Event Recap

30th Anniversary Celebration

Fellow(s): Lissa Widoff

Each year, the Foundation shares its pride in the success of each Fellow and his or her commitment to environmental improvement through science, policy, research and activism. In 2016 we will celebrate the Foundation’s 30th anniversary and are proud to recognize our long-term investment in supporting the environmental leaders and innovators who have helped us move from the end-of-pipe solutions needed 30 years ago, to the scientific, political and community-based collaborative approaches that are needed for the future. We have long believed in the need for leaders in all spheres – academic, political, scientific, grassroots, and even the business sector to bridge divides that exist within our environmental specialties, with a true systems view of what it takes to achieve positive change in the world today. There is no doubt in our minds that climate change is the preeminent challenge for our time, and we also believe that each issue - be it food systems work, environmental justice, biodiversity conservation or energy and water use, can be a lens through which a more integrated view of environmental change can be envisioned and acted upon.

Over the last 30 years, we have awarded over $14 million in Fellowships and Grants, with $7,350,500 to support 575 Fellowships and over $7 million in 446 grants for leadership, innovation and professional development.  Our Fellows are our greatest asset and we know that this long-term investment strategy in of environmental leaders throughout their careers yields big dividends. They work across the globe and have had significant impact across a range of issues as can be seen in a wide range of press coverage [hyperlink FITN], leadership stories [hyperlink] and grant outcomes we have profiled over the years.

We are committed to cultivating Fellows’ leadership development throughout their careers and support them as experts and innovators. We offer training and community-building that will enhance their personal awareness as leaders and to effectively communicate key messages to policy leaders and other audiences. The Switzer Fellowship Network is indeed a vibrant community of environmental leaders, dedicated to a just and equitable society as well as one that sustains the natural and human systems upon which all life depends.

Our grants to organizations that work with Fellows in leadership positions directly address a wide variety of environmental problems.  We have Fellows in senior positions across the spectrum, from academia to Capitol Hill, who are regularly quoted in national and international press for their expertise.  Senior Fellows provide coaching and mentoring to younger Fellows and each year the Network is strengthened by the commitment of its members.

We look forward to a year-long focus on our Fellows, their accomplishments and the fulfillment of Robert and Patricia Switzers’ intent to make positive environmental change through the Foundation’s support of environmental leaders and scholars.  I am proud to be a Fellow myself and to lead the Foundation towards our vision of seeing our Fellows driving positive environmental change.  Our Fellows will help us meet the challenges of the future, and we will take this year to honor our collective work and commitment.  Stay tuned for celebratory events in the spring.