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CAO Announcement



Keecha Gardner Joins The Exchange from Environmental Defense Fund, Bringing 26 Years of National-Level Fundraising Experience


New York, NY – The New York Climate Exchange, a first-of-its-kind organization working to implement innovative climate solutions in New York City and across the globe, today announced Keecha Gardner as its first Chief Advancement Officer. A renowned leader in fundraising for some of the most prominent and respected nonprofits, Gardner brings a wealth of experience to The Exchange. She most recently served as Senior Vice President of Development at the Environmental Defense Fund. In her new role as CAO of The New York Climate Exchange, Gardner will lead fundraising for the first-ever consortium of over 45 partner organizations committed to solving the most pressing climate challenges of our time.  


“We are very excited to welcome Keecha to The New York Climate Exchange. This is a huge step for our organization during a key moment in establishing ourselves as a premier climate institution right here in New York City,” said Stephen Hammer, CEO of The New York Climate Exchange. “Keecha has deep expertise in fundraising and philanthropy from her impressive career, where she has left a lasting impact on nonprofits of many different sizes. The Exchange will eventually be housed in a $700 million state-of-the-art facility on Governors Island set to open in late 2028, but is already launching programming in New York City and other regions of the globe.”


A New Yorker and veteran nonprofit fundraising leader for over 25 years in both individual and institutional giving, Keecha Gardner has served in a series of respected and prominent philanthropic organizations including Lambda Legal, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, and most recently Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), where she has spent the last 16 years. Through her extensive career, Keecha brings excellent strategic skills with respect to the donor experience and all aspects of major and principal giving, and she has earned a reputation for excellence among her peers in the field of philanthropy.


“I am honored to join this bold, visionary organization at such a critical juncture in our fight against climate change,” said Keecha Gardner, Chief Advancement Officer of The New York Climate Exchange. “The Exchange is like no other across the globe, with the power to convene world-class partners to find and implement real, impactful solutions to the climate crisis. Having spent my career supporting many different organizations of type and scale, I know intimately the strategic need for fundraising to turn goals into a reality. I am looking forward to investing in New York’s future by building scalable projects that will be pivotal to the global climate fight.”


Throughout her impressive career, Gardner has driven fundraising and philanthropic efforts in the nonprofit arena for a diverse range of organizations ranging from small six-figure up to large federated nine-figure budget structures. Initially recruited to the EDF in 2008 to build a major and principal gifts program international in scale, Gardner rose to the level of Senior Vice President for Development and has twice served as Interim Chief Development Officer. Keecha has functioned as the effective second-in-command of EDF’s large development program. She has held day-to-day responsibility for most of the overall development program, overseeing approximately 75 of the 150-person department and growing a $70 million budget into $356 million in annual revenue for the $372 million organization. She led major fundraising campaigns like the $88 million satellite launched this March to detect and measure methane pollution. Gardner holds a Bachelor of Arts in History from Temple University.


New York City Mayor Eric Adams and the Trust for Governors Island selected the New York Climate Exchange – known as The Exchange – in April 2023, following a two-year competitive process seeking an educational and research partner to anchor a cross-sector center dedicated to developing and scaling climate solutions for New York City and beyond. The Exchange will eventually be housed in a $700 million state-of-the-art facility on Governors Island set to open in 2028.




About The New York Climate Exchange 

The New York Climate Exchange (“The Exchange”) is a first-of-its-kind collaborative model for 

accelerating climate change solutions for New York City and beyond. Powered by its strong 

partnerships and future home on Governors Island, The Exchange will use education, research, 

an innovation hub, job training, and public programs to prepare communities to respond to 

climate challenges. More information can be found at https://nyclimateexchange.org/.