Staff Spotlight: Merrit Thompson

We sat down with World Forestry Center’s Development Director Merrit Thompson and talked about art history, our community of donors, and the organization’s transformation.

Tell us a little bit about yourself?

“I grew up in Arizona and found my way to the Pacific Northwest when I attended University of Oregon. Through college, I met my wonderful husband, Zach. Before World Forestry Center, I worked for NW Children’s Theater and Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art. On weekends, you will most likely find me at one of the many wineries in the Willamette Valley or with family and friends enjoying breakfast, lunch, or dinner at one of Portland’s numerous food destinations.”

What do you do at World Forestry Center?

“As the Development Director, I spend my time fostering connections with our amazing community of donors and partners. I also work with our team to help connect and share the programs and experiences we develop with our community.”

What connects you to World Forestry Center’s mission?

“I’ve been with World Forestry Center for the past five years, and I’ve valued the opportunity to be a part of its evolution. I firmly believe in our mission and know we can impact the future of our forests, our climate, and our communities. It’s inspiring to me that I can be a part of the solution and help others find their place in that work.”

What’s your favorite part of your job?

“I love talking with people and learning their stories. World Forestry Center has a long history and extensive relationship in this region. Many years later, I am still meeting new people. I’m inspired by the commitment that World Forestry Center’s team, board, and donors show to the organization day in and day out. And I can’t wait to spend time in-person with everyone this summer, starting at our museum reopening!”

What’s something people may not know about you?

“I have never been to a museum that I didn’t enjoy. I studied Art History and Architecture, which took me to Rome to finish my degree. The time spent in Italy only fueled my passion for art, architecture, history, and pasta.”