The Coastal Conservation League is thrilled to announce Faith Rivers James as our new Executive Director. She will begin her duties on August 15, 2022 and will be based out of the Conservation League’s Charleston headquarters.
Faith Rivers James
Faith brings to the Conservation League an extraordinary set of experiences and accomplishments. A graduate of Porter-Gaud, Dartmouth College, and Harvard Law School, within four years of launching her law career in Washington, D.C., Faith was negotiating the Federal budget as senior counsel to the House Majority Leader. Soon thereafter, she returned to her native Lowcountry. She served as Executive Director of the South Carolina Bar Foundation, where she oversaw grant funding for programs enhancing access to justice and played an instrumental role in launching the Heirs’ Property Preservation Project. Faith then seized an opportunity to teach and deepen her legal scholarship, first as a member of the Environmental Law faculty at Vermont Law School, and then as Professor and Associate Dean for Experiential Education and Leadership at Elon University School of Law, where she led the Law and Leadership program, helped mount the Elon Law Environmental Law Society, and spearheaded a joint JD/Master of Science in Environmental Law and Policy program with Vermont Law. Fortunately for South Carolina, a position as Assistant Provost for Leadership and Head of the Department of Leadership Studies at The Citadel lured Faith back to Charleston, where she recently built a house on property that has been in her family since the 19th century.
As compelling as Faith’s extensive professional accomplishments is her personal connection to the Lowcountry. As a Mount Pleasant native who grew up in the historic Four Mile community, Faith has not only witnessed firsthand the change that unbridled growth and development has had on our landscape, but she has devoted her energy, expertise, and legal acumen to checking that growth in pragmatic and entrepreneurial ways. Whether by writing and producing a landmark video to educate heirs’ property landowners in how to secure title to their land, or by successfully representing her congregation, Olive Branch AME, in negotiations with the S.C. Department of Transportation over a Highway 17 widening project, Faith has demonstrated a sophisticated understanding of how to get things done. She knows how to effectively advocate for communities—both human and natural—that are too often disenfranchised and disempowered.
We began working with Koya Partners in early 2022 to help us find the perfect fit for our new Executive Director. We were looking for a dynamic, innovative, and adaptable leader to complement our passionate and dedicated staff. In addition, this person would need to be able to lead us in our work to address some of the most pressing issues of our time: climate change, equity, and biodiversity and natural landscapes under ever-growing threat.
Our Board of Directors sought to find an inclusive, thoughtful, and strategic leader who is committed to our mission and has the skills and experience to expand on our financial, programmatic, and organizational success.
As a property law scholar and land use expert, nonprofit executive and legislative attorney, seasoned administrator and student of leadership, and perhaps most importantly, as an effective and nimble community advocate, Faith is uniquely positioned to lead the next chapter of the Conservation League’s mission and mandate: to protect the health of the natural resources of the South Carolina coastal plain and ensure a high quality of life for all of the people who live in and love this special place.
Faith Rivers James will officially begin August 15, 2022. Faith will get to know our staff better and become more familiar with our current and ongoing projects. Shortly after she begins, we will have opportunities for partners, donors, and advocates to get to know her in this new role. Please check back here for event dates and times.
For media inquiries, please reach out to
Diane Knich, Communications Manager, at [email protected]