Council on Foundations Launches Executive-in-Residence Program, Names Sharon Alpert as First Resident

Monday, August 9, 2021

The Council on Foundations today announced the launch of an executive-in-residence program to support its new strategic direction. The program will leverage the expertise of executive-level leaders to shape new areas of work that advance the Council’s long-term goals of supporting philanthropy to be a trusted partner in advancing the greater good.

Sharon Alpert, former President and CEO of the Nathan Cummings Foundation, will be the first executive-in-residence. Ms. Alpert will focus on further developing a key area of the Council on Foundation’s new strategic direction: building common ground.

“I am excited to join the Council at this particular moment in time,” said Ms. Alpert. “Philanthropy is at a critical juncture as we examine how we must do better to bridge divides so that we can act together to advance the greater good.  I am inspired by the Council’s dedication to creating space for funders to listen to each other, challenge their perspectives, and collaborate to create positive change in our communities.  I believe, now more than ever, that it is the only way we will make progress on the most pressing challenges facing our world.”

Ms. Alpert brings with her over 25 years of experience in philanthropy, the non-profit, and private sectors and a proven commitment to working in deep partnership with leaders and movements to drive social change.  As President and CEO of the Nathan Cummings Foundation from 2015 to 2020, she advanced a vision of philanthropy that uses all of its resources for impact, including a groundbreaking decision to align 100% of its endowment with its mission.  Previously, she served as the Vice President of Programs and Strategic Initiatives at the Surdna Foundation and also worked at the Ford Foundation to advance environmental justice and community and economic development at the local and national level in diverse geographic regions of the country.

Participants in the executive-in-residence program will be embedded within the Council for six-to-12-month assignments, during which time they will work with Council staff to lay the groundwork for new bodies of work and strategic initiatives. The Council hopes to host two to four executives per year over the next 5 years.

“The executive-in-residence program provides an opportunity for the Council to leverage the incredible talent that exists in our field to advance our vision of supporting philanthropy to be a trusted partner,” said President and CEO Kathleen Enright. “We are thrilled to welcome Sharon Alpert as our first executive-in-residence. Her past field leadership, strong trusting relationships and track record of building unlikely alliances will help the Council engage our diverse membership to take action on the big issues that will help move us forward as a society.”

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About the Council on Foundations

The Council on Foundations exists to help philanthropy be a trusted partner in advancing the greater good. Building on our 70-year history, we are charting a course where funders earn and maintain the public's trust by advancing equity, operating with high integrity, collaborating on broadscale challenges and serving as ethical stewards. Learn more about the Council and becoming a member by visiting www.cof.org.