June 2024 Alum of the Month: Libby Hubbard Stegger ’04
Hotchkiss Alum of the Month June 2024 Libby Hubbard Stegger ’04

Libby Hubbard Stegger ’04 has spent her career helping nonprofits find collaborative, community-based solutions for their challenges. In response to “the cultural divisions within our country,” she is the founder and executive director of Move for America, an organization that promotes listening while encouraging people to move outside their comfort zones. The nonprofit’s ultimate goal is to catalyze a generation of leaders to bridge divides and strengthen civic dialogue.

Stegger bases her philosophy on something she learned at Hotchkiss. “There is no substitute for community values,” she explains. “Democracy is grounded in civic participation, mutual understanding, and community engagement.”

Her extensive ties to Hotchkiss include her grandfather, the late Sam Hubbard III ’36, P’72, her father, George Hubbard ’72, P’02,’04, and her brother, Ted Hubbard ’02. “Boarding school wasn’t a given for me, but after visiting Hotchkiss, I was struck by the strong academics and clear sense of community. Connecting with peers from different backgrounds expanded my perspective. When we look outward, we see ways the world can be better, if only we set about making it so. Hotchkiss helped me broaden my worldview.”

She found the thought-provoking academics she’d hoped for, but the lessons about civil debate proved to be far more important. “Hotchkiss cultivated a spirit of intellectual discussion that allowed us to disagree without disconnecting. This reinforced my confidence in the value of not only my viewpoint, but also those of my classmates.”

A Hotchkiss history course supported this concept. “Studying history from many perspectives, including from people not in power, profoundly shaped my understanding that there is more than one story to every story, a fundamental principle for genuine empathy. It made me wonder: who else’s story am I misunderstanding?”

While in college at Davidson, where she earned her bachelor’s degree with honors in political science, Stegger interned for a hunger relief organization and gained a real understanding of entrenched poverty in the United States. She went on to Yale and earned an MBA. She started her career working at several other hunger relief organizations, including launching one of the nation’s first SNAP Outreach Programs at the Greater Chicago Food Depository and leading Hunger-Free Minnesota’s strategic grantmaking portfolio to increase access to child nutrition programs. Additionally, Stegger spent five years in K-12 education, working to create more equitable outcomes for students in Minneapolis.

Four years ago, she was increasingly concerned about the impact of political and social division in the country and was compelled into action by founding Move for America. “We don’t have to look very far to see how division is catapulting us into a future few of us want. In a world where we are all constantly plugged in, we are more disconnected than ever,” she said. “Getting people to talk is a first step, but listening is what transforms. We are socialized to be thinking about how to convince each other of something. I like to tell people that in your next difficult conversation, try to reframe your goal—not to win or to change someone’s mind, but to try to gain a deeper understanding of what they believe and why they believe it. You may have then succeeded in opening the door for finding common ground.”

Stegger emphasized that “engaging young people and inviting them to be part of the solution is vital.” Move for America’s mission is to catalyze a generation of leaders to bridge divides and strengthen civic dialogue. The nonprofit offers an immersive fellowship program to equip emerging civic leaders with the skills and experience to bring communities together to find solutions that work for local communities. “It is a learning experience for emerging leaders to move across America’s cultural, political, and geographic fault lines,” she said.

The Fellows are finding common ground. “By getting people out from behind the screen and stepping away from the media cacophony, you find that people may have a different worldview, but they are kind and they care about their community and their country. We still have meaningful differences, sometimes irreconcilable ones. But we can usually uncover common ground.”

Stegger lives in St. Paul, MN, and feels that midwestern culture exemplifies community, care for others, and humility. “I admire the region’s ability to confront itself, wrestling with ways to ensure our core values cohabitate with a transforming world. This has led us to confront some deeply entrenched issues.”

Move for America is an innovation hub. The Fellowship model is informing national service practices around the country, and the organization plans to pilot new program models for high school and college-aged youth to inform the bridging sector in new models to promote civic engagement.

She is reflective as she approaches her 20th Hotchkiss Reunion this weekend. “I recently reread the Hotchkiss mission: ‘cultivate a lifelong love of learning, responsible citizenship, and personal integrity. We are a community based on trust, mutual respect, and compassion, and we hold all members of the community accountable for upholding these values.’ This describes a community I would like my four daughters to grow up in, and it reads like my hope for America, where we balance personal responsibility and mutual accountability, curiosity, and compassion, and we hold ourselves and each other accountable. As the Class of 2004 celebrates our 20th reunion, let’s recommit to these values in our everyday lives.”

Hotchkiss Social

Hotchkiss Facebook
    Hotchkiss Instagram
      Hotchkiss Twitter 
        Hotchkiss Instagram