Francis to Step Down as President and CEO Next Year from Essex County Community Foundation

Essex County Community Foundation President and CEO Beth Francis. (Courtesy photograph.)

Essex County Community Foundation will begin the search for a new leader as President and CEO Beth Francis plans to step down next June.

Francis has served the organization, which manages charitable funds and provides training for nonprofits, for eight years—six as its leader. In a statement, the organization said “Francis is ready to spend more time with family and pursue longtime personal interests.” Board Chair Dick Sumberg said Francis has played a critical role in the development and success of the organization.

“Under Beth’s leadership, there’s been a significant increase in charitable contributions across the 34 cities and towns of Essex County and a rise in the number of community members partnering with ECCF to strengthen the region,” said Sumberg.

During her tenure, the statement added, the foundation “has also expanded its commitment to helping nonprofits build their networks and capacity. And during the 2018 Merrimack Valley gas explosions and the COVID-19 pandemic, Francis’ steady and thoughtful leadership empowered ECCF to make an impact in Essex County in bigger ways than ever before.”

“My time with ECCF has been the most rewarding years of my career, so finding the right moment to step back from this incredible organization was never going to be easy,” said Francis. “I have every confidence that, alongside a new leader and with the sustained support of this extraordinary community, ECCF will continue to grow stronger and expand its positive impact across the region,” she added.

Francis is credited with more than doubling the charitable assets for community impact to $128M; delivering $113 million in philanthropic resources to nonprofits and students over eight years; deploying $24 million in relief and response during the 2018 gas explosions in the Merrimack Valley, helping to support nearly 15,000 people and businesses impacted; raising and delivering $16 million in COVID-19 crisis response resources; and leading the development of the foundation’s first-ever racial equity strategy and Racial Equity and Social Justice Fund to more effectively fund organizations advancing equity in our region.

A search committee of five board members is currently interviewing a select list of consultants to conduct the search for Francis’ successor.

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