WASHINGTON, DC, July 5, 2011 – Steve Gunderson, whose stewardship saw the Council on Foundations through the "Great Recession" and brought a more global outlook to the association, today announced plans to resign as Council President and CEO, effective September 1.
In an "Open Letter" posted today on the Council website, Gunderson wrote that "this is the right time for a transition" and that his accomplishments of the past six years "enable me to step down knowing that I bequeath an outstanding organization to my successor."
Carol Larson, chair of the Council's board of directors, said on behalf of her fellow board members, "We are very grateful to Steve for all he has done, especially for steering our association through perilous economic times and for bringing global vision to Council initiatives."
Larson said the board will appoint an interim President and CEO by September 1. Board members Kevin Murphy and Judy Mohraz will co-chair a committee to search for candidates to succeed Gunderson.
"Giving two months notice allows the board ample time to develop a transition plan," Gunderson said. "At the board's request, I've agreed to consult for the Council as the committee searches for a new President and CEO."
Gunderson, 60, who served eight terms in Congress as a Republican representative from Wisconsin's 3rd District, was named Council president and CEO in 2005, succeeding Dorothy Ridings who had held the position since 1996.
Under Gunderson's leadership, the Council added 100 members within the past two years while maintaining strong retention rates. Among other notable accomplishments, board members cited his role in the launching the Global Philanthropy Leadership Initiative, significantly expanding and enhancing the Council's leadership role in government relations as the public policy voice of philanthropy, his staunch support for the philanthropy sector's commitment to diversity, and his advocacy of environmental responsibility as evidenced by the Council's new LEED-certified office building that saves members $3 million energy costs during the term of the lease.
"All indications are that we will look back on 2011 as an incredible year of progress for the Council on Foundations," Gunderson said, adding "I'm confident the board will identify and appoint a new leader who will sustain our momentum and propel the Council to new levels of greatness."
Read related open letter.
The Council on Foundations (www.cof.org), formed in 1949, is a nonprofit membership association of grantmaking foundations and corporations. Members of the Council include more than 1,750 independent, operating, community, public, and company-sponsored foundations, and corporate giving programs in the United States and abroad. The Council’s mission is to provide the opportunity, leadership, and tools needed by philanthropic organizations to expand, enhance, and sustain their ability to advance the common good.
Council on Foundations