SPRINGFIELD — The Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts announced today that President and CEO Katie Allan Zobel intends to transition out of her role, concluding 17 years of service and a decade-long tenure as executive leader at the foundation.
Zobel will continue to serve in her role while engaged in continued succession planning with the Foundation Trustees through September 2022.
“On behalf of the trustees, I want to express my gratitude for Katie’s many contributions to the Community Foundation and to our community. She has led the organization with passion and a deep commitment to its mission and impactful work,” said Paul Murphy, trustee chair. “Under Katie’s stewardship and with the support of her talented and dedicated team, the foundation’s position as the region’s philanthropy hub has been strengthened by the more than doubling of its assets; the building of strong partnerships with donors, institutional partners, and community leaders; and the nearly doubling of its staff capacity. It is without a doubt that Katie is leaving the foundation stronger than it has ever been, which benefits the communities that it serves throughout Hampden, Hampshire, and Franklin Counties.”
Building on the prior accomplishments of the foundation, Zobel has led the foundation through a period of extraordinary innovation, growth, and change. Under her leadership, the foundation launched and directed ValleyGives, which raised more than $10 million through annual one-day, on-line fundraising campaigns for local nonprofits, established new partnerships with state and private philanthropy to expand funding for the region, including the launch of ValleyCreates, a partnership with the Barr Foundation established to support a vibrant arts and creativity sector in western Massachusetts.
The foundation has also supported research on college completion and expanded funding for local colleges and universities through its Western MA Completes initiative. The Community Foundation has distributed more than $13 million through the COVID-19 Response Fund to support community members and nonprofit partners most severely impacted by the pandemic.
“It has been a joy, an honor, and a privilege to serve my community as a member of the CFWM team. I arrived on a three-month temporary assignment that evolved into an amazing 17-years,” said Zobel. “I have had the great good fortune to be connected deeply to an incredibly generous and caring community that gifted me with countless opportunities to work alongside people determined to make the world a better place.
“I am so proud of what we have built together, how willingly we have supported each other during some of the greatest challenges our communities have experienced, and the promise it holds for our future,” she went on. “It’s been quite an adventure and now it’s time for me to hand over the reins to the foundation’s next leader and seek out my next professional adventure.”
A national search for a successor will commence this month under Murphy’s leadership. Last week the trustees elected the firm Lindauer to launch a national search for Zobel’s successor. Lindauer has substantial experience in placing highly qualified candidates in organizations like the Community Foundation.