Bruce McNamer, President and CEO will be leaving the Greater Washington Community Foundation in mid-October. He has been recruited to help build a new private foundation in Chicago and will be relocating there with his young family.
In 2015, Bruce was selected to lead The Community Foundation, a nearly 50-year old organization which has invested more than $1.2 billion to strengthen the region by addressing the greatest needs facing our neighbors and communities. During his four-year tenure, Bruce helped to reinvigorate The Community Foundation with a new comprehensive strategic plan and exciting new programmatic initiatives. He recruited a new leadership team, diversified the Board of Trustees, and invested in improving internal processes and systems. Last year, The Community Foundation mobilized more than $66 million in donor contributions and granted out more than $64 million to a diverse range of causes – including neighborhood revitalization, education, health and human services, arts and culture, workforce development programs, and to reduce income inequality.
Under Bruce’s leadership, The Community Foundation added several vital new initiatives to its existing grantmaking and community leadership programs. The Resilience Fund was created in early 2017 in partnership with the Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer Foundation and several donors concerned about the local impact of changes in federal policies and the increasing climate of anti-other sentiment disproportionately impacting people of color, immigrant, and refugee communities. The Fund has raised and leveraged more than $1 million and made grants to community-based organizations helping area residents affected by changes to immigration and deportation policies. It has also responded to increases in instances of hate and intolerance in the region by supporting grassroots community engagement and expanding anti-bullying and anti-bigotry programs in local schools.
In late 2017, The Community Foundation launched VoicesDMV, a community engagement initiative designed to connect directly with the people and communities it serves to understand their perceptions of the quality of life in the region. The inaugural year included hosting a series of community conversations, focus groups, and an online survey of more than 3,000 people. VoicesDMV found that despite our region’s economic growth, deep disparities in income and opportunity persist and prevent many of our neighbors from accessing the region’s prosperity. The resulting report has been a catalyst for more effective community investments across the region and even influenced The Community Foundation’s shift to a new Building Thriving Communities strategic framework focused on addressing poverty, deepening culture and human connection, and preparing for the future of work.
This year, The Community Foundation joined with Mayor Bowser and the District’s Interagency Council on Homelessness to launch the Partnership to End Homelessness — a multi-stakeholder, multi-million-dollar grantmaking, policy, and investment platform focused on making homelessness in DC rare, brief, and non-recurring. The Partnership will capitalize on the city’s momentum by aligning public and private sector resources and strategies to increase the supply of deeply affordable and supportive housing and to help more of our neighbors transition from shelters into homes.
“My time at The Community Foundation has been special for so many reasons — it was a time to learn from and work with so many wonderful people and organizations; a time to invest deeply in a community that after 20 years I have come to call home; a time to work with colleagues and a remarkable Board to build our institution and our impact,” said Bruce McNamer. “I am proud of the progress we have made toward building a more equitable, just, and thriving region for all. And I am confident The Community Foundation is in a very strong position today with capable and committed staff, donors, and partners to build on the momentum we have created to ensure this critical community impact work will continue.”
The Community Foundation’s Board of Trustees has established a search committee and is in the process of hiring an executive search firm to find a permanent replacement. In the meantime, the board has named Tonia Wellons as The Community Foundation’s Interim President and CEO. While serving as the VP of Community Investment for the past three years, Tonia spearheaded The Community Foundation’s investments in strengthening our region, led the refresh of our grantmaking strategy to focus on Building Thriving Communities, and guided the launch of several new programmatic initiatives.