Mark J. Spalding is an expert on international environmental policy and law, ocean policy and law, and coastal and marine philanthropy. He has been the President of The Ocean Foundation since its founding in 2002. Under his leadership, it has grown exponentially from a $200,000 to $8 million/year budget, as he prioritized its focus on steering the human relationship with the sea to a brighter future through diverse, carefully chosen strategies and projects. Mark is a member of the Ocean Studies Board of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (USA). He is serving on the Sargasso Sea Commission. Mark is a Senior Fellow at the Center for the Blue Economy at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies. In addition, he is an Advisor to the High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy. Mark serves as the advisor to the Rockefeller Ocean Strategy (an unprecedented ocean-centric investment fund) and is a member of the Pool of Experts for the UN World Ocean Assessment. He designed the first-ever blue carbon offset program, SeaGrass Grow.
From 1994 to 2003, Mark was the Director of the Environmental Law and Civil Society Program, and Editor of the Journal of Environment and Development, at UCSD’s Graduate School of International Relations & Pacific Studies (IR/PS). He was a research fellow at UCSD’s Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies, a Sustainability Institute – Donella Meadows Leadership Fellow and a SeaWeb Senior Fellow. He holds a B.A. in history with Honors from Claremont McKenna College, a J.D. from Loyola Law School, and a Master in Pacific International Affairs (MPIA) from IR/PS. He is a graduate of both the British School of Motor Racing and the Porsche Track Experience Precision Course. Mark’s deep connection with the ocean began as a young boy growing up in the Central Valley of California; each time he crested the coastal range and the Pacific came into view, it was like a breath of fresh air.