The Board of The Staten Island Foundation has appointed Laura Jean Watters as Executive Director as the organization continues with its mission of service to Staten Island.

Ms. Watters was appointed Executive Director of the Foundation on August 5th, 2021 following the death of Betsy Dubovsky, who passed from pancreatic cancer in February of this year.

Ms. Watters had served previously as Program Officer of the Staten Island Foundation since 2007, and worked closely with Dubovsky as the foundation adopted results-oriented and collective impact approaches to their giving.

In speaking of the new appointment, Foundation Chair Kathryn Rooney noted: “Laura Jean came to the Foundation in 2007 and worked closely with Betsy and the Board as we adopted results-oriented and collective impact approaches to our grant-making. Since that time, she has demonstrated her broad knowledge of the many issues facing Staten Island. Her superb performance over these past difficult months made clear to the Board that she is absolutely the right person to continue as our executive director. We look forward to working closely and collaboratively with Laura Jean for many years to come.”

Alice Diamond, a founding member of the Board stated: “Laura Jean, in her own words ‘looks forward to getting to work every day.’ Along with this eagerness she brings great expertise, experience, and an extraordinary connection with our community.”

And Fred Cerullo, president and CEO of the Grand Central Partnership and vice chair of the Board of the Staten Island Foundation, said, “Laura Jean has been an integral member of the Foundation family for years working to cultivate relationships across the not-for-profit community. We have no doubt that the Foundation will remain in expert hands and continue its amazing work under her leadership.”

Previously, Ms. Watters was the founding Executive Director of the Council on the Arts & Humanities of Staten Island, today known as Staten Island Arts.

She is a member of numerous community groups and committees including the Human Rights Committee, Eden II School for Autistic Children, Soroptimist International Staten Island Chapter, and the St. George Task Force for Naturally Occurring Cultural Communities.

She earned her juris doctorate from Brooklyn Law School in 1990.