Lisa Marsh Ryerson, President
Lisa Marsh Ryerson is president of AARP Foundation, AARP’s largest affiliated charity. Leading the organization since the fall of 2013, she is responsible for setting the Foundation’s strategic direction and leading its social impact initiatives. She also serves on AARP’s Executive Leadership Team.
Ms. Ryerson joined AARP Foundation after serving for 18 years as the president and CEO of Wells College in Aurora, New York. Her many accomplishments there include increasing enrollment by 45 percent, fueling the economic revitalization of the surrounding community, and launching an endowed Center for Business and Entrepreneurship.
The innovative leadership she demonstrated at Wells has also characterized her work at AARP Foundation, whose stated mission is to create and advance effective solutions to help vulnerable older adults meet their basic needs. Under her leadership, the Foundation has embarked on new relationships with dynamic organizations to deliver innovative solutions for older adults struggling with insufficient income, food insecurity, inadequate housing and social disconnectedness. A multiyear collaboration with the Miami Dolphins, announced in 2014, draws on the strengths of the Foundation and the Dolphins to meet the needs of the local community and also shine a national spotlight on the plight of older Americans. Such collaborative efforts are the hallmark of Ms. Ryerson’s approach to the Foundation’s mission.
Other achievements during her first year at AARP Foundation include a $3 million grant from the Social Innovation Fund to increase the impact of the Foundation’s Back to Work 50+ program that helps the long-term unemployed find employment; the release of a ground-breaking report on the state of housing for America’s older adults; and implementing the Foundation’s new “innovation pipeline,” an approach that applies business-world rigor to new ideas about the most effective ways to help the low-income 50+.and the establishment of an “innovation pipeline” within the organization to find the next new initiatives and programs to meet the needs of the vulnerable 50+.
Ms. Ryerson holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Wells College and a master of science from the State University of New York College at Cortland. She received an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from the State University of New York at Albany for having “met and exceeded each of John Quincy Adams’ standards for leadership.”
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