About the Foundation

The Robert and Patricia Switzer Foundation is a results-driven family foundation that invests in individuals and organizations that drive positive environmental change. Founded in 1986 by Robert and Patricia Switzer, and guided by Robert’s years as a businessman and innovator, support of emerging leaders committed to solving real world environmental problems is the cornerstone of all Robert and Patricia Switzer Foundation programs.

The foundation is a grantmaking organization that mobilizes leaders from diverse disciplines who focus on integrated solutions to environmental issues. Through our core program, the Switzer Environmental Fellowship, and related grants, the foundation supports a network of nearly 700 Switzer Fellows who are leaders in the nonprofit, public policy, business, academic and government sectors working to solve today’s environmental challenges.

Over $14 million in fellowships and grants have been awarded since 1986. The foundation is governed by a seven member board comprised of family members and environmental professionals from nonprofit, government, academic and private sectors, reflecting the diversity of the fellowship itself and the cross-sector approaches needed to effect positive change. Fellows also serve as trustees and on the Fellows’ Advisory Committee to guide foundation programs and new approaches.

Spotlight on Leadership

Bringing field ecology online
If outdoor learning were a religion, Erika Zavaleta would be among its foremost acolytes. An online ecology course, she realized, could attract students who would never consider taking a class requiring live field trips. By bringing field biology to a broader range of people, Zavaleta hopes the course will help broaden racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic diversity in ecology and environmental studies. “I’m interested in making more ways for people to have an entry point to get interested in conservation, an internship at a reserve, or taking a class with a field component.”Read more >

A vibrant community of environmental leaders