"The board has indicated that it is moving in a different direction with regard to the Environment Program, and it is clear to me that this is the right moment to leave," Caren Glotfelty, who has led the program since 2000, told the Post-Gazette. According to an email announcement she sent to colleagues and grant recipients, Glotfelty learned in mid-July, shortly after endowments chair Teresa Heinz Kerry was hospitalized in Massachusetts, that "changes are taking place at the Heinz Endowments, and one of the results is that [she] will no longer be employed there." The endowments did not respond to the Post-Gazette's request for a comment on Glotfelty's departure.
The Environment Program — one of five major grantmaking areas at the endowments — advocates for green construction, invests in sustainable communities and environmental education, issues local air-quality reports, and seeds community-based nonprofits. Recent grant recipients include 10,000 Friends of Pennsylvania, 3 Rivers Wet Weather, Inc., and the Center for Coalfield Justice. One of Glotfelty's major undertakings was a new air quality initiative in southwestern Pennsylvania.
Before joining the endowments, Glotfelty worked in Pennsylvania and Maryland state government on land use and water quality issues and was a driving force behind former Pennsylvania governor Tom Ridge's 21st Century Environment Commission. The commission's findings led to the creation, in 1999, of the state's Growing Greener Environmental Stewardship Fund, which has since provided billions of dollars for conservation and reclamation efforts in Pennsylvania.
Glotfelty's departure from the endowments — which distributed $75.1 million in grants last year — caught many in the conservation community off-guard. "Changes there are significant, because they have a significant footprint," Marijke Hecht, director of education at the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, told the Post-Gazette. "You always hope that the projects that our organization sees as really critical [will continue] to intersect with what the Heinz Endowments intends to fund."