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Our 2018 Civic Spirit Awardee

Carol Thompson Cole

President and CEO, Venture Philanthropy Partners

Carol Thompson Cole is President and CEO of Venture Philanthropy Partners (VPP), a philanthropic investment organization that makes the future brighter for young people living in Greater Washington by tackling the largest barriers to their success and forging partnerships that bring the expertise, passion and reach necessary to achieve life-changing results.

Under Cole’s leadership for the past 10 years, VPP aligns resources and actions to strengthen nonprofits to serve more youth. VPP’s philanthropy uses its convening power to work across sectors to create systemic change to help more young people succeed in school and gain the skills and confidence to attend college or start their career.

Prior to VPP, Cole served in a wide range of leadership and management roles in both the public and private sectors. She served as Special Advisor to President Clinton on the District of Columbia and Executive Director of the DC Inter-Agency Task Force. Prior to serving in the Clinton administration, she was the Vice President for Government and Environmental Affairs at RJR Nabisco. Cole spent 12 years holding major management and staff positions in DC government, most notably as the only woman appointed as City Administrator.

She is a member of numerous boards, including the Raise DC Leadership Council, the Greater Washington Advisory Board of SunTrust, the Kaiser Permanente Regional Advisory Board, the Federal City Council, and the Board of Trustees of Friendship Public Charter School. She also serves as a Lifetime Trustee of the Urban Institute. Cole has been recognized for her outstanding leadership and dedication to the region through service in government, business and the social sector.

Cole earned a B.A. from Smith College, a master’s in public administration from the Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service at New York University, and attended the Senior Executives in State and Local Government Program at Harvard University.