General News

Transitioning leadership of the Robert & Patricia Switzer Foundation

Fellow(s): Lissa Widoff

As I greeted the new 2018 Switzer Fellows at this year’s fall retreats, I reflected on the joy and inspiration of the Switzer Foundation’s 32 years of supporting environmental leaders. At the same time, I was reflecting on my own leadership and have decided that it is time for me to till new soil and allow a new generation of leadership to take root and grow at the Foundation. I will be leaving the Foundation by May and a search for my successor has begun. We have engaged with California Environmental Associates to lead the search and the position description and application information is available here

I am terrifically proud of and humbled by my 20 years of experience with the Foundation. We have expanded training and professional development opportunities for Fellows, enhanced the Fellows Network through in-person and virtual learning, and fully divested from fossil fuel companies to better align our programs, investments and values. We have also committed to advance equity and social justice while expanding leadership opportunities for Fellows from a wide range of cultural, racial and economic backgrounds.

It has been easy to follow Robert and Patricia Switzer’s original intent - to support leaders who are problem-solvers, using their wide range of issue expertise, leadership and networks to make a better world for all of us. Environmental improvement is our goal, and the Foundation has expanded its views on how we achieve that, continuing to walk a path that is inclusive, inspiring and a model for others.

The diversity of perspectives, issues, backgrounds and pathways to leadership that we support is the source of our strength. The Switzer Foundation does not limit its grantmaking to one single environmental issue focus, although we do acknowledge climate change as the most urgent issue of our time.  We have always recognized the power of intersections, cross-fertilization of ideas and collaboration across difference, as critical elements to progress on environmental issues.

As a Switzer Fellow (1992), I will continue to be an active member of our Network and look forward to helping us continue to build connection and community. Help us spread the word to find our next Executive Director!

Read the position description and download a copy