Sara Watson, PhD, Joins Bainum Family Foundation as Senior Director, Policy

Bethesda, Maryland (May 7, 2019) — The Bainum Family Foundation has named Sara Watson, PhD, as its Senior Director, Policy — a new role for the Foundation that reflects its evolving work in creating sustainable, systemic change for young children in the District of Columbia and beyond. In this role, Watson will lead the creation and implementation of policy advocacy initiatives — ensuring alignment with the Foundation’s mission, vision and strategy and coordination with external partners.

“We want to strengthen organizations, systems and communities through our work so that the benefit for children and families continues long after our involvement — and policy change is a critical piece of that puzzle,” says Barbara Bainum, Chair of the Board, CEO and President of the Bainum Family Foundation. “Sara brings a wealth of experience, and her prowess will be of immense benefit as we work to ensure all children have the resources they need to thrive.”

Before joining the Foundation, Watson was Co-founder and Global Director of ReadyNation and ReadyNation International at the Council for a Strong America. ReadyNation mobilizes business leaders to advocate for investments in children and youth in the U.S. and around the world. She worked with local leaders to create similar organizations in Uganda, Romania, Australia and Brazil.  Previously, she was Vice President for Partnerships at America’s Promise Alliance. She also was Senior Officer at the Pew Charitable Trusts, where she directed their national campaign for quality pre-kindergarten for all 3- and 4-year-olds and also created Pew’s home visiting campaign and its Results First initiative.

Throughout her career, Watson has contributed to more than 100 publications in academic, popular and organization press and has delivered major speeches before state, national and international audiences of business leaders, children’s advocates and policymakers. She is Co-Chair of the Early Childhood Development Action Network’s Advocacy Task Force and was a Business Engagement Advisor for Montgomery Moving Forward.

Additionally, Watson has spent the past 10 years as a Maryland-certified Master Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) and Officer for the Burtonsville Volunteer Fire Department. Watson holds both a PhD and Master’s degree in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School as well as a Bachelor of Arts from Carleton College.


The Bainum Family Foundation combines proven expertise with a passion for supporting the whole child by providing integrated services to help them thrive. Our circle of collaboration includes investments and support in Early Learning, Wrap-Around Support and Knowledge Building. Founded in 1968 by Stewart and Jane Bainum, the Foundation has helped underserved children exit poverty through high-quality educational programs and services for 50 years. For more information, visit


Ann Egan
Senior Director of Communications