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Lisa Seitz-Gruwell

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Lisa Seitz-Gruwell
Photo of Lisa Seitz-Gruwell, smiling
Seitz-Gruwell at Wikimedia Summit 2019
Lisa Seitz

Alma materCarroll College
Occupation(s)President, Wikimedia Endowment
Chief Advancement Officer,
Deputy CEO, Wikimedia Foundation
SpouseStephen "Chris" Gruwell

Lisa Seitz-Gruwell is an American charity fundraising executive. She is President of the Wikimedia Endowment,[1] and Chief Advancement Officer and Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the Wikimedia Foundation.[2] Previously she was Chief Operating Officer for Skyline Public Works, Director of Communications and Public Affairs with the San Francisco Recreation & Parks Department and a San Francisco civil service commissioner. Earlier she was a political media consultant.

Early life and education[edit]

Lisa Seitz was born and raised in Great Falls, Montana. She earned a bachelor's degree in public relations and political science from Carroll College in Helena, Montana. She also studied as a Coro Fellow and at the Stanford Graduate School of Business Center for Social Innovation's Executive Program for Philanthropy Leaders.[3]


Following her graduation from Carroll College she worked in Montana legislative politics in the late 1990s before moving to California.

After her move to the San Francisco Bay Area she worked as a public relations executive for IPG's Weber Group (now part of Weber Shandwick), and in 2001 she served as California Assembly Majority Leader Kevin Shelley's District Director and Press Secretary.

In 2002–2003, Seitz-Gruwell was a political media consultant for San Francisco-based Storefront Political Media, a communications firm known for its multi-channel advertising campaigns.[4] She developed campaign strategy, wrote media plans and messages for candidates for public office at all levels of government including Gavin Newsom for mayor of San Francisco; wrote and produced political television, radio, Internet and print advertising; created fundraising plans and developed and managed multi-million dollar campaign budgets; and secured media coverage and briefed candidates prior to interviews and editorial board meetings.

From 2003 to 2007 Seitz-Gruwell served as the Chief Operating Officer for Skyline Public Works LLC,[5] an investment advisory firm led by Andrew S. Rappaport and his wife Deborah which blended venture capital with political philanthropy and provided administrative and grant making support to the Rappaport Family Foundation, a private foundation founded by the Rappaports in 2002. At Skyline Public Works, Gruwell directed political and philanthropic giving for Andy Rappaport, totaling $5 to $7 million a year. She managed all communications and media relations for the foundation; helped set the strategic direction for the political fund and the Rappaport Family Foundation; and managed the staff, operations and programs of both entities. Skyline Public Works functioned as a venture-capital-style business incubator, in which groups that the political donors funded got office space, business advice, and capital. The Rappaports placed bets on untested organizations in the hope that eventually one of them would become the new thing that nudged America leftward.[6]

From 2008 to 2011 Seitz-Gruwell worked as a consultant with Gruwell and Associates, a management consultant group whose clients included Democracy Alliance, Rappaport Family Foundation and Skyline Public Works, Current TV, and the Wikimedia Foundation.[7]

Seitz-Gruwell was Director of Communications and Public Affairs with the San Francisco Recreation & Parks Department from November 2008 to January 2010. She was appointed by mayor Gavin Newsom to San Francisco's civil service commission on August 3, 2010, a seat she held until August 30, 2011.[3]

Seitz-Gruwell joined the Wikimedia Foundation in September 2011 as the Development Director in the Community Department led by Zack Exley, tasked with developing sustainable support for the Foundation by driving high-dollar fundraising efforts.[8][9] In July 2013, after Exley transitioned from Chief Revenue Officer to part-time consultant, she was promoted by then-CEO Sue Gardner to the position of Chief Revenue Officer.[10] In March 2015 she was named Chief Advancement Officer, leading the newly created Advancement Department.[11][12] In September 2022 Wikimedia CEO Maryana Iskander added the role of Deputy to the CEO to her responsibilities.[13]


