Liz Simons is Chair of the Board of the Heising-Simons Foundation, a family foundation that supports a number of issues including reimagined approaches to justice that invest in communities rather than prisons and surveillance, and that promote practices of healing and community accountability rooted in our common humanity. She is also Chair of the Board of the Marshall Project, a nonpartisan, nonprofit news organization that seeks to create and sustain a sense of national urgency about the U.S. criminal justice system. Simons is a founding pledger of One for Justice and an advisory board member of Smart Justice California, in which she regularly lifts up her voice in support of bills and policies that systems-impacted youth are fighting for. Additionally, she volunteers at The Beat Within, a magazine by and for incarcerated youth.
A former teacher, Simons worked in Spanish-bilingual and English as a Second Language classrooms, and subsequently founded Stretch to Kindergarten, a spring-summer early childhood education program. Simons earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of California, Berkeley, and a master’s in education from Stanford University. Simons and her husband, Mark Heising, founded the Heising-Simons Foundation in 2007 and joined the Giving Pledge in 2016, publicly committing the majority of their wealth to philanthropic causes.