CEO Announcement


I am thrilled to share with you that IslandWood’s board has unanimously selected Megan Karch as our new Chief Executive Officer. Megan, who has served as CEO of the Seattle nonprofit FareStart for 17 years, will begin her new role on March 12, 2018.

After an extensive national search, we couldn’t be more pleased to have found such a nationally-respected, seasoned leader to guide IslandWood’s next chapter. Megan has an outstanding record of leadership, innovation, strategic vision, fundraising, and staff development. Her proven capacity to grow nonprofit reach and impact, as well as her passion for IslandWood’s environmental education mission make her the perfect fit for our organization.

Megan lives on Bainbridge Island with her partner and their four children and is deeply rooted in the business and philanthropic communities of Seattle. She comes to IslandWood with a deep commitment to building healthy communities through education and training.

Megan succeeds Ben Klasky, who announced his plans to step down last Fall after serving as CEO for 12 years.

Thank you for your support during this transition period. We are excited to work with Megan in the coming years to deepen and grow IslandWood’s work to advance education that inspires stewardship and empowers all students to take action for greater environmental health and community wellbeing.


Marguerite Kondracke

Board Chair



Megan KarchMegan comes to IslandWood with a deep commitment to building healthy communities through education and training. During Megan’s 17-year tenure as CEO of the Seattle-based nonprofit, FareStart, she was an instrumental part of the organization’s significant expansion, paving the way for a broader impact on homelessness in the Greater Seattle, Washington area—including increasing the number of individuals served by 400 percent, growing business revenues from .8M to 6M, purchasing and renovating a new $12.8M facility, and launching a national expansion effort resulting in over 60 members.

Under Megan’s leadership, FareStart received many prestigious awards including the Downtown Seattle Association’s “2007 Champion” award, the Mayor’s “End Hunger” award, Seattle Human Services Coalition’s “Organization of the Year,” the Alliance for Nonprofits’ “Evergreen Award,” Seattle Business Magazine's 2016 Community Impact  "Nonprofit of the Year" award and the James Beard Foundation’s 2011 “Humanitarian of the Year” award.

Megan has served as board president of the Alliance of Non Profits, board president of NPower, board member of the Metropolitan Improvement District (MID), executive board member of the Downtown Seattle Association (DSA) where she serves on multiple committees, was on the Impact Assessment Committee for Washington Women’s Foundation, and as a member of the Governor’s State Advisory Board on Homelessness.

In 2005, Megan was named one of the “40 Under 40” by the Puget Sound Business Journal, and in 2007 was voted one of the top 20 Women of Influence in Puget Sound. In 2011, she was recognized as one of ten “Women of Valor” by Senator Maria Cantwell and in 2012 won Executive Excellence award by Seattle Business  Magazine. In 2013, she was recognized by Seattle Met in their annual Light A Fire Awards as an “Extraordinary Executive Director.” In 2017, she was one recipient of the Women's University Club Foundation's Brava! Award.

Prior to coming to the Puget Sound region, Megan lived in the Baltimore/Washington D.C. area where she held the position of Vice President of Vocational Services for Humanism, a nonprofit human services agency. Megan currently lives with her family on Bainbridge Island, and in her free time enjoys a host of outdoor activities including sailing, cycling, and skiing.


Read more in our press release