Executive Director, Pritzker Foster Care Initiative
Winnie Wechsler is executive director of the Anthony & Jeanne Pritzker Family Foundation, which for over a decade has been investing in strengthening many of the unique institutions that define Los Angeles. The Foundation aims to enrich our community not just for the present, but for generations to come, with particular focus on medicine, higher education, the environment, and the arts. In 2014, the foundation launched Pritzker Foster Care Initiative to highlight its commitment to supporting transition age foster youth and the families that care for them.
Winnie’s interest in the potential of technology to improve child welfare stems from her decades of experience in both the public and private sectors. Before joining the Foundation in 2012, Ms. Wechsler served as executive director of Phoenix Houses of California, a substance abuse treatment and mental health services organization, for nine years. Before working in non-profit management, Ms. Wechsler worked for twenty years in media and communications, including serving as a senior executive at The Walt Disney Company for 14 years. While at Disney, she headed up new business development for the Disney Channel and started up and managed Disney.com. In 1999, she left Disney to launch Lightspan, an education technology start-up that she helped take public in 2000.
Ms. Wechsler is a board member of Foster Care Counts, a non-profit started by Jeanne Pritzker, which helps raise awareness and serve the needs of foster youth and families in Los Angeles. She has lived with her family for over 20 years in Santa Monica, where she is a commissioner on the City of Santa Monica’s Social Service Commission and a member of the Executive Steering Committee of Community for Excellent Public Schools. She holds a BA from Wellesley College in Russian Studies and an MBA from The Wharton School of The University of Pennsylvania.