Susan Freundlich built her career raising and directing philanthropic dollars to support organizations promoting social justice. Her work has advanced organizations focusing on compassionate caring, healing and justice in a deeply divided world, improving learning and writing in schools and communities, educational opportunity, environmental sustainability, reproductive justice and human rights for all.
Susan has served as a foundation vice president and interim president & CEO, and has held executive director and senior development and communications positions. With experience as both a grant seeker and grant maker, Susan has built long lasting relationships with board members and donors, and strong partnerships with foundations, corporations and legislators. She has led organizations and built staff teams equipped to address major financial challenges when high impact fundraising, fiscal management and growing the bottom line was of utmost importance.
At the Women's Foundation of California, Susan developed giving circles and nurtured community-based philanthropy. She launched and grew two successful donor circles, one working at the intersections of race, gender and human rights to advance critical reforms in the criminal justice system in California, and the other making grants in support of economic justice and opportunity for organizations serving low income women and girls.
Susan served as executive director for Redwood Records, teaming with others to transition the independent label from promoting the work of women artists to a World, Latin, and Folk label, and garnering a Grammy nomination in Latin Jazz. She also served as development director for MADRE for Human Rights.
Often recognized by people who have seen her work as a performance sign language interpreter, Susan is widely acknowledged as one of the primary creators of the bridge building work of making progressive politics, social movements and culture accessible to deaf people through sign language interpretation in concert halls and on theatrical stages. Susan performed and collaborated with Holly Near, Pete Seeger, Ronnie Gilbert, Arlo Guthrie, June Jordan, Linda Tillery, Emmy Lou Harris, the New York Shakespeare Festival and was a member of the Broadway cast of Children of A Lesser God. Her pioneering work won early recognition in the Academy Award-nominated film See What I Say.