Board, Officers and Staff

The Butler Conservation Fund is a board-driven entity and, in accordance with the founder’s wishes, will always remain so. Each director and officer of BCF is a leader in his or her respective field and brings fresh perspectives to the organization.


GILBERT BUTLER is the founder of Black River Management Company, formerly Butler Capital Corporation, and a noted environmental philanthropist. Since childhood, Mr. Butler has had a deep appreciation for the natural world and its value to society. He is an accomplished outdoorsman who enjoys extensive travel, kayaking, cross-country skiing, mountain biking, and mountaineering.

A graduate of Milton Academy, Harvard College, and Columbia Business School, Mr. Butler was a pioneer in developing alternative investment vehicles for pension funds, endowments, and other institutions. In 1979, after serving as vice-president of the trust and investment division of Morgan Guaranty Trust Company, he co-founded a private equity firm, the Butler Capital Corporation (BCC), which became one of the earliest middle-market buyout companies with subscribed capital of more than $1 billion. Since winding down the firm in 2005 Mr. Butler has used his business acumen to further his philanthropic endeavors, with the intention of creating a lasting legacy for the organizations and geographies he values.

TONY GRASSI chairs the board of directors of the Butler Conservation Fund and a past-chairman of the board of the Nature Conservancy (TNC) and former managing director of Crédit Suisse First Boston. He has served on the boards of TNC’s Connecticut and Maine chapters and is a former chairman of the board of American Rivers and past-president of the Wilton (Connecticut) Land Conservation Trust. Mr. Grassi is also a founder and board member of Horizons National Student Enrichment Program. He has a BA from Princeton University and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

CHRISTOPHER (KIM) ELLIMAN is vice chair of the Butler Conservation Fund and chief executive officer of the Open Space Institute. He brings to BCF a leadership perspective on the environment from both the non-profit and corporate worlds. His not-for-profit experience includes serving as chairman of the Adirondack Council, the Wilderness Society, and the Geraldine Rockefeller Dodge Foundation, and vice-chairman of the Environmental Defense Fund. He was a founding partner of Fresh Fields, a grocery chain; a board member of Cherokee Properties, a for-profit brownfield redevelopment corporation; and chairman of Piggly Wiggly Southern. Mr. Elliman earned a B.A. from Yale University.

DANA BEACH founded the South Carolina Coastal Conservation League in 1989. Today CCL is recognized as one of the most successful state-level conservation groups in the country. Mr. Beach graduated magna cum laude from Davidson College and earned an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, working in New York City before moving to Charleston. He is a recipient of the Order of the Palmetto, South Carolina’s highest honor, and in 1998 was named one of ten Heroes for the Planet by Time magazine’s Time for Kids.

KRISTINE McDIVITT TOMPKINS is a conservationist and former CEO of Patagonia, Inc. After her retirement in 1993, she and her late husband, Douglas Tompkins (founder of The North Face and Esprit), devoted themselves full-time to conservation initiatives, working to create new national parks in Chile and Argentina. Together they have protected over 2.2 million acres—more than any other private individuals in the world. In 2000, Ms. Tompkins created Conservación Patagónica, which is now working to create the Patagonia National Park in southern Chile. A California native, Ms. Tompkins is a graduate of the College of Idaho.


TOMER INBAR is secretary of the Butler Conservation Fund. A partner in the New York City law firm of Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler, he is an expert on tax-exempt law, advising clients on tax and corporate issues, regulatory compliance, governance, operational policies and procedures, and other matters. Among his clients are public charities and foundations, including many colleges and universities, economic development corporations, museums and cultural institutions, and environmental conservation organizations, many of which are active worldwide. Mr. Inbar earned a Bachelor of Arts in creative writing from SUNY Binghamton, a Master of Arts in Japanese Literature from Cornell University, and LL.M. and J.D. degrees from the New York University School of Law.

DHRUVIKA PATEL AMIN, CPA, is vice-president of accounting and administration at Black River Management Company (BRM), formerly known as Butler Capital Corporation, which performs day-to-day oversight and administrative operations of the Butler Conservation Fund and its affiliates. Ms. Amin is also chief of staff and operations, responsible for the financial statements for all BRM partnerships, corporations and foundations. Prior to joining BRM in 2003, Ms. Amin, a graduate of St. John’s University, worked with clients in the areas of private equity, real estate and insurance, as well as not-for-profit institutions.


CARL CARLSON, a licensed landscape architect, is BCF’s director of conservation infrastructure projects. He previously worked for the New York City consulting firm Great Ecology. With combined experience in both design and construction management, he supervised projects including a $40 million habitat restoration and mitigation project in Woodbridge, New Jersey. Mr. Carlson earned his bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture from the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry.

JOSEPH MANCARI, CPA, is a senior accountant with the Black River Management Company and the Butler foundations and serves as director of budgeting and planning for programs operated by the Butler Outdoor Education Fund (BOEF) in upstate New York, Maine, South Carolina, and Patagonia. Mr. Mancari previously worked as an auditor for Ernst & Young, LLP. He graduated from the Villanova School of Business with bachelor of science degrees in accountancy and business administration.