Brennan Starkey, former Chair of the ShoreRivers’ Governing Board who oversaw the creation of the organization, was recognized earlier this month with the Mid-Shore Community Foundation’s J. McKenny Willis, Jr. Award.
This award, established in honor of Mr. Willis who devoted his time and personal resources to improving the quality of life in the Mid-Shore region, recognizes nonprofit organizations for providing outstanding service to the community and is presented to a volunteer who has been instrumental in the success of the organization.
As Chair of the ShoreRivers Board from 2017–2021, and of the Chester River Association before that, Starkey guided Chester River Association, Sassafras River Association, and Midshore Riverkeeper Conservancy through what could have been a complicated merger process with clear and caring leadership that ensured the result—and the organization’s future—was successful.
“Brennan was one of the first volunteers I met when I began my career in Chestertown more than a decade ago, and he and his wife Pat had been dedicated to the cause for many years before that. It’s been a privilege to experience his steadfast commitment to our mission guide the merging of our three environmental organizations to achieve greater results for families, farmers, and all community members who enjoy our waterways,” says Isabel Hardesty, ShoreRivers Executive Director.
Today, ShoreRivers has become much more than the sum of its parts in terms of its people, its revenue, and its impact thanks to his exceptional governance. Operating a large-scale family farm on the shores of the Sassafras River is more than a full-time job, but Starkey was able to share his business expertise, compassion for the community, and deep-seated appreciation for the environment with his fellow volunteers and the three organization’s staff to ensure a respectful and effective transition.
In addition to Starkey, MSCF also presented members of the environmental community with special recognition awards for their achievements, including Chesapeake photographer Dave Harp and Elaine Tama& Marion Arnold of Plastic Free Easton.
Established in 1992, the Mid-Shore Community Foundation is a 501(c)(3) public charity that connects private resources with public needs to enhance the quality of life throughout the Mid-Shore region of Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s, and Talbot counties.
ShoreRivers protects and restores Eastern Shore waterways through science-based advocacy, restoration, and education.