Leadership Transition at Philanthropy New York

Ronna Brown announced that, after 13 incredible years, she will be stepping down as President of Philanthropy New York at the end of 2020. In her letter to the membership Ronna shared that “Deciding to end my tenure as President was a hard decision to make. The simple truth is that being Philanthropy New York’s President is wonderful. I love this job because of all of you and the daily opportunity to work in partnership to do work that matters.“
Ronna has strengthened Philanthropy New York over the last decade and leaves the organization with a strong foundation: a committed member community, an engaged and talented board and staff, and financial health.

The Philanthropy New York community, members and colleagues came together to reflect on her impact on the PNY community. On behalf of the board, staff, and member community, thank you, Ronna, for sharing with us the gifts of your talents and vision!

Update on CEO Search and Leadership Transition

Philanthropy New York’s Search Committee is wrapping up the search process as we speak. We are excited to share the announcement of the next president with the PNY community in mid-January 2021. Ronna will stay on through the month of January to support the CEO transition.

We thank the Search Committee members for guiding a thoughtful and extensive process to identify a leader poised to build on Philanthropy New York’s strengths and champion our mission and vision in the years to come. The following PNY board members served on the committee:

  • Kenneth Austin, Search Committee Chair; The Wallace Foundation
  • Kyung Yoon, PNY Board Chair; Korean American Community Foundation
  • Neill Coleman, Trinity Church Wall Street
  • Yancy Garrido, The Clark Foundation
  • Jason McGill, Justice Associates
  • Laura Aden Packer, Howard Gilman Foundation

Philanthropy New York’s Board has created a Transition Committee that is meeting regularly with PNY staff and board members to provide guidance and support to staff, board, and members during the transition process. The following current and former PNY board members serve on the committee:

  • Maria Mottola, Transition Committee Chair, the New York Foundation
  • Phil Li, Former Board Chair, Robert Sterling Clark Foundation
  • Mike Pratt, Former Board Chair, The Scherman Foundation
  • Amy Freitag, PNY Board Member, J.M. Kaplan Fund

Leadership Transition FAQs

What steps has Philanthropy New York's Board taken?

In March, Philanthropy New York's board created a search committee to manage and guide the selection of PNY's next President. The search committee includes the following PNY board members: Kenneth Austin (Search Committee Chair); Kyung Yoon (PNY Board Chair), Neill Coleman, Yancy Garrido, Jason McGill, and Laura Packer.

In June, PNY Board Chair, Kyung Yoon shared the progress that the Board has made since being notified in March - from forming a search committee to hiring a search firm, the transition is underway.

The full board dedicated time at their June retreat to discuss qualities sought in a new leader. They also affirmed their desire to build on PNY's strengths and accomplishments as we search for a new leader who will continue to champion PNY's mission of advancing effective grantmaking to build a more equitable, sustainable, and democratic future. Throughout the process, the board will be guided by PNY's organizational values of community, leadership, learning, and equity.

This summer, the search community contracted Koya Leadership Partners to serve as a search firm for this process. Koya began scoping the candidate profile and conducted open discussion sessions to give PNY members an opportunity to share insight through a survey and group conversation. The firm also conducted interviews with board members and gathered input from Ronna and PNY staff through group discussions, one-on-one interviews, and a survey.

What is the timeline for the transition?

Ronna announced to PNY's board in early March that she would step down at the end of 2020. The search committee expects to wrap up the search process by the end of the year, with the new appointee starting in early 2021.

Ronna will be with PNY in January of 2020 to support the transition. Ronna, the board, and PNY staff are committed to making this a smooth transition for members and staff alike.

How will PNY members inform the search process?

Koya Leadership Partners held two-member conversations on the PNY CEO search over the summer. These sessions were open to PNY members to share their thoughts and ideas about the needs and aspirations for the role. If folks were not able to attend the webinar sessions, Koya prepared a survey to gain further insight into the qualities desired in the next president and the key priorities for the organization.

If members have suggestions and would like to share your thoughts with Koya, please don't hesitate to contact Melissa Madzel at mmadzel@koyapartners.com.

Is there a job description? What is the application process?

Koya Leadership Partners has published a job description for the position. If you are interested in applying or sharing the job description, application instructions can be found on the job description page.

Interested candidates can get to know Philanthropy New York's work more deeply in a few different ways:

  • Our Racial Equity Resource page describes Philanthropy New York's commitment to deepening our own learning, and that of our members, about structural racism through our programming and resources shared throughout the sector. The Organizational Equity Work resources and Grantmaking Practice resources are ones we regularly use as an organization and can provide candidates insight into PNY's orientation toward race equity work.
  • Philanthropy New York's Vision, Mission, and Values
  • About PNY Programming
  • Annual Reports and Financial Documents provide more information about the scope of PNY's work and a more detailed description of our annual operating budget.