Elizabeth Martin


Elizabeth “Izzy” Martin, C.E.O.,

is a community organizer and environmental advocate with over forty years of experience working in rural communities to promote economic and environmental justice. She has worked with a wide diversity of constituencies, from Tribal leaders to miners and from farmers to foresters.

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 20043-2004 Izzy was hired by The Sierra Fund to develop organizational programs and do strategic planning. She led the successful lobbying effort to persuade the California State legislature to establish the Sierra Nevada Conservancy, working with Assembly Members John Laird and Tim Leslie in 2004.

Izzy became CEO of The Sierra Fund in December 2004. Since that time she has led the organization. She helped to develop more than $100 million in State funds for conservation in the Sierra, as well as building a significant and strong foundation for The Sierra Fund. She conceived of and led the effort that resulted in the publication of The Sierra Fund’s first report on the impact of the gold rush – Mining’s Toxic Legacy – and has worked for the last decade to implement the recommendations in that report. She led the work, in tandem with the Governor Brown Administration, to successfully pass legislation that resulted in the most significant amendments to the Surface Mining & Reclamation Act.


James Irvine Leadership Award 2016

California Wellness Leadership Sabbatical Award 2016

Bear Yuba Land Trust William Nickerl Award for Conservation Leadership 2013

Nevada County Democratic Central Committee Leadership Award, 2004

Sierra Club Mother Lode Chapter “Uplift” Award 2002

Friends of the River, Conservation Award, 2000

Awarded “Steward of Sustainable Agriculture” at Ecological Farming Conference, 1997

Otorga de Reconociemiento de Liederes Campesinas, 1993

Certificate of Distiguished Service, National Rural Coalition, 1992