Jennifer Leonard to retire from the Rochester Area Community Foundation
Jennifer Leonard, who has led the Rochester Area Community Foundation as president and CEO for 28 years, announced Thursday morning that she will be retiring in September 2022.
As the region’s largest funder, RACF works to connect philanthropists with community partners in the eight-county region of Rochester-Finger Lakes.
During Leonard’s tenure, the assets of the Community Foundation grew from $ 32 million to $ 578 million, of which nearly two-thirds are endowed permanently. The Foundation distributed $ 34 million in grants and scholarships last year and over $ 547 million since its inception in 1972.
“The mark Jennifer left on this community and on everyone she has worked with will be there for years to come,” said Tom Richards, Chairman of the Board of Directors of RACF. “She has been an exceptional leader who encourages and encourages community-minded donors to tackle difficult issues here at home and skillfully engages community partners to make our region a better place to live, work and educate our children,” Richards said.
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Leonard, a Brighton resident, helped establish the ROC the Future education initiative and served as chairman of the board as well as board positions at the Center for Governmental Research and Causewave Community Partners . She has participated in many community groups, including the steering committee of the Rochester-Monroe Anti-Poverty Initiative, which was established after the Rochester Foundation and ACT published their first in-depth reports on poverty in the region.
Banister promoted to Executive Vice President
Prior to moving to Rochester in 1993, Leonard was vice president of the California Community Foundation in Los Angeles and a national philanthropy writer and consultant.
As Leonard prepares to leave, the Community Foundation has announced that Simeon Banister, its vice president of community programs, has been promoted to executive vice president. and will work closely with Leonard to ensure a smooth leadership transition over the coming year
Banister, originally from Rochester, has served as Chairman of the Greater Rochester Martin Luther King Jr. Commission and sits on the boards of the University of Rochester Medical Center, The Children’s Agenda, Genesee Land Trust and the Congressional Award Foundation. He is a former member of the Rush-Henrietta School Board. He is a graduate of North Carolina Central University and Princeton Theological Seminary.
“The Community Foundation Board of Directors looks forward to working with Simeon in his new role and has unanimously approved this transition plan in support of the Foundation and the community,” said Tom Richards, President of the council.