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Sara Federlein, Director of Philanthropy

Sara is a member of the Senior Leadership Team, where she collaborates on the conceptualization and operationalization of WITNESS’ strategic vision and helps to define and achieve short- and long-term organizational goals. As the Associate Director of Philanthropy, Sara also oversees all organizational resource mobilization efforts along with the external relations department. She works closely with WITNESS’ program, operations and leadership teams to conceptualize and frame holistic fundraising strategies and identify, cultivate, and manage WITNESS’ portfolios of institutional, governmental, corporate and individual donors, and other strategic allies. Sara also oversees WITNESS’ institutional communications and related video production efforts.

Sara has more than 25 years of experience in nonprofit development, strategic planning, administration, and outreach. She has a background at the intersection of social issues and visual media, and a passion for how stories and images can move hearts and minds and catalyze lasting change. Sara joined WITNESS in 2003 as one of its earliest staff members; since then, she has shepherded a tenfold increase in the organization’s revenue and played a key role in messaging the organization’s programs and vision to external audiences. 

Prior to WITNESS, Sara worked on socially-driven photography books and exhibitions at the Aperture Foundation, including Sebastião Salgado’s “Migrations” project at the United Nations; on community organizing at the Community Service Society of New York around such issues as affordable housing, access to health care, and legal justice; and on grassroots women’s empowerment in Chiang Mai, Thailand. She received a B.A. in English Literature from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and speaks English and basic French.



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