The Nathan Cummings Foundation Welcomes first Chief Impact Officer and Director of Racial Justice, Kristi Cunningham Whitfield

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

The Nathan Cummings Foundation Welcomes the first Chief Impact Officer and Director of Racial Justice, Kristi Cunningham Whitfield

The Nathan Cummings Foundation is pleased to announce that Kristi Cunningham Whitfield will join the Foundation as our first Chief Impact Officer and Director of Racial Justice. In this role, Kristi will help guide and measure our strategic effort to leverage all the foundation’s assets in ways that advance impact toward racial, economic, and environmental justice (REEJ). She will also oversee our racial-justice grantmaking. Her first day is October 11, 2023.

 “I know from first-hand experience that Kristi is a dynamic leader who finds solutions outside the box and approaches her work with curiosity, passion, and integrity. When it comes to carrying forward our strategic plan and relentless pursuit of impact, I can’t think of a more seasoned executive for the job,” says Rey Ramsey, CEO and President.

“It’s an honor to have this opportunity to work with the foundation’s bold leadership to explore what’s not only possible but necessary to advance racial, economic, and environmental justice,” says Kristi. “NCF is on an admirable journey to use all its assets to support some truly incredible work and solutions, and I’m looking forward to embarking on that journey together.”

The through line of Kristi’s career, which spans the nonprofit, for-profit, and government sectors, is social justice and balancing the scales of opportunity. While she has many guiding mantras, one that you’ll hear her often say is “Socio-economic status should never determine one’s access to opportunity.”

Kristi started her career as an advocate for community-based housing and economic development in Boston and Washington, DC. She later expanded to the national level in her role as the coordinator of the $65M National Community Development Initiative for the Enterprise Foundation. Most recently, Kristi served as the Director of the DC Department of Small and Local Business Development, where she oversaw the allocation of over $1B to the small business community, created a $6M fund to support community wealth building through property ownership, and supported business growth for people of color from the city’s most under-resourced neighborhoods.

Kristi also held a senior role with the Women’s Institute for Housing and Economic Development, worked as Director of Field Operations at the Enterprise Foundation. She previously owned the nationally recognized and DC-based Curbside Cupcakes, where she successfully advocated for groundbreaking legal reform as the Founding Chairperson of the DC Food Truck Association. As Kristi would humbly say it, she “went from an affordable housing developer to a baker and business owner to a government director.”

Kristi attended Swarthmore College, where she received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology with a concentration in Black Studies, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she received a Masters of City Planning degree with a focus in Housing and Community Development.


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