Laura Cussen

Manager, Strategic Planning and Finance

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Laura Cussen is a manager of strategic planning and finance at WWF-US, working with partner organizations to develop detailed conservation plans, financial models, and financing mechanisms to secure long-term funding for protected area systems and other area-based conservation programs, especially using the Project Finance for Permanence (PFP) model.

Before joining WWF, Laura worked for the Ministry of Environment of Chile, where she discovered the power of conservation finance as a tool to secure the future of the ecosystems she had studied as an ecologist. As the head of conservation finance at the Department of Protected Areas in Chile, she led a coalition of NGOs and government entities to establish a national conservation trust fund, Fondo Naturaleza Chile. She also supported the conservation and financial planning of a program to implement Chile’s vast network of marine protected areas. Laura helped craft key policy to move forward on conservation funding in the country, including a philanthropy law, a commitment to progressively reduce the biodiversity funding gap toward 2050, and ambitious marine protected area commitments as part of Chile’s contributions to the Paris Agreement.

Laura holds a Master of Science in Earth Systems and a Bachelor of Science in Biology with honors in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, both from Stanford University.

More on Laura




  • M.S. in Earth Systems, Stanford University
  • B.S in Biology, Stanford University

Areas of Expertise

  • Area-based conservation
  • Conservation planning
  • Conservation finance