Director of Development
What’s your first memory involving the beach? What’s your favorite? As the Director of Development for the Surfrider Foundation I have the best job in the world – I get to ask people these two questions every day and then help them to link their philanthropy to their desire to protect these memories.
Meridith Blascovich's move to Santa Barbara, California as a child immediately cemented her love for the ocean. An avid traveler and outdoor enthusiast, Meridith strives to leave every place better than she's found it. Meridith is a Senior Strategist for YouTube at Google, where she currently leads her department's strategy and operations in Latin America. As a former peace activist and regular volunteer for presidential campaigns, Meridith is passionate about taking action for her beliefs--especially after witnessing a disregard for the environment in South America she had not seen before. Advancing education for women and girls is also hugely important to Meridith, and learning a new word in a foreign language or reading a good book makes her day complete.
As the child of a US Navy officer, Meg Caldwell grew up mainly on the coastline and developed a strong personal connection with the ocean. She now directs the Center for Ocean Solutions - a collaboration between Stanford University, the Monterey Bay Aquarium, and the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute - whose core mission is to increase the impact of the natural, physical and social sciences on ocean policy and to develop practical solutions to major ocean challenges. Meg also directs the Environmental and Natural Resources Law and Policy program at Stanford Law School where she teaches and researches land use, the use of science in ocean and coastal resource policy and management, and private and public incentives for natural resource conservation.
Steve Combs is a lifetime surfer who balances life between adventures and interesting projects. Steve was a founding member of the Atlanta Chapter in 2009 and served as chair and treasurer. He led a successful campaign to preserve stand up paddle access at Stone Mountain Park Georgia. He has been a speaker at numerous chapter conferences on digital media topics. He currently is an at-large board member of the Emerald Coast Chapter on the Gulf Coast of Florida where he grew up and lived for 20 years. He currently resides in Atlanta, Georgia.
I've had two major environmental awakenings in my life: The first was when I first started surfing as a teenager and just fell in love with the ocean (I even slept with my first new surfboard!); and the second awakening occurred after the Exxon Valdez oil spill. That's when I realized how fragile our coastal ecosystems really were. I happened to be living in SoCal at the time and would often get sick after surfing at Malibu. So water quality became an important issue for me as well, and that's when I first heard about the Surfrider Foundation.
Bob Holding's roots in Coastal North Carolina instilled a passion for all things that coastal water provide. Surfing, fishing, and kayaking have been the focus of his entire personal and professional life. It was these passions that lead him to his career in the Outdoor Industry.
Rick is a Gulf coast native who has had a life long interest in the environmental quality of the region, especially the natural waters. In addition to the Surfrider Foundation, he is a Founding member and Board Member of the Pensacola, Florida/Gulf Coast River-keepers, an Honorary Board Member of the Mobile Bay-keeper, and an active supporter of the national Water-Keepers Alliance. He was appointed by the Governor of the State of Alabama to serve as a member of the Alabama Coastal Commission on Environmental Affairs. His interest in the environment makes a fluid transition from the courtroom to the ocean, taking to the tide with his surfboard in tow, catching as many panhandle waves as possible.
I love the sea for its beauty, for the many great gifts it gives all of us, for the amazing creatures and plants that live in its depths, for the incredible miracles that continue to be discovered in its deep black waters once thought barren of life, and because it plays a very large role in my own spirituality – as indeed it does for many cultures of the world.
Washington Pacific Coast Coordinator
As Aldo Leopold once said, “A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise.” Although he was discussing his land ethic, we can and must extend this principle to a water ethic.
As lead singer and songwriter for the legendary L.A. based punk band Pennywise, Jim has mixed his career as a musician with a healthy dose of charity work and activism. In 2000 Pennywise donated all proceeds from one of their largest shows to local charities, and again in 2007 they donated earnings from their record release party to the UCLA Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy center. A lifelong surfer, he’s also spearheaded the bands involvement in ocean related causes, benefit albums and celebrity surf events. Growing up in the south bay of L.A. and witnessing firsthand the deterioration and re-birth of the regions sea life, Jim is dedicated to maintaining and protecting our beaches, coastlines and oceans.
Born and bred in Texas for better and worse. Rob grew up around his Father, a pioneering FBI Agent and Texas Ranger who instilled in him the Texas ethos of doing what is right and standing up for what you believe. He grew up spending every summer in a small trailer with his family on the beaches of Isla Blanca Park on South Padre Island. In 2005, his beloved park was threatened by development that would have destroyed the lifestyle that generations of South Texas Families had enjoyed in camping at the beach. He became an accidental Activist and became a founding member of the South Texas Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation. Since that time, he has built the South Texas Chapter into a well respected Community and Environmental Organization utilizing the Surfrider Foundation Chapter Network. In any issue that he is involved in his only thought is, "I want to look into my boys eyes when they get older and be able to say to them that I did everything in my power to protect and preserve our beaches and your right to enjoy them."
Liisa grew up going to the beaches of Eastern Long Island: East Hampton, Amagansett and Montauk. This is her favorite place in the world. It was a desire to protect these beaches as well as teach her children to be responsible for them that led Liisa to the Surfrider Foundation. Now, whether it is about caring for the environment or surfing; it is her children who are the teachers.