Sandra Smithey, Charles Stewart Mott Foundation

TITLE: Program Officer, Environment

FUNDING AREAS: Climate change, sustainability

CONTACT: ssmithey@mott.org, (810) 238-5651

IP TAKE: Smithey has a background in public policy, and she's the type who understands that slow and steady wins the race.

PROFILE: A graduate of American University, Sandra Smithey is a program officer for the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation's Environment program, oversees the foundation's grantmaking in international finances for sustainability.

Her bio on the New Rules for Global Finance, where she's a board member, states:

Sandra has an extensive background in public policy related to international development and the environment. Prior to joining the Mott Foundation in 2000, Sandra worked with the Global Environment Center of the U.S. Agency for International Development during the Clinton Administration, providing policy advice on sustainable development issues in numerous multilateral fora. Before Sandra’s work with the U.S. government, she worked for 20 years with U.S. and international non-governmental organizations active on sustainable development issues.

Smithey has been with Mott since 2000. In a Q&A on Mott's own website, Smithey articulated the long-term approach of the foundation's grantmaking in her arena:

Achieving meaningful policy change is often a slow process. Taking the long view with our grantmaking allows us to help build grantees’ capacity, deepen their expertise and increase their flexibility to address policy issues in relevant, timely and lasting ways. 

The importance of this approach is clearly evident in our work related to development finance, where impacts generally unfold over decades. Our commitment to staying the course has helped the field minimize the negative social and environmental impacts of development finance, while  maximizing the positive economic benefits of development in countries that need it most.