Former DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell was appointed President & CEO of PennFuture, a statewide advocacy organization dedicated to protecting public health, restoring and protecting natural resources, and moving Pennsylvania toward a clean energy future.

McDonnell, who has over 20 years of experience in a number of positions at the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, has devoted his career to climate, energy and environmental issues.

Most recently, he was Secretary of DEP, where he was responsible for environmental and energy policy for the Commonwealth.

As a cabinet official, he oversaw efforts to mitigate climate change and adapt to its impact, led the Commonwealth’s entry into the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, developed strategies to adapt to increased flooding, and focused on environmental justice issues in disadvantaged communities and diversity within the Department.

“We set out to find a dynamic leader who was dedicated to the environmental movement with extensive policy experience,” said Scott Tobe, PennFuture Board Chair. “We found that and more in Patrick and are so excited for him to lead PennFuture into its next phase of growth.”

Prior to being named Secretary for the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, McDonnell served as its Director of Policy.

In addition, he ran the State Energy Office and was charged with coordination of renewable energy and energy efficiency issues.

He has also served as Executive Policy Manager for former Commissioner Pamela A. Witmer of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, focusing on electric, natural gas and water issues, as well as cybersecurity and the impact of environmental regulation on energy markets.

“I am absolutely humbled and thrilled to be joining Pennsylvania’s premier environmental organization,” said McDonnell. “In my role at DEP, I gained an appreciation for the important work PennFuture does across the state, whether in its largest cities or its smallest communities. The challenges we face have never been greater – from climate change and polluted streams to the very real historical impacts of contamination in disadvantaged communities across the state. And the voice of PennFuture and its members has never been more critical to ensuring we find the solutions to address these challenges for all Pennsylvanians, now and in the future.”

McDonnell has just completed his term as President of the Environmental Council of States, an organization that represents the collective voice of state environmental agencies with the federal government.

A native of Philadelphia, he received his Master’s degree in Political Science from Lehigh University and his Bachelor’s Degree in Politics from DeSales University.

McDonnell will assume his responsibilities as President & CEO of PennFuture on October 15, 2022.

PennFuture engaged Kittleman & Associates, a national executive search firm, to conduct the search for its President & CEO.

Kittleman & Associates specializes in the recruitment of CEOs for tax-exempt nonprofit organizations, public charities and philanthropic organizations. Kittleman recruits leaders for the entire nonprofit sector including environmental and conservation organizations, public gardens, museums and science centers, foundations and human services organizations.

PennFuture, created in 1998 as a statewide environmental advocacy organization, has achieved significant legal and policy victories that reduce pollution and protect the environment.

It has provided millions of dollars in pro bono legal services while setting critical precedents and enforcing environmental laws across the Commonwealth.

The PennFuture team litigates cases before regulatory bodies and in local, state and federal courts; advances legislative action on a state and federal level; provides public education; and assists citizens in public advocacy.

It has a track record of precedent-setting victories and is committed to serving citizens and communities across Pennsylvania through education, outreach and coalition building.

For more information on programs, initiatives and upcoming events, visit the PennFuture website.