Sarah Petrin

Senior Director, Consulting

Sarah Dawn Petrin is the Senior Director of Consulting. She builds relationships and leads the Center for Disaster Philanthropy’s work with clients and partners, providing them with strategic analysis and technical assistance on disaster philanthropy. She represents CDP’s work to key stakeholders within the public sector, community leaders, private corporations and colleagues in the philanthropy field.

Petrin has more than 25 years of experience in the humanitarian sector, managing philanthropic partnerships between nonprofits and major donors. She is the founder and former executive director of Protect the People, a consulting group that advised government organizations on the protection of civilians in conflict zones and established private sector partnerships for disaster response.

Sarah has advised United Nations agencies, the Red Cross and non-governmental organizations in over 20 countries. She has managed emergency programs for refugees along the borders of Afghanistan-Pakistan, Kenya-Somalia, Thailand-Myanmar, Ukraine-Russia, and responded to disasters such as the global Ebola response, Southeast Asian tsunami, Hurricane Katrina and the Haiti earthquake. Early in her career, she served as a legislative aide to US Senator Olympia J. Snowe from Maine. Her book, BRING RAIN: Helping Humanity in Crisis, is a guide to the humanitarian sector for anyone who wonders how to make a difference.

Petrin is also a nonresident senior fellow at the Transatlantic Security Initiative in the Atlantic Council’s Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security. Sarah previously served as the interim vice president of impact and community at the Truman Project for National Security, where she developed partnerships with the private sector to advance the organization’s mission. She also served as a peace operations and human security analyst with the US Army Peacekeeping and Stability Operations Institute, where she provided expert advice to the Department of Defense on humanitarian crises and was a senior civilian advisor to NATO.

Petrin graduated from Oxford University with a Master of Studies in Forced Migration from the Refugee Studies Center and a distinction for her research on post-conflict reconstruction. She also holds a BA in international relations, African studies and French from Gordon College in Massachusetts, where she was a Pike scholar and AJ Gordon scholar.

In her spare time, Sarah enjoys traveling, running and being at the beach.