From her Skyline Public Works desk overlooking Broadway in Redwood City in 2005, Seitz-Gruwell told SFGATE that each SPW-funded organization would work to galvanize the progressive movement as a whole, creating a unified sense of purpose that's been lacking from progressive politics for decades. Gruwell noted that SPW had yet to fund anyone over 40. "We're all about supporting people who want to take the progressive movement places."[14] In a 2006 interview with Matt Smith of the alternative newspaper SF Weekly, Seitz-Gruwell said "Conservatives have developed ideas, a noise machine, with conservative think tanks and organizations that support the conservative cause. Democrats don't have that kind of support".[6]

When the Wikimedia Endowment was announced at Wikipedia's 15th birthday party in January 2015, Seitz-Gruwell said "We have a great fundraising model right now, but things on the Internet change so it's not something we can count on forever. Wikipedia is a pretty rare thing, and the endowment is there to ensure this cultural treasure will never go away."[15]

In 2018 Seitz-Gruwell told TechCrunch that while Wikipedia’s content is free to use by all, some companies were exploiting the organization by not reciprocating.[16][17] In October 2021 the Wikimedia Foundation launched Wikimedia Enterprise, a new commercial product for large-scale reusers and distributors of Wikimedia content. Gruwell said "As people and companies increasingly seek to leverage its value, we created Wikimedia Enterprise to address the growing number of ways people encounter Wikipedia content outside of our sites and further support our free knowledge mission. The product meets the growing needs of commercial content reusers, making it easier for people to discover, find, and share content from our sites, while also providing commercial companies an avenue to support and invest in the future of Wikimedia's knowledge ecosystem."[18]

Personal life[edit]

Seitz-Gruwell is married to Chris Gruwell, a longtime San Francisco lobbyist and political fundraiser who in April 2022 was appointed by California governor Gavin Newsom to the California State Athletic Commission.[19][20] They live in San Francisco.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ At-Large Directors for the Wikimedia Endowment Board, Wikimedia Endowment
  2. ^ Office of the Chief Executive Officer, Wikimedia Foundation
  3. ^ a b Annual Report Fiscal Year 2011–12 (PDF), Civil Service Commission, City and County of San Francisco
  4. ^ Official website, Storefront Political Media
  5. ^ Who We Are, Skyline Public Works, archived from the original on January 25, 2007
  6. ^ a b Smith, Matt (February 15, 2006), "Greening the Left", SF Weekly
  7. ^ Lisa Seitz Gruwell, LinkedIn
  8. ^ Staff and contractors, Wikimedia Foundation
  9. ^ Job openings/Development Director, Wikimedia Foundation
  10. ^ Garner, Sue (July 29, 2013), Changes to the Wikimedia Foundation Fundraising Team, Wikimedia Foundation
  11. ^ Seitz-Gruwell, Lisa (March 27, 2015), Wikimedia Foundation welcomes Kourosh Karimkhany as VP of Strategic Partnerships, Wikimedia Foundation
  12. ^ "Advancement department to be created at the Foundation, milestone fixes", The Signpost, April 8, 2015
  13. ^ Iskander, Maryana (September 6, 2022), Nine Month Update & Foundation Leadership Team
  14. ^ Villano, Matt (November 18, 2005), Redwood City incubator nurtures fledging organizations from around the country with progressive politics, SFGATE
  15. ^ Liedtke, Michael (January 14, 2016), Wikipedia gets another source of cash for 15th birthday, Phys.org
  16. ^ Heater, Brian (March 24, 2018), Are corporations that use Wikipedia giving back?, TechCrunch
  17. ^ Binder, Matt (March 16, 2021), Wikipedia wants to charge Google, Amazon, and Apple for using its content, Mashable
  18. ^ Wikimedia Foundation launches Wikimedia Enterprise, Wikimedia Foundation, October 25, 2021
  19. ^ Matier, Phillip; Ross, Andrew (August 23, 2010), News, SFGATE
  20. ^ Governor Newsom Announces Appointments, April 28, 2022

External links[edit]