General News

Reed named new Executive Director of Robert and Patricia Switzer Foundation

BELFAST, Maine -- The Board of the Robert and Patricia Switzer Foundation is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Sarah Reed as the organization’s new Executive Director, effective July 8, 2019.

Dr. Reed will lead the Switzer Foundation in its next phase of growth as it prepares to support and nurture a new generation of leaders across a range of environmental issues, sectors and approaches. She will follow the 20-year tenure of the foundation’s first Executive Director, Lissa Widoff, a Switzer Fellowship alumna who helped the Switzer Environmental Fellowship become a model academic and leadership support program for emerging and established environmental leaders.

“The environmental challenges of today require that we cultivate leaders who are adept at bridging social, economic and environmental concerns and are able to draw on scientific and policy expertise to improve our institutions and environmental quality,” said Dr. Joe Aldy, Board Chair of the Switzer Foundation, Associate Professor of Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School, and a 2003 Switzer Fellowship alumnus. “Dr. Sarah Reed brings the expertise we need at this critical time.”

Dr. Reed is a 2006 Switzer Fellowship alumna and 2011 Switzer Leadership Grant recipient, and an experienced leader with deep expertise in conservation science and community engagement. Dr. Reed most recently served as Director of Applied Conservation Science for the Americas program at the Wildlife Conservation Society, and as an Affiliate Faculty member in the Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology at Colorado State University. At WCS, she led a team of cross-cutting scientists and worked to ensure that wildlife field research was translated effectively to measurable conservation outcomes. Dr. Reed also currently serves as Vice President for Programs of the Society for Conservation Biology.

Dr. Reed received her Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management (ESPM). She is also a recipient of the David H. Smith Conservation Research Fellowship, which supported her to launch an applied research program to investigate the effects of land development and human activities on wildlife and, more recently, on civic engagement in conservation.

“Dr. Reed’s energy and expertise will bring new perspectives to the Foundation’s current initiatives,” says outgoing Executive Director Lissa Widoff. “We are building an inclusive Fellowship Network where Fellows with varied expertise and backgrounds deepen their commitment to a just, equitable and healthy world for all of us. Even in environmental fields we can become isolated in our silos. Dr. Reed will help make our community stronger as we learn to work in an intersectional way.”

Linda Switzer Clopton, a family member on the Board said, “We are confident that Sarah will continue the work we have begun as an organization to support new Fellows and our diverse alumni network of over 600 Fellows. Right now the world needs environmental leaders who can protect scientific integrity and bring their expertise and their voices to make a positive difference in their neighborhood, their watershed or in the halls of Congress.  We are enthusiastic about the ways she will continue to support, develop and guide the work of the Foundation and are excited to welcome her aboard!”

The Robert and Patricia Switzer Foundation is a results-driven family foundation that invests in environmental leadership through fellowships to individuals and grants to organizations that drive positive environmental change. Founded in 1986 and with assets of $19 million, the Foundation is a grantmaking organization that trains and mobilizes leaders from diverse disciplines in the environmental field. Through the Switzer Environmental Fellowship Program and related grants, the Foundation supports a Network of over 600 Switzer Fellows who are leaders in the nonprofit, public policy, philanthropic, business, academic and government sectors working to solve today’s diverse environmental challenges. The Foundation’s values include a commitment to environmental improvement through leadership development, social equity, and positive environmental impact.