Friends of the Rouge names new executive director

Ashley Flintoff

Friends of the Rouge (FOTR), whose mission is to restore, protect and enhance the Rouge watershed through education, collaboration and stewardship, has named Ashley Flintoff, as its new executive director.

Flintoff, who will begin her new role on July 8, 2024, is set to lead FOTR with a focus on strategic planning, program evolution, organizational policies and ensuring the organization's fiscal stability.

"Following a nationwide search, we selected Ashley due to her extensive nonprofit, planning, sustainability, small business and academia experience," said Jessica Eiland Anders, FOTR board president. "As we continue to work to restore and enhance the 466 miles of the watershed, Ashley is the ideal leader to uphold our core values of integrity, and stewardship and to continue to push forward our mission of education and preservation."

Flintoff brings a wealth of experience to FOTR, having served as Wayne State University’s Director of Planning and Space Management for the Facilities Planning and Management department for the past seven years. She has also taught Urban Planning Process in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at Wayne State.

Flintoff also has been an adjunct professor at the University of Detroit Mercy, where she taught courses on regional sustainability, community development for institutions, social media for nonprofits, and presentation skills. A dual graduate of the University of Detroit Mercy, Flintoff holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Architecture and a Master of Community Development degree. She also earned a master’s degree in urban planning from Wayne State University. She is a founding board member of the Volterra-Detroit Foundation, a former board member of the Association for Community Design, and was recognized by Crain’s Detroit as a 2022 Notable Woman in Construction, Design, and Architecture.

"The Friends of the Rouge has a long history of extensive engagement and advocacy for the Rouge River Watershed and the communities it serves. I am looking forward to working closely with staff, membership, volunteers and community members to further this work and to build a legacy for a clean, accessible watershed," said Flintoff. 

When not sailing on their 1978 Pearson 30, Ashley, her husband Tim, and their pets Hunter, Akela, Nora, and Puck are engaged in renovating a 1914 Victorian home in Detroit’s historic Woodbridge neighborhood.

Flintoff succeeds Marie McCormick, who has served as executive director since 2017 and is leaving FOTR to pursue a career in sustainable building.

"Marie’s extensive knowledge, experience and passion for environmental practices and policy have been invaluable to FOTR and we thank her for her exceptional work and dedication over the years," Eiland Anders added.