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Letter from the President and CEO

Dear Colleagues,

It is not every day that a person gets to join such a thoughtful, talented network of strong leaders working on the country’s most pressing problems. But, that is the great fortune I have been afforded, joining the Heising-Simons Foundation as its new President and CEO.

Though I am just a few weeks in and still figuring out my way, one of the very first things I wanted to do was reach out to you—our trusted partners—to introduce myself and to provide as much transparency as possible.

I have been so impressed over the past weeks by the expertise and kindness of everyone I have encountered. I’m particularly struck by your strong sense of purpose and commitment to improving our society and the world in which it sits, be it through educating our youngest learners, strengthening justice and opportunity in the fields of mass incarceration and immigration, protecting people and the planet against climate change, using science to improve our understanding of the world and universe around us, or always finding new ways to build community.

I come to you most recently from the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy, at Harvard, where I was executive director since 2015. Prior to that, I have spent time at the Ford Foundation, the Open Society Foundation, and here in California, leading the Southern California Grantmakers association.

And I come to the Foundation now without a specific change agenda in mind or blueprint, but rather an intellectual curiosity and strategic lens to build upon the very strong work. Our program areas aren’t going away. And we will continue to be committed to listening to you, those closest to the work and issues we care about, and to minimizing burdens on you.

Zooms are (and have been) wonderful, but one of the things I am excited about is meeting so many of you in real life. I look forward to getting a chance to see and listen to you as I join our program staff at events in the future. And, above all, I thank you for the energy, passion, and expertise you bring to our most pressing issues every day.

Sushma Raman
President and CEO
Heising-Simons Foundation

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