Eileen Ellsworth to Retire as President and CEO of the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia

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Provided by Community Foundation for Northern Virginia

After nearly two decades, Eileen Ellsworth has announced her plans to retire as the President and CEO of the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia. She will continue in the role until her successor has been selected.

“After 18 wonderful years leading the Community Foundation, I have decided to turn the reins over to the next generation and start a new chapter in my personal and professional life,” said Ellsworth. “I am filled with gratitude for the chance to have served. It has been the professional privilege of my life.”

The Community Foundation for Northern Virginia is in its fifth decade of service to the region. Founded in 1978, the organization has a unique, place-based, community approach to philanthropy. Today the Community Foundation engages in most of the important social and civic ventures in the region. But that wasn’t always the case.

“Since becoming the President and CEO of the organization, Eileen has reinvented and reimagined its work and purpose,” said board chair Catherine Schott Murray. “Through data driven research, conferences and convenings, local advocacy, and numerous other endeavors, the shift from local grantmaker to data driven community leader has been conscious and planned. Today, the Community Foundation has developed a voice and a skill set that is helping the region define, and then act upon, the biggest challenges we face and the greatest opportunities we have.”

During her tenure, the Community Foundation developed The Permanent Fund for Northern Virginia, a collection of several permanent community endowments that today include the Innovation Fund, the Environment Fund, the Ross Roberts Fund for the Arts, the Latino Engagement and Achievement Fund, the Education Fund, the Safety Net Fund, the Military Personnel and Their Families Fund, the Aging Fund, the Mental Health Fund, the Racial Justice and Equity Fund, the Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Fund, and the Child and Youth Development Fund. Today the Permanent Fund stands at $33 million which includes the value of both current and planned gifts. It is the source of most of the Community Foundation’s discretionary grantmaking capacity. As a result, the level of discretionary grants awarded each year climbs with the growth in the Permanent Fund.

Ellsworth also helped define the community leadership role for the organization. “In 2018 the Community Foundation launched Shape of the Region, an annual conference that the Community Foundation hosts in partnership with numerous local anchor institutions that discusses some of the mega shifts and trends across Northern Virginia,” said Bob Kipps, incoming board chair. “And in 2020, the Community Foundation launched Insight Region, its Center for Community Research. In just 3 remarkable years Insight Region has become the go-to place for reliable analytics, stronger community insights, and better outcomes.”

“Eileen’s approach to the community leadership role is a collaborative one,” said Harry Klaff, incoming board vice chair. “As a result, we do nothing alone. Community leadership at the Community Foundation largely means partnership with and support for other local institutions that advocate for mission aligned change. Eileen has done a terrific job of nurturing a sense of shared purpose across the region, which is a significant shift. We will all miss her passion and vision for Northern Virginia.”

The Community Foundation board intends to conduct a national search for its next President and CEO. More information on the search and the opportunity to apply will be announced shortly.



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