Elizabeth “Izzy” Martin, C.E.O., is a community organizer and environmental advocate with over thirty years of experience working in rural communities to promote economic and environmental justice. She has worked with a wide diversity of constituencies, from farm workers to small farmers and rural environmentalists.
Izzy was the founding Executive Director of the California Agrarian Action Project in 1980 (renamed the Community Alliance with Family Farmers in 1990). She developed the highly successful California Institute for Rural Studies program to work with pesticide poison victims and to support organic farmers, and helped to draft and pass several pieces of landmark legislation protecting rural communities from pesticides and promoting sustainable agriculture. Izzy worked in administration and project development for the California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation for five years.
Izzy first entered local politics when she was appointed and served two terms on the Nevada County Planning Commission during the 1990’s. Later, while serving on the Nevada County Board of Supervisors (1999-2003), Ms. Martin led the fight in the state legislature to put the South Yuba River into the state’s wild and scenic river program. In 2004 she led the successful advocacy effort to persuade the California State legislature to establish the Sierra Nevada Conservancy, working with Assemblymen John Laird and Tim Leslie.
Izzy became CEO of The Sierra Fund in 2004. Since that time she has helped to develop more than $80 million in State funds for conservation in the Sierra, as well as building a significant and strong foundation for The Sierra Fund. Izzy was recently awarded a James Irvine Leadership Award in recognition of her long and effective work as a leader in California.