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Sun Valley Institute Names New Director
Sunday, May 31, 2020


Lexie Praggastis has been named the new executive director of the Sun Valley Institute, succeeding the organization’s founding executive director Aimee Christensen.

Christensen will continue to support the organization as Board President.

Praggastis, a Sun Valley native, studied Biochemistry at Colby College before earning a graduate degree in Chemical and Life Sciences from the University of Maryland at College Park. She also completed a Masters of Business Administration in Sustainable Systems from Pinchot University.

She has taught at The Sage School and Sun Valley Community School and coached for the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation. She spends her spare time hiking the valley with her husband John, two children and their dog.

Praggastis has been with the Institute team since 2017. The nonprofit was founded in 2015 to support community efforts towards resilience.

The Institute has also added new board members:

  • Brian Bean, co-founder of Lava Lake Institute, Lava Lake Land & Livestock and Lava Lake Lamb
  • Kim Pertel of the Stillwater Foundation
  • Scott Pertel of Cold Summit Development.

The Institute has convened global thought leaders and changemakers at its annual Sun Valley Forum. It also has organized such efforts as Solarize Blaine, the first solarize program in Idaho. The year-long program increased solar in Blaine County by 500 percent in one year.

It also was behind RevUp Blaine, which quintupled the number of electric vehicles in Blaine County, and the Local Food Alliance whose vision for a regenerative agriculture future in Idaho is a semifinalist for the Rockefeller Foundation’s Food System Vision Prize.

Currently, during the pandemic, it is coordinating the Blaine Recovery Committee, guiding the launch of the website and Spanish language video interview series titled Viva Bien 5B.

Its Food and Farm Program has publicized food resources with the community since the start of the pandemic.

Christensen noted that the Institute was founded to address threats impacting Sun Valley’s quality of life from catastrophic wildfires and water shortages to energy insecurity.

“For five years our team has worked tirelessly, developing model local programs and convening global leaders to create a more resilient community and world,” she said “Under Lexie’s leadership, the Institute will continue to lead, building on its foundational work to meet current needs and grow for the future, mobilizing resources to build back better after the impacts of COVID-19.”

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