Gretchen Cummings

Position

Mentor in Residence, MPA Program

Bio

Gretchen Cummings (she, her, hers) is a nonprofit manager and leader with almost thirty years’ experience driving innovation, impact, and organizational effectiveness in the social sector. Most recently, she was managing director in the professional services division of American Institutes for Research, one of the world’s largest social science research and evaluation organizations. She led teams working on quality assurance, program innovation, business development, and knowledge management. 

Earlier, Gretchen was director of planning at WestEd, maintaining the organization’s focus on mission, outcomes, equity, and culture even as the organization tripled in size. In other past projects, she designed a state-wide, public-private, rural civic engagement program; advised a family foundation, transforming its grantmaking strategy; and helped a community group develop a safehouse for victims of human trafficking. At present, Gretchen is preoccupied with UNSDG 15 and the nonprofit sector’s role in protecting biodiversity and terrestrial ecosystems.  

A Presidio Graduate School alum, Gretchen earned an MBA in sustainable management, served on the PGS Board of Directors, and co-taught Capstone in the early years of the MPA program. She also earned a master’s in public policy at Harvard Kennedy School and a bachelor’s in history and African studies at Princeton University.