Our People

Bill Ulfelder

New York Executive Director

New York, NY

Headshot of Bill Ulfelder.

Bill Ulfelder © Jonathan Grassi


New York


May Yeung


With Bill's leadership, The Nature Conservancy in New York is raising unprecedented resources, investing in cutting-edge science, increasing awareness of key conservation issues with new audiences in New York and around the world, and creating a world where all of nature, including humanity, can thrive. As a global hub for culture, innovation and finance, New York is positioned to make an outsized impact and lead the way by emphasizing climate mitigation, adaptation, resilience—and the power of nature itself. The Nature Conservancy in New York is setting a national and even global example by taking a bold and forward-looking approach to the role nature plays in tackling climate change and by promoting thoughtful renewable energy development and leading-edge climate legislation.

Bill’s career with the Conservancy spans more than 25 years and many regions, including South America, the American West, the Caribbean, Mongolia, and New York. As New York Executive Director, he’s overseen one of the largest teams/business units in the Conservancy, which entails deep engagement with programs in countries like India and China that are key to our global future. Throughout his tenure, Bill has strategically established relationships and partnerships to build a strong and vital foundation of support.

Some hallmarks in New York through Bill’s leadership include – the first comprehensive urban conservation program, launched in the wake of Superstorm Sandy; the successful creation of the US-based India Council to strategically and financially support the emergent India Program; investments in and the prioritization of social science as key to conservation success; new partnerships with social science, environmental justice organizations, and tribal nations; and remarkable policy successes at the local and state levels. Bill and New York have also supported global priorities, including Blue Bonds deals in the Seychelles, Belize and Barbados; grasslands conservation in Mongolia; tropical forest conservation in Belize and the launch of the Conservancy’s impact investment arm, NatureVest.

As New York Executive Director, Bill led the creation of a “One New York” approach that unified programs and teams behind a single, shared strategic vision, and aligned the structure and financial resources to serve that vision. Overseeing the engagement of nearly 100,000 Conservancy members, he has led New York to become a fundraising powerhouse, including dramatically increasing the resources raised for global work, culminating in 2020 with the enormously successful $384 million One World: New York fundraising campaign. Through Bill’s leadership, the New York Board of Trustees has strengthened, diversified, and deepened its sense of community. Today, the Nature Conservancy in New York is more innovative and agile; it centers diversity, equity, inclusion and justice in all of its work, and is considered a leader in the Conservancy’s global network.

Bill is a frequent contributor to English and Spanish-language news media such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Good Morning America, CNN, CNN Español and NPR. He was profiled in Big Impact: Insights & Stories from America's Non-Profit Leaders (BookBaby, 2017).

He received a B.S. in Political Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he was a Morehead-Cain Scholar and varsity athlete. Bill wrote his undergraduate honors thesis on deforestation in the Amazon (conducting field research in Peru) and was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to work with the Panamanian Institute of Renewable Natural Resources. He later earned dual master’s degrees in Forest Resource Management and Natural Resource Economics & Policy from the Nicholas School of the Environment, as well as a Latin America Studies certificate, at Duke University, where he received a distinguished alumnus award in 2012.

Bill lives in New York City with his wife Natalie and their dog Spot. Their daughter Bella attends art school in London. Bill loves exploring New York City, New York and the world.

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