Nature Conservancy, the Southern Environmental Law Center, the Elizabeth River Project, and Friends of the Rappahannock, among others
- Promoted and funded applied scientific research to conserve the commercially important fisheries of the Chesapeake Bay, specifically helping to develop a science-based policy for managing menhaden, rockfish, crabs and oysters
- In 2004 the University of Virginia established The Gerald P. McCarthy Award for leadership in Environmental Conflict Resolution in his honor
He also did graduate studies in public science policy administration at the University of New Mexico.