MENLO PARK, Calif. – Margarita María Parra, a chemical and environmental engineer and expert on international environmental policy, will join The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation as an officer in the Foundation’s Environment Program, officials announced today.

Parra currently is a program associate at the ClimateWorks Foundation in San Francisco, where she helped develop strategies to reduce carbon emissions in Latin America. For two years before that, she served as a consultant on policy and research for a variety of environmental organizations, including Greenpeace International, the Climate Action Reserve, and Rainforest Action Network, among others. 

 At Hewlett, she will direct the Foundation’s grants to support sustainable transportation, a critical component of the Foundation’s work to reduce transportation-related air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions in the United States, China, Mexico, Brazil, Canada, and the European Union.

“Margarita’s experience makes her an ideal person to manage this portfolio of grants and to help us think through our evolving strategies to combat climate change,” said Tom Steinbach, director of the Environment Program at the Hewlett Foundation. “We’re delighted to welcome her to the team.”

Parra replaces Environment Program Officer Joe Ryan, whose term at the Foundation will end in July. 

From 2001 to 2008, Parra worked in various capacities for ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability, which provides a range of technical services to local governments around the world to help them implement environmental sustainability practices. She started in ICLEI’s Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, office, where she worked from 2001 to 2005, and then moved to the Oakland, California, office from 2005 to 2008. She led initiatives with municipalities in Latin America, India, and South Africa to quantify their emissions and implement different projects in energy efficiency, renewable energy, sustainable transportation, and waste management to reduce their carbon footprint.

Earlier in her career, she worked at Asociación Parque Entre Nubes, a grassroots nonprofit organization in Bogotá, Colombia, where she helped direct projects to improve waste management in that city’s eastern slums.

Parra has a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the National University of Colombia in Bogotá and a master’s degree in environmental engineering from the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand. She also has a diploma in population and sustainable development from the Centre for Development Studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University in Trivandrum, India.

“I very much look forward to joining Hewlett’s Environment Program,” Parra said. “The Foundation’s deep commitment to fighting climate change matches my own, and its commitment to pragmatic strategy make me optimistic we can make a difference.”

About The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation has been making grants since 1967 to help solve social and environmental problems at home and around the world. The Foundation concentrates its resources on activities in education, the environment, global development, performing arts, philanthropy, and population, and makes grants to support disadvantaged communities in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Jack Fischer
Hewlett Foundation Communications Officer
(650) 234-4500 ext. 5744