Foundation Center President Sara L. Engelhardt
to Retire in 2008
National search to be launched for successor
New York, NY — May 8, 2007. Sara L. Engelhardt, president of the Foundation Center, announced today her plans to retire in 2008. Ms. Engelhardt informed the Center's Board of her retirement plans last year and began working with the trustees on succession planning. Earlier this year, the Board formed a Search Committee and has engaged the firm Spencer Stuart to conduct a national search for her successor.
"I've had the catbird seat from which to observe the extraordinary growth and change in the philanthropic world during the past 20 years and the good fortune to be at the heart of efforts to strengthen the entire nonprofit sector," observed Ms. Engelhardt. "Foundations today are much more transparent, which has helped to build recognition and understanding of philanthropy as a field. I'm proud of the Center's role in that evolution and in making information about philanthropy widely accessible to those who can benefit most. It's been a great organization to work for, my dream job, really. I'm very thankful for the phenomenal support I've received from our Board and staff and from so many colleagues over the years."
Ms. Engelhardt said that the timing is right for a transition. To coincide with its 50th anniversary last year, the Foundation Center rolled out an ambitious strategic plan to expand its services for nonprofits and others interested in organized philanthropy. To support the plan's program initiatives, the Center launched a five-year, $15-million capacity-building campaign. By the end of 2006, more than half of that goal had been raised.
"The Board of Trustees is extremely grateful to Sara for her years of distinguished service to the Foundation Center," said M. Christine DeVita, chairman of the Center's Board. "Under Sara's stewardship, the Center has evolved into an even stronger, more vital organization that is squarely in touch with the needs of philanthropy's stakeholders. She has set the organization on a firm course for the future; her enduring vision of the Center's critical role in advancing knowledge of philanthropy is reflected in the current strategic plan that will take the Center's services to a whole new level in the coming years." The Board, Ms. DeVita added, anticipates a smooth leadership transition in light of the careful planning and the flexibility of Ms. Engelhardt's timing.
Two Decades of Service at Philanthropy's Information Hub
Ms. Engelhardt joined the Foundation Center as executive vice president in 1987, having served on the Center's Board of Trustees since 1984. She was named president in 1991. Since that time, the Foundation Center's annual operating budget has grown from roughly $8 million to more than $20 million.
Among the many accomplishments during her tenure, Ms. Engelhardt has guided the growth of the Center's vast collection of information on organized philanthropy and its migration to electronic media, including the release of its flagship online database, the Foundation Directory Online; the expansion of its research efforts, including its Foundations Today Series and groundbreaking studies on philanthropy's response to 9/11 and the Gulf Coast hurricanes; the establishment of its fifth library/learning center in Atlanta and the growth of its national network of Cooperating Collections from 180 to 330 sites; the launch of its web site in 1994, today offering a wide array of free resources for nonprofits, with 47,000 daily visits, and a year later, of Philanthropy News Digest, the first online digest of philanthropic news; as well as the establishment in 2000 of a new education division, which today offers classroom and web-based instruction to close to 37,000 individuals each year.
For the first half of her career, Ms. Engelhardt was on the staff of Carnegie Corporation of New York. From 1975 until she moved to the Center in 1987, she was secretary of the corporation and managed the foundation's grants, while also serving as the foundation's program officer for philanthropy and nonprofit organizations and for women in higher education and public life.
About the Foundation Center
Established in 1956, and today supported by more than 600 foundations, the Foundation Center is the nation's leading authority on philanthropy, connecting nonprofits and the grantmakers supporting them to tools they can use and information they can trust. The Center maintains the most comprehensive database on U.S. grantmakers and their grants — a robust, accessible knowledge bank for the sector. It also operates research, education, and training programs designed to advance philanthropy at every level. The Center's web site receives more than 47,000 visits each day, and thousands of people gain access to free resources in its five regional library/learning centers and its national network of 330 Cooperating Collections. For more information, please visit foundationcenter.org or call 212-620-4230.
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