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Letter from the President and CEO — Spring 2023

Dear Colleagues and Friends,

The Greenland ice sheet extends more than 600,000 square miles, covering most of the country. It is about four times the size of California and it is melting. The loss from the ice sheet is responsible for a significant percentage of today’s sea level rise. For the past nine years, the Foundation’s Science program has invested in funding research in Greenland to better understand and model these changes. This month, fifteen grantees convened at the Los Altos office to update the Foundation on their work, synchronize their field activities for the months ahead, and to plan a synthesis paper arising from their findings.

It’s been about three months since I joined the Heising-Simons Foundation and during this time, I’ve had the privilege to learn from grantees and leaders working to make the world a better place. The scientists seeking to research the impacts of climate in Greenland, nonprofit leaders protecting the environment and advocating for clean energy, formerly incarcerated individuals working to build more just and peaceful futures, and dual-language teachers striving to create opportunities for the next generation of learners and leaders.  And if I think of what unites them, it’s the connection to the Foundation’s values and it’s their dedication to making the world a better place—whether by focusing on their local communities or learning more about the universe in which we live.

It’s one of the great privileges of being an investor in nonprofits and leaders. And with this privilege, I seek to amplify the values of the Foundation and the qualities of the Foundation’s Board—among those, humility, integrity and courage, and innovation. The humility to realize that our knowledge and resources are part of a broader mosaic of civil society. The integrity and the courage to tackle difficult dilemmas such as mass incarceration in a society that houses 4% of the world’s population and 16% of the world’s incarcerated.

To understand the broader landscape, I hope to continue to join our program teams in the field and connect with you. You’ll also see, in the newsletter and blog, that we now regularly list events (both virtual and in person) hosted by grantee partners in the month ahead. It’s a great way for you to connect with each other, as well.

So thank you for welcoming me and sharing your work, your expertise, and your passion with me. I’m excited about our work ahead.

Sushma Raman
President and CEO
Heising-Simons Foundation

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