by Laura Feragen
Friends of the Wissahickon announced that Ruffian Tittmann has been named executive director of the organization, effective on Jan. 1. She currently serves as FOW’s deputy director. Tittmann succeeds Maura McCarthy, Ph.D., who has served in the role for the past 14 years and was recently appointed executive director of the Fairmount Park Conservancy.
Tittmann joined FOW in 2006 as development director, a position she held until 2017 when she became deputy director. She has worked closely with McCarthy on all of FOW’s projects and programs over the last decade, most notably its three-year Strategic Blueprint, which culminates in 2020.
Priorities include operationalizing diversity, equity and inclusion throughout the organization and providing innovative long-term strategies for managing the Wissahickon’s habitat and infrastructure, all with the goal of ensuring a welcoming and ecologically healthy park for everyone. Under their management team, FOW has grown from an organization with a yearly revenue of under $500,000 in 2005, to nearly $2 million with nearly two million annual park visits.
“We are thrilled to be able to pass on the baton from Maura to Ruffian, someone who knows the organization intimately, a key factor as we look ahead to our centennial in 2024,” said Jeff Harbison, president of FOW’s Board of Directors. “Ruffian is fully prepared to hit the ground running. We won’t miss a beat in the transition, and that means FOW and its ongoing projects will maintain momentum.”
In the early days of Tittmann’s leadership, FOW will embark on several capital projects. The one of the highest profile will be the restoration of the Lower Valley Green Run and a pedestrian bridge that will be an architectural feature and cornerstone of a future fundraising initiative, as FOW looks toward its 100th year.
“Our urban wilderness and watershed is extraordinary, and FOW’s work to conserve these woods and engage the community in our stewardship is more important than ever,” Tittmann said. “While it’s always difficult to say goodbye to old friends, it’s exciting to be leading FOW into its next stage of growth.”
With McCarthy’s new role at Fairmount Park Conservancy, Tittmann plans to augment the existing relationship between the two organizations.
Prior to FOW, Tittmann was the director of membership and annual giving at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Drew University. A member of the American Association of Fundraising Professionals, Tittmann has been a three-time volunteer reviewer for the J.M.K. Innovation Prize awarded by the JM Kaplan Fund for early-stage projects in the fields of the environment, heritage conservation and social justice.
“This has been one of the greatest jobs you could have,” McCarthy said “I’ve achieved everything I set out to do when I joined FOW, and I am confident that I’m leaving the organization well-positioned to continue carrying out its mission. I’m proud to say that FOW is in the hands of an outstanding leader – Ruffian is the natural choice to guide its future. She has the strategic vision to see where we need to go and the energy to make it happen.”
Laura Feragen is an editor and publicist for the Friends of the Wissahickon.