Meet Bob

Bob has served as president of the Fetzer Institute since 2013, and during this time, Fetzer has adopted its current mission statement, “helping build the spiritual foundation for a loving world.” This mission reflects the Institute’s view that humanity will never summon the will, courage, and hope to meet the challenges we face until a critical mass of us truly open our hearts in love to each other and the natural world. As part of this work, Bob has also led the development of a movement-building strategy to advance the Institute’s mission.

Before taking up his current post, Bob spent his career working with nonprofit organizations on strategy development, advocacy, program development, governance, and legal compliance. While practicing law in Washington, DC (1979-1986, 1993-2013), he represented a broad range of foundations, public charities, and the Council on Foundations and Independent Sector, the two principal national associations representing nonprofits before Congress and the executive branch. His work included helping to design and lead major national advocacy campaigns involving environmental and health issues and the right of nonprofit organizations to participate in the legislative process.

Bob served on the YMCA of the USA staff from 1986 through 1992. As the YMCA’s first director of public policy, he led the development of the YMCA’s national advocacy program under the banner of “Building Strong Kids, Strong Families, and Strong Communities.” He also led significant national YMCA program development efforts (YMCA Activate America, 2002-2007; and YMCA Achievement Gap Initiative, 2011-2013).

He received his JD from Yale Law School in 1979 and attended Princeton University (AB in Public and International Affairs,1974, Woodrow Wilson Scholar) and Oxford University (BA in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics, 1976, Marshall Scholar).

From 1993 to 2011, he served as a legal and governance advisor to the Fetzer Institute, was elected a trustee in November 2011, and has served in his current post since September 2013.

With his wife, the artist Mary Margaret Pipkin, Bob has three grown sons, two daughters-in-law, and five grandchildren. They spend as much time as they can on their farm in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley.