Marla Swanson Bio Photo

Marla Swanson

Director of Institutional Giving and Philanthropic Partnerships

For over 20 years, Marla Swanson has worked hand in hand with a multitude of nonprofit and philanthropic partners across the globe to build and fund movements, amplify voices, and catalyze change.

Based in Seattle, Marla works with nonprofit organizations providing expertise and strategic counsel on institutional funding, engagement, and strategic communications. As Director of Institutional Giving and Philanthropic Partnerships for Breakthrough, Marla manages a portfolio of foundation donors and prospects to advance Breakthrough’s work in the U.S. and globally.

Prior to this, as Senior Program Officer for the International Women’s Rights Program at the Open Society Foundations based in New York, Marla worked with women’s and human rights NGOs, fellow funders, networks, and movements around the world. During her 12 year tenure, she successfully built and managed strong, diverse grantmaking and programmatic portfolios, with a particular focus on increasing women’s access to justice, building leadership and movements, and ending gender-based discrimination and violence.

Marla holds a MA in International Policy Studies from the Monterey Institute of International Studies with certificates in Public Administration and Gender and Development. From 1994-1998, she lived, worked and traveled widely in the former Soviet Union/Central and Eastern Europe region, including serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in rural Central Asia.

In her free time, she enjoys embarking on new adventures with her husband and daughter, and partaking in outdoor activities in the Pacific Northwest.