F. Ward Paine Rejoins POST Board of Directors
Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST) announced today that it has re-appointed retired venture capitalist and original POST co-founder F. Ward Paine, of Portola Valley, to its Board of Directors, effective this month. Paine, one of the first VCs to open offices along Menlo Park’s storied Sand Hill Road, returns to POST’s Board after a 12-year hiatus.
Paine helped start POST in 1977 at the behest of the newly formed Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District. He served as POST’s first Board president and was instrumental in promoting the idea of a private, non-profit land trust for the region.
“It’s great to welcome Ward back to the Board,” said POST President Audrey Rust. “In founding POST, Ward brought the same entrepreneurial principles he used in investing in companies. He found competent and highly motivated people, looked for new ways to achieve goals, never hesitated to ask for money and demanded that money be used efficiently. From the very beginning, he was convinced that private citizens, working together as well as in partnership with public agencies, could protect the coasts and mountains just beyond their backyards. He was prophetic in foreseeing that public funding, while relatively abundant in the early years, could not always be counted on, and that community support was essential. I have tremendous admiration for his wisdom, generosity and commitment to our environment.”
Paine grew up in Chestnut Hill, Mass., a Boston suburb, and graduated from Princeton University with a degree in mechanical engineering. He moved to the San Francisco Peninsula in 1959 with his wife, Mary, to help start an electronics company, but soon shifted his focus to venture capital. He founded OSCCO (Ocean Science Capital Corporation) Ventures in the early 1960s in Menlo Park, and during his career helped start more than 25 companies, many of them ocean-oriented. He currently sits on the advisory board of Paine Pacific, LLC, a financial services and private venture company run by his son Nels.
Along with Mary, Paine has a long history in regional conservation, helping to found not only POST but also the Peninsula Conservation Center Foundation and its educational branch, Environmental Volunteers. He served as that foundation’s board president and was also board member and vice chair of the Senior Coordinating Council of Palo Alto (now Avenidas) and chair of Portola Valley’s Open Space Acquisition Advisory Committee.
Paine’s original tenure on POST’s Board lasted from 1977 to 1998. After stepping down, he continued his support and served on POST’s Advisory Council. He rejoins the Board at a time of exciting growth and collaboration for POST, which in recent years has completed successful campaigns for permanent protection of coastal lands and is now working to connect strategic expanses of open space along the Santa Cruz Mountain range from San Francisco south to Gilroy.
“POST has become an even more capable organization in the time I’ve been on ‘sabbatical’ and accomplishes ever more difficult projects,” says Paine. “The challenges to protecting land are much tougher in this economy than they were before, but even so, I don’t want to miss out on any of it.”
Says Rust, “POST’s success in safeguarding 64,000 acres to date in San Mateo, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties proves Ward was right to believe in the collective strength of the private sector. In rejoining POST’s Board, he shows his determination to find new ways to protect the beautiful landscapes that make our region so distinctive.”