Grantmaking Approach

The Foundation’s grantmaking approach centers on the Switzer Environmental Fellowship as our core strategy for investing in environmental leaders. Each year, twenty Switzer Fellows are selected from graduate schools in New England and California to receive the Fellowship based on their leadership accomplishments, leadership potential, and commitment to environmental protection, innovation and applied outcomes. Click here for the detailed criteria for the Switzer Environmental Fellowship Program.

The focus on graduate students is strategically important because the Fellowship offers not only funding for academic study, but also professional development, access to other grant support, mentoring, coaching and networking with colleagues across a wide range of environmental topics, professional sectors and geographic interests. Although the Fellowship is only available for individuals attending graduate schools in New England and California, once Fellows graduate, the follow-on grant programs such as the Leadership Grant Program, Network Innovation Grants Program and the Professional Development Fund are available to them regardless of where they live and work.

We know that Switzer Fellows are leaders whose professional development needs will evolve over time, and so our investments in training, convening and networking cut across specific issue interests and career tracks. We aim to support Fellows expressing their leadership, whether they are doing applied research in an academic setting or working as an advocate or policy analyst. We want to cultivate leaders who are collaborative, cross-disciplinary, conscious of social equity considerations, and who communicate effectively to achieve results. The Switzer Fellowship Network includes all current Fellows and Fellowship alumni, and is a dynamic association of environmental professionals working in all sectors. Foundation grant programs aim to cultivate cross-disciplinary problem-solving among Fellows and environmental colleagues. The Network stimulates learning about diverse perspectives within environmental fields, and strategic actions in research, policy and practice.  We maintain close contact with all Fellows and design our programs to match their growing needs as leaders.

Since 1986, the Fellowship program has awarded more than 600 Fellowships.  Our Fellows are experts who are innovative problem-solvers and visionaries for a sustainable environmental future for all of us.

Spotlight on Leadership

Marissa McMahan: Invasive green crabs are scuttling from dilemma to delicacy
Fellow Marissa McMahan is working with Maine locals and Venetian fishermen to turn the invasive green crab into a gourmet dish known in Italy as moleche.Read more >

A vibrant community of environmental leaders