At CMES, Birney will draw from years of
experience working with research
and academic institutions.
Photo by Lisa Tossey
Claire Birney, who spent more than a decade leading fundraising efforts for a research center known for its pioneering work on rivers and streams, has been named director of development for the University of Delaware’s College of Marine and Earth Studies (CMES).
“We are excited to have someone with such great enthusiasm and such a strong background in environmental research lead our development program,” said CMES Dean Nancy Targett, pointing to Birney’s work at Stroud Water Research Center in Avondale, Pa.
“Claire will energize the external relations of the college to secure resources that will support our goals and objectives,” Targett said. “We are thrilled to welcome her to our staff.”
Birney, who began in April, is one of seven directors of development that will head up fundraising efforts for each of UD’s colleges.
She said that the Path to Prominence™ and its Initiative for the Planet component will raise the profile of the research being done at CMES and inspire alumni and those passionate about the environment to support the college’s work. She is eager to pursue development initiatives that will help make the planet healthier.
“It is an exciting time to be here, and I look forward to working with Dean Targett, the associate and assistant deans, and the faculty to engage more alumni, environmental leaders, and organizations to increase their support of the great work being done here at CMES,” Birney said.
In her time at Stroud Water Research Center, from 1995 to 2007, she raised $16 million for capital projects and annual support and won a prestigious Kresge Foundation Challenge Grant. Most recently, she was director of major gifts at the West Chester University Foundation, where she secured individual, foundation, and corporate support for capital, endowment, and general operating funding. She has also served at the Winterthur Museum & Country Estate; Upland Country Day School; and the Delaware Symphony.
In previous roles she developed a keen knowledge of environmental issues, the academic funding process, and how to build a network of supporters, all of which will be useful at CMES.
“At the Stroud Water Research Center we didn’t have a built-in constituency like alumni or a membership club,” she said. “So I have had experience in building a base of support. I look forward to using this experience to find and build our base here at CMES, whether it’s alumni or people who are passionate about the environment outside the university.”
Birney also has been a board member for many organizations including the Brandywine Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, the Chester County Fund for Women and Girls, and the Lehigh University College of Education.
She maintains her international professional certification as a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, serves on the local Brandywine Chapter Board of Directors, and was awarded the 2007 Fundraising Executive of the Year by the organization. She has a bachelor’s degree in communications from West Chester University.
Birney and her husband, Harry Orth, live in West Grove, Pa. Harry is a proud, longtime Blue Hen football fan. Their daughter, Anne, will attend UD as a freshman this fall. They enjoy sailing, spending time at the beach, traveling to New Orleans for jazz fests and fishing, and walking their Jack Russell terrier, Rusty.
For more about UD’s College of Marine and Earth Studies, visit www.ocean.udel.edu.