By Ret Boney
RALEIGH, N.C. — Jennifer Tolle Whiteside, a 16-year veteran of North Carolina’s nonprofit sector, will become president and CEO of the North Carolina Community Foundation on November 27.
Tolle Whiteside, president and CEO of Prevent Child Abuse North Carolina, will succeed Elizabeth Fentress, who is retiring after joining the foundation in 1988 as its first CEO.
“Jennifer brings a wealth of talent to the position,” says Linda Staunch, a member of the foundation’s board and its search committee. “She can represent the community foundation and put us in a very positive light within our various communities and the state.”
The foundation, based in Raleigh, manages a network of 60 affiliate foundations that provide grants and other resources to underserved local communities in 64 of the state’s 100 counties.
The foundation manages almost 1,000 endowment funds totaling more than $105 million in assets, and awards grants totaling about $3 million a year.
“The foundation has an incredible opportunity and is full of promise,” says Tolle Whiteside. “What’s ahead for us is to define and act on the distinctive value we have.”
The foundation faces both opportunities and challenges, she says, including making its impact clear to the communities it serves, and inspiring more people to take an active role in philanthropy in their communities.
Staunch says the board has charged Tolle Whiteside with building the foundation’s visibility and influence while continuing its growth, including building its endowments and growing its unrestricted fund.
Tolle Whiteside says her initial priorities will be meeting with the people involved with the foundation, learning from the staff and board, and better understanding their strengths.
“I understand the needs of North Carolina communities, and I understand the power of community,” she says. “I can mesh those in a way that may be a bit more creative and a bit different.”
Fentress will remain on staff through the transition and will continue with the foundation on a consulting basis after her retirement at the end of the year.
Tolle Whiteside, who joined Prevent Child Abuse North Carolina in 1985 as its CEO, says she plans to leave the statewide advocacy organization in mid-November.
During her tenure, she grew the organization’s budget to $1.6 million from $60,000 and built a child abuse-prevention network of 300 member groups throughout the state.
“We have been successful in making the issue of child abuse prevention something people care about,” she says.