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Photo by Tiare Bowman

Introducing Joy Shigaki, President & CEO of Friends of Waterfront Seattle

Joy Shigaki, a national leader in helping fund, deliver, and program civic projects and parks, has been named the new President & CEO of Friends of Waterfront Seattle.

Joy at Pier 62. Photo by Joshua Lewis.

Joy at Pier 62. Photo by Joshua Lewis.

“The new Waterfront Park is a tribute to the people, landscapes and traditions that define Seattle. I am so honored to lead Friends of Waterfront Seattle and help reactivate our city’s shoreline, reenergize downtown Seattle and create a new dynamic, inclusive public place for people to come together and build new connections with each other and our natural environment. We are building a space centered in community, belonging, safety, and joy.”

Joy Shigaki, President & CEO

Joy Shigaki is a fourth-generation Seattleite, returning home after raising $98 million in a campaign for the Presidio Tunnel Tops for the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy in San Francisco. Before moving to the Bay Area, Joy held several senior fundraising positions, including Director of Development for the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City, Episcopal Relief & Development, and for Coro New York Leadership Center. Earlier in her career, she managed the capital campaign to create a permanent home for the Wing Luke Museum in Seattle’s Chinatown International District. All of her work is centered in community for meaningful impact.

Time and again, Joy has demonstrated skill in building and strengthening public private partnerships to achieve major projects, a dynamic at the heart of Friends of Waterfront Seattle’s work.

Through her life, and over her career, Joy has been deeply grounded in and committed to racial and social justice and has built and strengthened equitable and inclusive organizations. Her collaborative leadership style demonstrates a nuanced understanding of the complexities, value, and opportunities of working with and learning from a full spectrum of community stakeholders.

Joy’s knowledge of the waterfront’s history from the times of Chief Seattle to the resurgence of the culture and sovereignty of local tribal nations will serve us all well.
Leonard Forsman Chairman of the Suquamish Tribe
Joy Shigaki's experience and commitment to parks and partnership show why she is the right leader to lead Friends of Waterfront Seattle forward and help deliver the spectacular Waterfront Park. The Waterfront Park is going to be a park for all of Seattle’s residents, helping unify us around our shared One Seattle vision.
Bruce Harrell Seattle Mayor
We are on the cusp of reconnecting our vibrant downtown with our waterfront. Waterfront Park will be a center of the downtown Seattle experience for visitors, workers, and residents from across the Puget Sound. We look forward to working with Joy, Friends of Waterfront Seattle, our members, and the community to help deliver and celebrate this generational project for our downtown.
Jon Scholes President & CEO, Downtown Seattle Association
Our community’s generosity has been extraordinary. Never in Seattle’s history has there been such an ambitious vision and campaign for a public space, and Friends of Waterfront Seattle is excited to have Joy Shigaki lead Waterfront Park forward.
Maggie Walker Board Chair of Friends of Waterfront Seattle

Joy believes in the power and potential of urban parks. She understands the essential role they play in the vitality, inclusion, and revitalization of our cities. Her connection to parks is also deeply personal:

“I grew up in and around Seattle parks, from Discovery Park and Seward Park to Rainier Playfield and Lincoln Park, and these early experiences shaped my lifelong commitment to and belief in parks and public lands. Parks connect people to places and to one another. They can be great democratizers and powerful platforms for arts, culture, learning, and connection to nature while promoting belonging, joy, inclusiveness, and safety for all. This is the promise of Waterfront Park.”

With a wealth of experience, a shared understanding of the values that embed Friends of Waterfront Seattle’s work, and a deep connection to this city, Joy is well-poised to lead Friends of Waterfront Seattle into this new chapter.

What do you want to see, eat, and do on the waterfront?

Want to plan an event? Have an idea for an activity? We want to hear from you! Waterfront Park is committed to serving the needs of its diverse communities through cultural, educational, and recreational activities in a beautiful, welcoming environment.