Harold and Ruth Ann Leever created the Leever Foundation in 1991 after decades
of dedicated philanthropy. The Foundation’s mission is to:
Create opportunities for people, especially children,
in greater Waterbury to fulfill their potential
and become productive members of society.
The Leever Foundation Welcomes
Saran D. White as Executive Director
An experienced and mission-driven strategist
The Leever Foundation is delighted to welcome Saran D. White as its inaugural Executive Director effective December 3, 2018. The Foundation is excited to announce that it was successful in its search for an exceptional professional to lead the organization into a new era of innovative grant making and community impact. “We are pleased to welcome Ms. White, an experienced and mission-driven strategist, who will lead the Foundation in its work creating opportunities for people, especially children, in greater Waterbury to fulfill their potential and become productive members of society,” said Andy Leever, Foundation President, and son of the Foundation’s founders Harold and Ruth Ann Leever. “We are confident that Ms. White’s twenty-plus years of experience strengthening the capacity of organizations and systems that increase equity, access and justice in under-resourced communities will benefit Waterbury’s children, youth and families.”
Ms. White notes that “It is an honor to work with the Board of Directors of The Leever Foundation and the greater Waterbury community to cultivate a new chapter for the Foundation that continues to achieve Harold and Ruth Ann Leever’s vision.” Saran has an impressive background in philanthropy, K-12 education, civic engagement and organizational effectiveness, and has worked with renowned nonprofits, foundations and thought leaders to effectively implement innovative strategies through collaborative projects and grantmaking.
Saran comes to Waterbury from the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS). In her position as the Washington, DC Program Director, she directs a multimillion-dollar grants portfolio that focuses on anti-poverty initiatives. Prior to CNCS, Saran directed strategic transformation projects for the DC public school system and served as the executive director of a family foundation working to improve the foster care system. Saran developed and led a groundbreaking, statewide civic engagement initiative in collaboration with the James Irvine Foundation in California.
An avid lifelong learner, Saran has completed several post-graduate fellowships, including the American Express Leadership Academy, the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation entrepreneurship training and the Coro Fellows Program in Public Affairs. Saran holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Wesleyan University and a Master of Public Administration degree from CUNY Baruch School of Public and International Affairs. Saran enjoys hiking, volunteering, black and white photography and exploring diverse cultures through music, food and dance.
Harold and Ruth Ann Leever were vibrant and passionate individuals, grounded by tradition and guided by intense curiosity; this curiosity, in concert with sparks ignited early on, inspired them to lead lives of creativity and innovation. Harold and Ruth Ann informed the values that define the Leever Foundation and how we work with each other and with our grantees and partners:
Stewardship: We are stewards of philanthropic resources for the community’s benefit, and wish to fulfill the founders’ goal of providing creative, rich and engaging opportunities that will improve the lives of children in Waterbury.
Effectiveness: As stewards, we ensure that the foundation’s resources are used prudently, responsibly, efficiently, and effectively. We strive to find opportunities where our resources will spark transformational change. Recognizing that our position as a private foundation enables us to be uniquely creative and nimble, and we seek to find innovative solutions to complex problems.
Responsibility: Our position in the Waterbury community affords us the ability to play a critical leadership role. We will, responsibly and with humility, identify and elevate issues of importance, bring people together to address shared concerns, develop and share knowledge, and objectively advocate for our goals.
Collaboration: We must work in concert with others to achieve our goals. We will engage and convene grantees, community partners, peer funders, local leaders to leverage our collective insight, networks, and resources to catalyze change. We will respect and stay in tune with community partners by seeking their input. We aim to motivate others to work towards achieving a common purpose.
Integrity: We strive to be honest, fair, transparent and ethical in our affairs. We will hold ourselves accountable to the communities we serve. We value continuous learning, recognizing that we do not have all the answers and seek to learn from the experiences of others.
Family: We strive to spark a philanthropic spirit in future generations of the Leever family. We believe that we are stronger and more effective as a foundation when we share and utilize our diverse perspectives. We hope that by working together creating meaningful change in Waterbury, we will enhance Harold and Ruth Ann’s legacy by creating a family culture and tradition of philanthropy, and that we motivate and unify the family to continue this critical work for generations to come.