LINCOLN — Rebecca Firestone has been named OpenSky Policy Institute’s new Executive Director following a three-month national search.
Firestone will replace OpenSky’s Founding Executive Director Renee Fry, who has led the organization for the past decade. Firestone comes from a senior role in research and evaluation at the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation and previously worked with the nonprofit Population Services International while teaching at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health in Washington.
Firestone’s research expertise and her passion for advancing policies backed by solid data and analysis make her an ideal fit to be OpenSky’s next director, said Kathy Campbell, President of the OpenSky Board of Directors.
“Rebecca’s combination of skills, experience and managerial qualities will allow her to build on the tremendous momentum that OpenSky has gained over our first decade,” Campbell said. “We are very excited to see the direction she and our amazing staff will take the organization moving forward.”
With more than a decade of experience leading research and evaluation initiatives for the philanthropic and nonprofit sectors to inform public policy in the U.S. and globally, Firestone said it is an honor to be named OpenSky’s next director.
“It is a privilege to have the opportunity to lead an organization that has such a well-earned reputation for solid policy analysis and research,” she said. “I have worked to be mission driven throughout my career and I look forward to continuing that in service to an organization that is dedicated to being a positive force for all Nebraskans.”
Firestone — whose research has largely focused on public health issues — has a Doctorate in Social Epidemiology from the Harvard University School of Public Health; a Masters of Public Health from the University of Washington; and Bachelor’s Degree in Anthropology and Asian Studies from Vassar College.
She will start at OpenSky on Jan. 4.
Fry, who started OpenSky in 2011, will serve as a consultant to OpenSky to help with the leadership transition.
“It is impossible to quantify the impact OpenSky has had on our state under Renee’s leadership,” Campbell said. “The organization far surpassed any expectations that were set for it, and it truly has become a powerful force in helping advance opportunities for every Nebraskan.
“We are grateful for all of Renee’s incredible work and leadership and her assistance with the leadership transition.”