2022 Foresters Forum Keynote Speaker
From the Eyes of a Forester on the Past & Present
Matt Donegan is President of Donegan Advisors LLC, where he provides senior advisory services to businesses, governments and non-profits in the forest, climate change and wildfire arenas. Matt’s work encompasses strategy, policy, finance, and large-scale project development and operations. Matt has led several successful start-ups in the private, public and non-profit sectors, as well as restructurings of mature organizations undergoing change.
Matt’s prior company, Forest Capital Partners, for which Matt served as co-founder and co-president, successfully completed what was then the largest single forestland transaction in industry history, and grew to become one of the largest and most successful forest investment firms in the world. Matt served as founding chair of the National Alliance of Forest Owners (NAFO), the largest policy advocacy organization for American forestland owners, and as a director of the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI), the largest forest certification organization in North America. As chair of the Oregon State Board of Higher Education, the governing body overseeing the state’s seven public universities, Matt successfully led a historic modernization and comprehensive restructuring.
A lifelong conservationist, Matt was an early innovator in conservation finance. He co-founded and co-led US Forest Capital, which provided low-cost financing and advisory services to conservation groups acquiring working forests. Over the past decade, Matt’s work has focused heavily on climate change, innovation and wildfire. In Oregon, Matt has served as a founding member of the Oregon Global Warming Commission and the Oregon Innovation Council. In 2019, he was appointed by Oregon’s governor to chair the Wildfire Response Council where, over the course of a year, he led over 100 experts and citizens in the successful development of the state’s first comprehensive wildfire strategy.
Matt’s current partners and affiliations include the Yale Carbon Containment Lab, the Energy Futures Initiative and other corporate and public entities leveraging natural systems to both mitigate and adapt to climate change. He serves on numerous boards and advisory councils; provides frequent public testimony; and speaks, writes and lectures on issues related to wildfire, climate and sustainability. He earned a B.S. in Forestry from the University of Florida, where he served as chair of the Society of American Foresters and was a member of the Forestry Honor Society. He earned an MBA with concentrations in Forestry and Finance from the University of Tennessee.