ConservationStrategy® was founded in 2003 by Mark Van Putten, Past President of National Wildlife Federation, after twenty-five years of experience leading not-for-profit organizations and advocating common-sense solutions to environmental challenges. For thirteen years ConservationStrategy advised foundations, not-for-profit organizations and universities interested in building sustainable and effective conservation and environmental programs.Then, from 2015 until recently, Mark served as President and CEO of The Wege Foundation. Having concluded this service in November 2022, Mark is resuming his consulting practice.

ConservationStrategy worked primarily with individual donors, foundations and funder collaboratives. For example, in 2012 we managed the restructuring process for the Chesapeake Bay Funders Network, resulting in a new fiscal agency relationship. Earlier, the Keith Campbell Foundation retained us to work with the Network and with advocacy groups to launch a new 100+ member Chesapeake Bay Coalition. Similarly, we worked with the Wege Foundation and four other foundations to develop a plan for Great Lakes restoration and to launch the Healing Our Waters - Great Lakes Coalition to press for its adoption. We also worked with the Wege Foundation in periodically convening approximately twenty colleges and universities interested in sustainability issues and in organizing the second summit of the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment.

We've developed a strategic outreach plan for the American Forest Foundation, developed the grantmaking strategies and guidelines for the new Appalachian Stewardship Foundation and have developed grantmaking strategies for the William Penn Foundation, The Summit Fund, the Erb Family Foundation and for an individual donor interested in launching a statewide coastal protection group. We helped the Aspen Institute to plan a summit on the U.S. leadership role in meeting the global water and sanitation crisis and then worked over five years with Wallace Genetic Foundation and Water Advocates to triple the financial commitment to solving this problem by all sectors in the United States.
We designed a "grasstops" strategy for the Wilderness Society to educate constituents of key Member of Congress about protecting the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. We advised the International Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies on strategic opportunities associated with new state comprehensive wildlife plans. And, we worked with the University of Michigan School of Natural Resources and Environment on a strategy for publicly distributing fact sheets on sustainability and designed for the School a customized "Conservation in Black and White" diversity program.