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Cherie Prothro-Shea Appointed Managing Director of Waitt Foundation

La Jolla, CA, July 1st, 2019 – Cherie Prothro-Shea has been appointed Managing Director of the Waitt Foundation, a foundation that seeks to inspire governments to protect and restore the ocean by cultivating a network of global partners through effective grants and human capital. 


Cherie brings an extensive background in business and investor relations. She began working for Mr. Ted Waitt at Gateway, Inc. nearly 20 years ago. In 2004, when Mr. Waitt retired from Gateway to focus full-time on his philanthropic interests at the Waitt Foundation, Cherie joined the team and helped define the future vision of the organization.


Ms. Prothro-Shea has worked on many projects over her tenure at the Foundation, including assisting the management of more than $80 million USD in large-scale grants as well as the Rapid Ocean Conservation (ROC) Grants program which has funded more than 115 innovative ocean conservation projects globally. Additionally, she is closely involved in government relations and has contributed to historical discovery missions during the initial phase of the Foundation’s research vessel, Plan b, which has completed more than 35 ocean expeditions worldwide. Mostly recently, Cherie has been responsible for developing the network of the Blue Prosperity Coalition, which includes top ocean experts such as National Geographic Pristine Seas, Oceans 5, Dynamic Planet, and Ocean Unite.

“Cherie has been instrumental in shaping the Waitt Foundation into the global organization it is today. Her broad expertise and attention to detail make her an important asset as we move forward to expand ocean conservation and build Blue Economies around the world. I am confident that her leadership will help us continue to develop long-term ocean plans that make a lasting impact on the planet.” said Mr. Ted Waitt, Founder and Chairman of the Waitt Foundation & Institute and Co-founder of Gateway, Inc.


The Waitt Foundation takes a hands-on, partnership-oriented approach to achieve ocean protection.  The Foundation partners with governments to help them improve livelihoods and protect ocean resources by implementing sustainable ocean plans.


“I am excited to see the vision of Mr. Waitt become a reality and play a role in advancing marine conservation. I feel strongly that now is a critical time to implement strategies that both build economies and protect ocean habitats. Over the past 10 years we have learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t work in ocean conservation. Through the recently launched Blue Prosperity Coalition, we can take these best practices and the global network of experts we have cultivated and bring that experience to our government partners.” Cherie Prothro-Shea commented.


Less than 5% of the ocean is protected and only 2.2% is strongly protected in no-take zones.  With ocean resources rapidly declining worldwide, science shows protecting at least 30% of the ocean through marine spatial planning allows nature to bounce back. The most sustainable method of ocean protection is via a holistic marine spatial planning and blue economy planning process.


The Waitt Foundation and Waitt Institute, through the Blue Prosperity Coalition lens has formed partnerships with the Regional Government of the Azores, Bermuda, Curaçao, Barbuda and the Kingdom of Tonga, and continues to expand their work with committed governments to reach the global target of 30% protection. 


Based in San Diego, CA, the Waitt Foundation and Waitt Institute play a leading role in the recently launched Blue Prosperity Coalition. The Waitt Foundation is a grant-making organization that provides funding for Blue Prosperity Coalition initiatives. The Waitt Institute is an operating foundation that partners with governments to achieve sustainable ocean management through Marine Spatial Planning, fisheries management, and community stewardship with each Blue Prosperity site.


Cherie will work closely alongside Dr. Kathryn Mengerink, J.D., Executive Director of the Waitt Institute and Heather Zichal, Executive Director of the Blue Prosperity Coalition.

For media requests, please contact:

Waitt Foundation

Shayna Brody | | +1 719 229 5237


Editors Notes


About the Waitt Institute & Foundation

San Diego based Waitt Institute & Foundation, established by Gateway, Inc. co-founder Ted Waitt in 1993, specializes in public-private partnership and supports high impact global ocean initiatives with the ultimate goal of sustainable, resilient and thriving seas that benefit all by partnering with unique coalitions of government, foundations & philanthropists, NGOs, academics, and businesses. The operational arm of the foundation, the Waitt Institute, partners with committed governments to develop and implement comprehensive, science-based ocean management plans that benefit both the economy and the environment.


About the Blue Prosperity Coalition

The Blue Prosperity Coalition is a global network of experts working to sustainably build economies and improve marine protection. Providing expertise, funding, and tools to governments, the Blue Prosperity Coalition aims to promote growth and prosperity while empowering sustainable management of marine resources and ecosystems. A comprehensive Marine Spatial Plan (MSP) is developed for each partnership that incorporates scientific, legal, and socio-economic assessments and extensive community consultations to create long-term practical solutions to sustainable use of marine resources. Founding partners include the Waitt Institute, National Geographic’s Pristine Seas, Oceans 5, Ocean Unite, Dynamic Planet and the Waitt Foundation.


5 Key Principles of Blue Prosperity

1.   Our oceans need urgent protection.

2.   We can improve both the environment and the economy at the same time.

3.   At least 30% ocean protection is required.

4.   Protection is best achieved via comprehensive, science-based plans in  

      consultation with key stakeholders.

5.   Working together with committed Government leadership, we can achieve 

      sustainable and productive oceans.

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