PALO ALTO, CALIFORNIA (April 27, 2015) – Global Heritage Fund (GHF), a leading international conservancy that protects and preserves endangered cultural heritage sites in developing countries, today announced the appointment of Mr. Stefaan Poortman as the organization’s incoming Executive Director.

Mr. Poortman joined GHF in 2005 and until his recent appointment, has served as the organization’s Vice President of Partnerships, a position which he will continue to lead as the organization’s Executive Director. Leading both U.S. fundraising and in-country partnerships for financing GHF Projects around the world, he has formed well-established relationships with major donors and institutional partners worldwide, and has successfully led GHF’s projects from concept to fruition in Latin America, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

Mr. Poortman directed GHF’s increasing focus and role in community development programs in GHF Projects and was responsible for implementing GHF’s Preservation by Design® methodology across projects and programs. In 2010, Mr. Poortman was appointed a member of the Board of Directors of the Tayrona Foundation for Archaeological and Environmental Research (FIAAT – Fundación de Investigaciones Arqueológicas y Ambientales Tayrona) in Colombia.

After graduating with honors from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, Mr. Poortman applied his studies in environmental and development economics to help launch a series of online project monitoring and evaluation tools for environmental sustainability projects at Chemonics International. He then joined the World Foundation for Environment and Development (WFED) and helped to broker bioprospecting agreements between biotech companies and conservation-intended zones in the U.S. and globally.

Prior to joining Global Heritage Fund, Stefaan was a team member of the Climate and Energy Program at the World Resources Institute (WRI) where he focused on the development of voluntary, corporate greenhouse gas accounting and reporting programs in Mexico, India, South Africa and the Philippines.

Outgoing Executive Director, Dr. Vince Michael served for three years, first as GHF’s Chief Conservation Officer, then as Executive Director, and is a member of the Board of Trustees and the Senior Advisory Board. Dr. Michael will continue to provide GHF with his invaluable assistance as a continuing member of both boards.

Under his tenure, Dr. Michael led GHF to the official release of Pingyao’s first-ever conservation guidelines, released by UNESCO in 2014. In addition, Dr. Michael added a new cultural landscape project to the portfolio of GHF projects. Under his direction, GHF signed a partnership with key organizations including UNESCO Beijing, Beijing and Peking Universities, the Guizhou Administration of Cultural Heritage (GACH), and the China Social Entrepreneur Foundation (You-Cheng).

This multi-partner project reflects GHF’s cross-cultural experience, broad knowledge in conservation and community outreach capabilities, values that Dr. Michael worked to cultivate in order lay the foundations for the preservation of Guizhou’s tangible and intangible heritage.

“The intrinsic link that Global Heritage Fund has established between heritage conservation and community development drew me to join their mission three years ago.” In support of the appointment, Dr. Michael added, “I am pleased… that the Board has agreed to promote Stefaan Poortman… to the position of Executive Director. I have decided it is time for me to move on to new challenges and opportunities, confident that GHF sits today on the cutting edge of heritage conservation and is a respected partner in the international community.”

Jeff Morgan, Co-Founder of GHF and Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors noted, “As GHF builds on its success over the past decade as a leader in world heritage conservation and community development, we need an experienced leader who has worked with GHF projects, partners and our methodology. Having hired and worked with Stefaan for eight years, I am confident that he possesses the know-how to select the best projects for GHF and to implement the critical programs needed while combining conservation, planning, community development and strategic partnerships in order to ensure that GHF’s projects succeed in the protection and long-term preservation of our global heritage.”

About Global Heritage Fund

Global Heritage Fund (GHF) is an international conservancy dedicated to protecting, preserving, and sustaining the most significant and endangered cultural heritage sites in the developing regions of the world. GHF utilizes its comprehensive Preservation by Design® methodology of community-based planning, science, development, and partnerships to enable the long-term preservation and sustainability of global heritage sites. Since 2002, GHF has invested over $40 million directly and secured $25 million in co-funding for 28 global heritage sites in 19 countries, ensuring they remain a viable community asset for many years to come. To learn more, please visit

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