After a career devoted to public service, philanthropy, and environmental conservation, Jerry McCarthy serves as an advisor to foundations and nonprofit organizations, and as a co-leader of life/work planning workshops for BestWork, Inc and Crystal-Barley Corp. Jerry has extensive experience in effective grant making, strategic planning, public policy, community outreach, developing partnerships and community collaborations.
He served as the founding Executive Director of the Virginia Environmental Endowment, a grant making foundation, from 1977 until 2013. Prior to that, he served as Executive Director and Chairman of Virginia's Council on the Environment. 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.
Jerry has served on several of Virginia's boards and commissions, including the Commonwealth Transportation Board, the Commission on the Future of Virginia's Judiciary, the Virginia Land Conservation Foundation (Vice Chair), and the Chesapeake Bay Citizens Advisory Council (Chair). He also served 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.
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.
- Initiated a unique Business-Conservation Partnership in Virginia called VirginiaForever.
- Initiated the annual Environment Virginia conference at Virginia Military Institute for business, governmental, and nonprofit leaders.
- Helped to fund and build an environmental conservation nonprofit community in Virginia, including the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, the James River Association, the Nature Conservancy, the Southern Environmental Law Center, and the Elizabeth River Project.
- Funded applied scientific research to conserve the commercially important fisheries of the Chesapeake Bay, helping to develop a science-based policy for managing Bay fisheries.
- In 2004 the University of Virginia established The Gerald P. McCarthy Award for leadership in Environmental Conflict Resolution in his honor.