Meet The Team.

Tom on the Ice

Sarah Merrefield

Executive Director & COO

Sarah is the inaugural executive director and chief operating officer of the Thomas E. Smith Foundation. Along with the TESF founders, Sarah leads the foundation’s comprehensive growth strategy to advance the organization’s mission to ensure that people affected by paralysis have what they need to live healthy, productive lives and one day find a cure.

Sarah brings over fifteen years of experience developing and managing high-quality grant programs and community health initiatives, Sarah has held leadership roles at two nationally recognized grantmaking foundations: RIZE Massachusetts Foundation and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation. She has successfully led grantmaking endeavors, programmatic strategy, and actionable policy research – notably overseeing a portfolio of grants to expand access to health care and advance racial justice in health during her time with the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation. Sarah was also a member of the community health team at Mass General Brigham where, among other efforts, she managed the Partnership for Community Health, a multi-million-dollar investment in community health centers. She started her career at MDRC, a leading public policy research firm. As part of the program development team, Sarah collaborated with some of the nation’s top philanthropies to build evidence to alleviate poverty.

She received her Bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Vermont and was a recipient of the Barbara Rhodes Memorial Scholarship and the University of Vermont Presidential Scholarship. She is a graduate of LeadBoston, a mid-career, year-long experiential leadership program that focuses on developing inclusive leaders and driving social innovation. Sarah is a Master of Public Health candidate at the Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University.