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More changes at ZSR – Vermillion named program officer

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By Todd Cohen

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Staff turnover continues at the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation in Winston-Salem.

The $500 million-asset foundation, which this year will lose two long-time top officers, is losing one of its program officers and has named another.

Peter Tavernise, a program officer for the past two years, has resigned to take a job with the Research Triangle Institute in Research Triangle Park.

At the same time, Joy Vermillion, a former fellow at the foundation who was asked to stay on for a second year – which she just has completed – now has been named a program officer.

That move follows the resignation this spring of Joe Kilpatrick as assistant director after 20 years at the foundation and the earlier announcement by Tom Lambeth that he was retiring after 22 years as the foundation’s executive director.

Lambeth has agreed to work through the end of the year. Kilpatrick, who will be working with the all-volunteer Human Service Alliance, has agreed to continue working for the foundation on a part-time basis through the end of the year.

Superior Court Judge Tom Ross of Greensboro, who has been named the foundation’s new executive director, won’t begin work until January.

Valeria Lee, a 15-year employee who is the foundation’s other program officer, plans to stay at the foundation. Her focus has been on issues involving women, minorities and rural communities.

Tavernise, who at Reynolds has focused on urban sprawl, migrant workers, technology and organizational issues at foundations, previously was assistant director for corporate and foundation relations in the development office at Duke University.

He will join RTI’s center for economic research, effective Aug. 1. His initial assignments at RTI will include working with two foundations created with funds from the tobacco industry as a result of settlements of lawsuits.

In one assignment, Tavernise will serve on an RTI team to advise North Carolina’s new Golden Leaf foundation on making its initial announcements about its programs and on making its first round of grants.

In a second assignment, Tavernise will help the American Legacy Foundation publicize RTI’s findings about the impact of its national campaign to keep teens from smoking. His work will include developing a print publication and Web site focusing on the effectiveness of the campaign.

Vermillion, a graduate of Wake Forest University, recently coordinated a conference in Greensboro that assessed the status of women in the state.

She also has worked with Tavernise on migrant worker issues in addition to handling general grant-making responsibilities.

A replacement for Kilpatrick is not expected to be hired until after Ross succeeds Lambeth in January.

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