Over forty years of leadership relationships with federal, state, and local executive and legislative branch entities has provided invaluable experience in the mechanisms of decision making. Extensive philanthropic relationships have been developed over fifteen years as founding Executive Director of The Campbell Foundation,  co-founder and co-chair of the Chesapeake Bay Funders Network (nationally recognized for philanthropic leadership by the Council on Foundations with its Critical Impact award), co-chair of the Environmental Grantmakers Association 20th Anniversary annual meeting, and advisor to numerous foundations. 

Verna Harrison brings impressive capacity to her work, including:


A few examples of prior accomplishments include the leadership role to:

  • convene the Clean Water for All Campaign, a platform to bring together people with diverse backgrounds to promote clean drinking water for all communities through a flexible campaign, with clear regional and local benefits, to defend foundational water protections, advance appropriate water infrastructure, and reduce agricultural nutrient pollution

  • establish the largest environmental grant making foundation on the East Coast

  • create the Choose Clean Water Coalition, currently 230 members of national, regional, and local environmental organizations/ representing over a million individuals

  • develop three Chesapeake Bay Agreements

  • form the Interfaith Partnership for the Chesapeake


Supported and created partnershipswith local/ state/ federal governments/ private sectors, and with foundations/advocates to advance progress resulting in:

  • adoption of the Clean Water Rule

  • negotiated agreement to protect and use MD Coastal Bays

  • nationally recognized public/private strategy to restore MD’s ten Chesapeake Bay tributaries

  • regional, multi-state agreement to protect/restore living resources

  • multiple stakeholder efforts to address contentious issues, including dredge material disposal agricultural drainage, and boat discharge zones


The tool chest includes: 

  • comprehensive strategies to address federal threats to environmental laws and budgets

  • regulatory changes in agricultural manure management through use of science, communication, advocacy

  • financial incentives targeted to promote conservation

  • early communication about the need for funding for pollution runoff (stormwater)


Significant momentum was generated through:

  • multi stakeholder and funder engagement to establish the Clean Water for All Coalition

  • several first-in-nation agro-environmental protection programs

  • market based solutions for management of excess manure and fisheries

  • citizen engagement through training by the Chesapeake Watershed Stewards Academy


Adaptive management was promoted by:

  • managing the launch of a nationwide survey of low-cost water quality monitoring technologies with a goal of empowering people to protect clean water

  • convening an independent technical evaluation of key components of the 2017 Midpoint Assessment of the Chesapeake Bay TMDL (the water quality restoration targets that will protect living resources and human health)

  • leading the Bay Program Citizen Advisory Committee effort to ensure that EPA revised its guidelines for Verification of pollution reduction activity

  • directing the strategic intervention to prevent introduction of the exotic oyster into Chesapeake Bay waters

  • managing MD fisheries during ban on striped bass (rockfish) harvest until the species recovered