The Partnership for the Delaware Estuary has welcomed Debbie Heaton as its new director of development after a reorganization of its development team.
Heaton will lead efforts to grow the organization’s financial resources in accordance with a new five-year strategic plan. This plan calls for expanding efforts to protect and restore tidal wetlands and shellfish in and around the Delaware River and Bay.
It also calls for working with communities in Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania to reduce pollution and improve their resilience to storms and flooding. With this move, Heaton becomes the third fundraising professional on the nonprofit’s staff of 15.
Heaton previously held the same position at the Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts. Prior to that she was the director of philanthropy at The Nature Conservancy’s Delaware chapter, where she worked for eight years.
Heaton received the Sierra Club’s William E. Colby Award Sept. 21 for her two decades of service to the organization. She is also active with the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Delaware Natural Areas Advisory Council, Fund for Women, Widener Environmental Law Center and others.
Heaton holds a master of fine arts degree in visual communications from Temple University. She also earned a bachelor’s degree in interior design and architecture at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
Heaton resides in Middletown with her husband Clay. In her free time she enjoys gardening, photography, and volunteering for the annual Horseshoe Crab Survey, as well as the causes above.