Elizabeth Cisar

Program Director
Portrait of Elizabeth Cisar

Elizabeth Cisar is the Director of the Environment Program at the Joyce Foundation. She leads the Foundation’s grant making to address three of the region’s critical long-term environmental challenges: climate change, the safety and accessibility of the water we drink and the health of the Great Lakes.

From May 2021 through October 2022, during a leave of absence from Joyce, Elizabeth served as Senior Policy Advisor to Radhika Fox, Assistant Administrator for Water at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. In that role, she provided advice on policy and strategy and supported the implementation of Administration priorities in rulemakings, new policy development, and litigation matters.

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.

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More related to Elizabeth

In The Media

Opinion: Lake Erie is a test for Northeast Ohio and its neighbors; we can ace it

Op-ed by the Foundation's Environment Co-director Elizabeth Cisar, Stephen Love of the Cleveland Foundation, and John Mitterholzer of the George Gund Foundation.

Crain's Cleveland Business


A Year at EPA: Lessons Learned

Environment Program Co-Director Elizabeth Cisar recently returned to the Foundation after serving an 18-month stint as a senior advisor in the Office of Water at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.


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.