Marion Sandler, one of the first and longest-serving female CEOs of a Fortune 500 company and Founding Director of the Center for American Progress, passed away last night. Sandler was a dear friend of the Center, a pioneering woman in finance, a coach and conscience for progressive organizations, and a tough-minded woman of enormous decency who tried to make government and business more responsive to the needs of ordinary Americans.
In each station of her life –from Maine where she was raised, to New York where she was a path-breaking woman in the financial world and met Herb Sandler, to many years in California where they built and ran a highly regarded business and raised a beautiful family together — Marion Sandler lived the American dream.
She gave back her resources and devoted her talents through extraordinary philanthropy. She not only helped launch the Center for American Progress, but gave us our name, and trained us to pay attention to excellence, credibility, and building for the long-term.
Marion also had a well-earned reputation for being tough. Talking to her about a new idea or program often felt like defending a doctoral dissertation, but she could also be incredibly warm, kind and thoughtful. I never left a conversation with Marion without some of her wisdom and charm rubbing off on me. She was a remarkable woman, mother, partner, and friend.
Marion left this world, as she had wanted, having done all she could to expand opportunities for ordinary Americans, particularly the left out and the left behind, so they could lift up their own lives, and receive a better break from the way business and government served them.
We will miss her. We embrace Herb Sandler and their children, Susan and Jim and their families, as they experience this great loss.
For additional information about Marion Sandler’s legacy please visit www.marionsandler.com.