Robin Kramer is managing director of the Smidt Foundation, whose flagship initiative, Harbor Freight Tools for Schools, she has led over the past three years. Established by the Harbor Freight Tools CEO Eric Smidt, the initiative is borne out of the belief that access to quality education in the skilled trades gives high school students pathways to graduation, opportunity, good jobs, and a workforce our country needs. She brings to this work a varied background in public, private, and nonprofit leadership. Previously, she was commissioner for the Port of Los Angeles and served as chief of staff to two Los Angeles mayors, Antonio Villaraigosa and Richard Riordan— the first woman in the city’s history to serve in this post. She has held senior positions at the Broad Foundation, the California Community Foundation, and the Annenberg Retreat at Sunnylands; she also worked extensively as an independent consultant for a variety of entities focused on advancing access, equity, and engagement in civic life, public education, and the arts. Earlier in her career, she was chief deputy for Los Angeles city councilmembers Richard Alatorre and Bob Ronka, director of the Democratic Party of Southern California, and executive director of two nonprofits (Coro and Reboot). She helped lead several local ballot measure campaigns, including securing broad reforms in the Los Angeles Police Department. A volunteer board member for many community-serving nonprofits over the years, she completed two terms as chair of the Pitzer College board of trustees, and she is currently a member of the board of the John Randolph Haynes and Dora Haynes Foundation. She holds an MA in urban studies from Occidental College and a BA in political studies and journalism from Pitzer College.
Robin M. Kramer