Elizabeth Cisar

Program Co-Director
Portrait of Elizabeth Cisar

Notice: Elizabeth is on leave. Effective May 24, 2021, she will be serving for one year as a senior adviser in the Office of Water at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, returning in May of 2022. In her absence, the Foundation’s Great Lakes and Drinking Water portfolio will be managed by Molly Flanagan

Elizabeth Cisar is a Co-Director of the Environment Program at the Joyce Foundation. She leads the Foundation’s grant making on drinking water and Great Lakes issues. The goal of the Foundation’s water portfolio is to ensure all people in the Great Lakes region have clean water from lake to tap by supporting policy to address threats, improve infrastructure, and remedy water disparities in communities of color. Elizabeth co-chairs the Great Lakes Funders Collaboration and serves as a Liaison for the Environmental Health Matters Initiative at the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine.

Before joining Joyce in 2015, Elizabeth was Environment Program Director at the Crown Family Philanthropies, Director of Land Conservation Programs at Grand Victoria Foundation, and the Director of the Great Lakes Office of The Conservation Fund. In those roles, Elizabeth worked with landowners to protect land for hunting, fishing, parks, and recreation and developed voluntary programs to protect clean water. An attorney, Elizabeth also has practiced law in the nonprofit and commercial sectors. She clerked for Judge William J. Bauer on the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. Elizabeth holds a J.D., magna cum laude, from Northwestern University, and a B.S. in Marine Science and Biology from the University of Miami.

More related to Elizabeth


The Joyce Foundation received the 2022 CGLR Great Lakes Changemaker Award

The Joyce Foundation received the 2022 Great Lakes Changemaker Award from the Council of the Great Lakes Region.


Foundation’s Cisar to advise EPA on water

The Foundation is excited to announce that Elizabeth Cisar, co-director of our Environment program, has been invited to serve for a year as a senior advisor in the Office of Water at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).


Op-Ed: Water Must be Part of Our COVID Recovery

Pandemic creates opportunity for practical, achievable upgrades to our water systems.