- Policy Platforms
The Western Governors’ Foundation is the philanthropic arm of the Western Governors’ Association. Focusing on youth leadership and the arts, the foundation is committed to building upon the legacy of Western Governors through charitable works in our region.
If you would like to contribute to the Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization, please contact Sarah Olsen at firstname.lastname@example.org
All contributions to the Western Governor's Foundation are distinct from the Western Governor's asssociation, and go solely to the Foundation's projects and philanthropies.
The Western Governors’ Foundation supports the following:
After a successful launch at WGA’s 2022 Annual Meeting, The Western Governors' Leadership Institute is excited to announce that the application window for the second class of delegates will open on Nov. 14.
Designed to recognize and reward the effective exercise of leadership by young adults across the West and to promote and encourage its future development, the program will select leaders to represent every state in WGA’s footprint at its 2023 Annual Meeting on June 25-28 in Boulder, Colorado.
Prior to the Meeting, the delegates will also participate in the Institute’s leadership development forum with influential thought leaders from around the region. The Foundation will cover all expenses associated with delegate participation. Read about the delegates’ experiences from the inaugural Western Governors’ Leadership Institute here, and learn more about the program by watching our video.
The Western Governors’ Foundation is proud to manage Celebrate the West, a regional art competition that challenges high school students to create works inspired by their state. The annual visual arts challenge, which launched in 2016, is open to high school students in the states and territories served by WGA. Winning artists receive cash prizes and their work is displayed at WGA’s Annual Meeting and on the association website.
The Western Governors’ Foundation (WGF) and Americans for the Arts are partnering on a new initiative focused on promoting the arts and healthy living in the West. As communities cope with the long-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, addressing well-being — physical as well as mental — has taken on greater importance. Research shows that engaging with the arts can have a beneficial impact on well-being, and the work that WGF and Americans for the Arts will do together seeks to leverage those benefits for residents of rural and underserved communities in the western United States. The initiative encompasses two programs — one focused on culinary arts and the other on creative ageing, designed to be delivered in a hybrid fashion that combines virtual programming with socially distanced, in-person opportunities and to serve a combined total of approximately 2,600 people across the West.
Dennis Daugaard, Chair
Dennis Daugaard was elected South Dakota’s 32nd Governor in 2010 and served until 2019. Previously he was a lawyer, banker and development director for a nonprofit organization. He also served as a state senator and the state's 37th lieutenant governor. As WGA Chair, Governor Daugaard launched the Western Governors’ Workforce Development Initiative, which sought to create enhanced career opportunities by bridging the gap between prospective workers and employers in the West.
Governor David Ige, Vice Chair
David Ige was elected Hawaii’s 8th governor in 2014 and reelected in 2018. He began his political career in 1985 after being appointed to fill a vacant seat in the Hawai‘i House of Representatives. In 1994, then-Representative Ige was elected to the Hawai‘i Senate and served until 2014. As WGA Chair, Governor Ige launched the Western Governors' Biosecurity and Invasive Species Initiative to focus on the impacts that nuisance species and pathogens have on western ecosystems, forests, rangelands, watersheds, and infrastructure, as well as how biosecurity can address risks posed by invasive species.
James Ogsbury, President
Jim Ogsbury, born and raised in Arizona, has extensive experience with the issues that are important to the region. Prior to joining WGA in 2012, Jim served as legislative director for the League of Arizona Cities and Towns. A graduate of Harvard College and Arizona State University College of Law, Jim also has served as the clerk and staff director for the U.S. House Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development.
Brian Sandoval, Director
Brian Sandoval was elected Nevada's 29th Governor in 2010 and served until 2019. Previously he served as Nevada’s Attorney General and Chairman of the Gaming Commission of Nevada. He is now President of Global Gaming Development for MGM Resorts International and a Distinguished Fellow in Law and Leadership at the UNLV William S. Boyd School of Law. As WGA Chair, Governor Sandoval launched the Western Governors' Drought Forum, which provided a mechanism for states to share best practices and policy options to prepare for and mitigate drought in the West.
Matt Mead, Director
Matt Mead was elected Wyoming’s 32nd Governor in 2010 and served until 2019. The native of Jackson previously earned a J.D. degree from the University of Wyoming College of Law, practiced private law and served as a county prosecutor. He was appointed U.S. Attorney for the District of Wyoming in 2001. As WGA Chair, Governor Mead launched the Western Governors’ Species Conservation and Endangered Species Act Initiative to promote the role of states in species conservation and improve the efficacy of the Endangered Species Act.
Steve Bullock, Director
Steve Bullock was elected Montana’s 24th governor in 2012 and served until 2021. The Montana native served as Attorney General of Montana prior to his time as Governor. As WGA Chair, Governor Bullock launched the Western Governors’ National Forest and Rangeland Management Initiative, which produced administrative and legislative recommendations to reform federal wildfire budget practices, advance landscape-scale restoration projects, and strengthen markets for forest products and rangeland goods and services.
Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, Director
Michelle Lujan Grisham assumed office as the 32nd Governor of the state of New Mexico in 2019. The 12th generation New Mexican grew up in Santa Fe and is the first Democratic Hispanic woman to be elected Governor in U.S. history. Prior to her election as Governor, she served three terms in Congress, as a cabinet secretary for three different New Mexico Governors, and as a Bernalillo County Commissioner.
Scott Pulsipher, Director
Scott Pulsipher currently serves as President of Western Governors University (WGU), leading all academic and organizational affairs. Prior to assuming the presidency of WGU, Pulsipher earned his MBA from Harvard Business School and worked for several high-profile businesses including Amazon and Sterling Commerce. He serves on a number of higher education and technology boards including as Education Co-Chair for the Committee for Economic Development and a member of the Executive Committee on the Taskforce on Higher Education and Opportunity.