Cristián Samper to Join Bezos Earth Fund as Managing Director and Leader of Nature Solutions

Press Release

Dr. Andrew Steer, Jeff Bezos, Lauren Sánchez, and Dr. Cristián Samper pose for a photo atop a cliff in the Chiribiquete National Park in Colombia.
(from left) Dr. Andrew Steer, Jeff Bezos, Lauren Sánchez, Dr. Cristián Samper

We are delighted to announce that Dr. Cristián Samper will join the Bezos Earth Fund as Managing Director and Leader of Nature Solutions. He will lead a $3 billion nature solutions portfolio to protect and restore nature and transform food systems as part of Jeff Bezos’ $10 billion personal commitment to protect nature and fight climate change.

“Cristián is a giant in the conservation field, and we’re honored he’s joining us on a full-time basis to drive our nature agenda,” said Bezos Earth Fund President and CEO, Dr. Andrew Steer. “The enormity of the challenge ahead requires vision and bold action, and Cristian’s leadership is critical in this decisive decade.”

Samper is currently advising the Earth Fund as its Principal Advisor for Nature, where he’s helped shape the organization’s nature portfolio. He also helped design and launch the Protecting Our Planet Challenge, a coalition of foundations, including the Earth Fund, pledging $5 billion to support the protection of 30% of the planet by 2030.

“We are fortunate to have Cristián as a key member of the Bezos Earth Fund team,” said Lauren Sánchez, Vice Chair of the Bezos Earth Fund. "His contributions have already made an impact and will continue to push the organization’s mission further, helping drive critical climate and nature solutions.”

Samper will step down as President and CEO of the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), where he has overseen one of the largest environmental nonprofit organizations in the world and a global conservation program in nearly 60 countries. His role has included managing the world’s most extensive collection of urban parks — including the Bronx Zoo, New York Aquarium, Central Park Zoo, Queens Zoo and Prospect Park Zoo.

“It gives me great pride to continue supporting, and to be soon leading, the nature solutions portfolio at the Bezos Earth Fund,” said Samper. “It’s important that we continue to provide innovative solutions to the climate crisis and that includes valuing the role nature plays in addressing the world’s greatest challenge.”

Before leading WCS, Samper was the Director of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History, the world’s most extensive natural history collection, from 2003 to 2012, and served as acting Secretary of the Smithsonian from 2007 to 2008, the first Latin American to hold the position.

About the Bezos Earth Fund

The Bezos Earth Fund is transforming the fight against climate change with the largest ever philanthropic commitment to climate and nature protection. We’re investing $10 billion in this decisive decade to protect nature and drive systems-level change, creating a just transition to a low-carbon economy. By providing funding and expertise, we partner with organizations to accelerate innovation, break down barriers to success and create a more equitable and sustainable world. Join us in our mission to create a world where people prosper in harmony with nature.

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