President and CEO
Clare Richardson is responsible for the overall strategy and direction of all the Fossey Fund’s activities. She heads a staff of approximately 150, including field staff in both Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. As president and CEO of the Fossey Fund since 1986, she has led the organization through many turbulent years. She oversaw the expansion of its mission from continuing Dian Fossey’s work studying and protecting mountain gorillas, to include protection of a vast landscape in the Congo that is home to Grauer’s (eastern lowland) gorillas, and many community health and development projects in partnership with communities and government authorities in both countries.
Richardson has devoted most of her 30-year career to nonprofit management and fundraising. She was previously executive director of the Atlanta Zoological Society, Friends of Zoo Atlanta and then executive vice president of Zoo Atlanta, where she spearheaded the marketing and fundraising that enabled the zoo’s revitalization. Earlier she served as associate executive director of the YWCA of Greater Atlanta, which years later named her to their Academy of Women Achievers.
A graduate of Leadership Atlanta, she has served on many nonprofit boards, such as Emory University’s Board of Visitors and for five years was president of the board of Jerusalem House, Atlanta’s first residence for people with AIDS. Richardson was raised in England and began her career as a nurse. She lived in Tanzania in the early 1970s and grew to love Africa, its people and its wildlife. She spent ten years leading annual safaris to East Africa for the Atlanta Zoological Society, and in her role at the Fossey Fund, has led many groups on treks to see the mountain gorillas in Rwanda’s Virunga Mountains. She resides in Atlanta, Georgia.