Packard Foundation Announces Ellen Clear as California Communities Director

The David and Lucile Packard Foundation is pleased to announce that Ellen Clear has been named California Communities Director. In this role, Clear will lead the Foundation’s grantmaking to create resilient and healthy communities in Alameda, Fresno, Monterey, San Benito, San Mateo, Santa Clara, and Santa Cruz Counties.  

“Ellen brings significant experience in Bay Area philanthropy and has been a key leader in the local community,” said Meera Mani, VP of Families and Communities. “I value her strategic mindset and deep commitment to the Foundation’s grantee partners and look forward to working together.”   

The Foundation has always been committed to investing locally and establishing partnerships with organizations dedicated to improving the lives of people throughout the region. Clear has been supporting this work as a program officer since 2013. During her time at the Foundation, Clear has managed a portfolio of grant and capacity investments focused on food security, housing stability, and financial resilience for families across five California counties.  

“This is a pivotal time for California and the communities where the Packard Foundation invests. The challenges are real but so are the strengths of community leaders and residents, our nonprofit partners, and the many people working to promote housing stability, healthy environments, maternal and child health, and vibrancy for all Californians,” Clear said. “We’re committed to working alongside California’s strong and resilient communities as they create enduring solutions so all families can thrive.” 

Clear brings deep expertise to her new role with more than 25 years of experience in community-focused philanthropy, including more than a decade serving as a program officer at the Packard Foundation. Prior to joining the Foundation, Clear consulted for nonprofit organizations and Foundations and led grantmaking teams at Silicon Valley Community Foundation and Peninsula Community Foundation. She began her career as a newspaper reporter.  

Clear holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in political economy from the University of California at Berkeley and a master’s in public policy from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.