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Sue Santa

Lecturer; Senior Vice President Public Policy & Advocacy at Girl Scouts of the USA

Sue Santa is one of the nonprofit sector’s leading experts on advocacy, policy, legislative and regulatory issues. Her knowledge of policy, government relations and law is broad and diverse, with professional experience in for-profit, nonprofit and government. She currently consults several nonprofit and for-profit clients on a wide range of issues policy, strategic design and leadership issues. Sue joined the faculty for the M.S. Nonprofit Management, School of Professional Studies, Columbia University, in 2016 as a part-time lecturer. She co-designed and teaches Nonprofit Policy and Advocacy and co-developed a workshop series, Nonprofits & Election 2020: Policy and Advocacy in Action during the National Election Cycle, that ran from November 2019 through early 2021.

Sue served as Senior Vice President for Public Policy and Legal affairs at the Council on Foundations, where she provided executive leadership, vision and oversight for its strategic public policy agenda. She also oversaw the Council’s legal team, ensuring close coordination between legal and policy work.

Prior to joining the Council, Sue was senior vice president for public policy at The Philanthropy Roundtable, where she led efforts to expand philanthropic freedom and enhance discussions of charitable giving and public policy.

Before her work with philanthropic organizations, she spent nearly a decade with NASCAR/International Speedway Corporation, working on government relations, legal and business development. Sue practiced law at a leading D.C. law, government relations and lobbying firm. Her first experience in Washington D.C. was on the staff of United States Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), and she retains her standing in the New Mexico Bar.


  • NOPM PS5350: Policy and Advocacy in the Philanthropic Sector


  • J.D. from Washington University in St. Louis.
  • B.A. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill