Kat Cadungog never intended to become the executive director of the Foundation for Environmental Stewardship (FES). In fact, she was ready to help the organization close down.
FES was meant to close in 2020 — it had never operated as a philanthropic foundation, and had been working on a four-year project that was wrapping up. Cadungog was working at the organization in a different role, working on programming for university students, and when the pandemic hit, she took what she called a “covadical” to reflect on next steps for the organization and for herself.
“When they asked me [to become executive director], I had a lot of hesitancy,” she says. “I don’t think things should exist just for the sake of existing.” But at the same time, major philanthropic organizations had begun reaching out to FES, offering support, and Cadungog decided she wanted to
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