New York, NY – The Nathan Cummings Foundation (NCF) –the leading foundation rooted in Jewish tradition and committed to democratic values and social justice – announced today the selection of Simon Greer as its new President and CEO. Mr. Greer will succeed Lance Lindblom, who is retiring from NCF after more than a decade at the helm of the family foundation.
The selection of Mr. Greer is a bold choice for NCF, representing the start of a generational transition in the leadership of major U.S. foundations. Mr. Greer joins NCF from the Jewish Funds for Justice where he has served as president and CEO since 2005.
“Simon is bold, collaborative, energetic, honorable, insightful, thoughtful and a shining exemplar of possibility,” said James K. Cummings, the chair of the Foundation’s board and the leader of the search committee that selected Mr. Greer. “As NCF transitions into its third decade of bold, innovative grant making, Simon is the natural choice as our next President and CEO. In today’s challenging world, collaboration is paramount for success. Simon Greer’s depth of collegial innovation is the perfect through line to lead NCF into its third decade of grant making, its fourth generation of family leadership and its evolving approaches to impact philanthropy.”
As leadership changes at some of America's most prominent foundations, a generational shift is underway that includes innovative new executives who came of age during the modern technological revolution who continue to show profound respect and passion for the tradition of social justice.
Simon Greer, 42, has more than 20 years of experience as a leader in the movement for social change. As the President and CEO of Jewish Funds for Justice (JFSJ), he has overseen its growth and emergence as a strong advocate for a fair, just, and compassionate America. Under his leadership, JFSJ has undergone extraordinary growth including successful mergers with the Progressive Jewish Alliance, the Shefa Fund, and Spark: The Partnership for Jewish Service.
“It is a great honor to be able to help lead one of the most innovative foundations working to advance the values I believe in and with a track record of thought leadership and field building that is making a real difference,” said Mr. Greer. “I see the role of foundations like NCF as more than just grant makers. I see them as partners in creating strategies that can significantly leverage their investments.”
Mr. Greer will replace Lance Lindblom who is retiring on December 31st after more than a decade at NCF. Mr. Lindblom’s retirement marks the end of an exemplary philanthropic career that has included senior leadership roles with the Ford Foundation, the Soros Foundation’s Open Society Institute/Open Society Fund and the J. Roderick MacArthur Foundation.
“It has been a real privilege to lead the Nathan Cummings Foundation for more than a decade and into the 21st century,” said Mr. Lindblom, the outgoing President and CEO of the Nathan Cummings Foundation. “The board, the staff and the family set the tone for the Foundation’s collaborative efforts in the cause of social and economic justice. Simon represents the next step in the Foundation’s growth and impact. I have no doubt that his dynamic leadership will inspire the next stage of program impact and the next generation of Cummings family involvement.”
The Nathan Cummings Foundation is rooted in the Jewish tradition and committed to democratic values and social justice, including fairness, diversity, and community. It seeks to build a socially and economically just society that values and protects the ecological balance for future generations; promotes humane health care; and fosters arts and culture that enriches communities.
“How altogether fitting that Simon will use his talent to lead the foremost foundation supporting social justice causes. As head of the Nathan Cummings Foundation, he will play a critical role in continuing to deepen and strengthen our social justice movement,” said Steve Fischman co-chair of Jewish Funds for Justice.
“While we are, of course, sad to lose Simon at our helm, we recognize that part of our contribution to our movement is training great leaders to assume great responsibilities.”
Since its establishment, the Nathan Cummings Foundation, which has an endowment of more than $440 million, has generously supported cutting edge organizations and programs across the United States including to the New Israel Fund, the Breakthrough Institute, the Ella Baker Center, Americans for Energy Leadership, and the Clean Air Task Force.
The Foundation's approach to grant making embodies some basic themes in all of its programs: concern for the poor, disadvantaged, and underserved; respect for diversity; promotion of understanding across cultures; and empowerment of communities in need.
Mr. Greer went on to say that, “the Jewish values that have undergirded the Nathan Cummings Foundation throughout its history will continue to ground our work for justice as we make concrete change on the environment, health, economic justice and Jewish life.”
Members of the NCF Board along with grantees from NCF’s broader philanthropic community joined in offering words of congratulations to Mr. Greer.
Ernest Tollerson, Independent NCF trustee and NCF board chair from 2007 through 2009:
“With our selection of Simon as NCF's next president and CEO, NCF trustees have reaffirmed our foundation's deep and abiding commitment to tikkun olam, repairing the world," said Ernest Tollerson, one of the family foundation's independent trustees. "Simon has the intellect, energy and, most important, the values required to lead NCF in the second decade of the 21st century.
“Simon has devoted his life -- as a young community organizer and most recently as head of Jewish Funds for Justice -- to ideas, projects and movements dedicated to closing the enormous chasm between America's aspirations and the cold, harsh realities of everyday life for tens of millions of Americans.”
Rachel Durchslag, NCF Vice Chair:
“As a fourth generation member of the Nathan Cummings Foundation, we were looking for a CEO who understands the importance of younger leadership around the table of a family foundation. Simon's demonstrated commitment to including people of all ages and backgrounds in his activism work, and his vision for helping the younger members of NCF grow into meaningful roles at the foundation, are inspiring and encouraging to us.”
Jaimie Mayer Phinney, NCF Trustee, 4th Generation, Member of the CEO Search Committee:
“As both a member of the CEO Search Committee and the fourth generation of The Nathan Cummings Foundation, I find it impossible to control my excitement over Simon Greer as our next President. In our search for the next CEO, we were very cognizant of the fact that this leader would be the CEO not just for the second and third generations, but also for my generation, the fourth generation, as we continue to transition into leadership roles at the Foundation. Simon is a most impressive leader of the next generation himself, and I can think of no better person to help us foray into this next decade of foundation work, family involvement, and social justice.”
Daniel Sokatch, Chief Executive Officer of the New Israel Fund:
“From my first days at the Progressive Jewish Alliance to my role today with the New Israel Fund, the Nathan Cummings Foundation has been invaluable and is synonymous with everything that is good with philanthropy. Bringing Simon onboard is a marriage made in heaven. He has been a partner and a leader in building the rising Jewish social justice movement. We would not be where we are today without Simon.”
Rob Restuccia, Executive Director of Community Catalyst
“The Nathan Cummings Foundation consistently demonstrates leadership and strategic risk-taking in building a more just society. Most recently the Foundation led the development of the Affordable Care Act Implementation Fund, an innovative initiative by seven national funders to support the Affordable Care Act, the most important legislation since Medicare and Medicaid. We look forward to a continued partnership with the Foundation as we work together to improve health care access and quality for everyone.”
Terry Norris, president of American for Energy Leadership:
“We're very excited to work with Mr. Greer in the years ahead. Nathan Cummings Foundation has played an essential role in fostering the next generation of progressive leaders and supporting path-breaking solutions to the world's ecological challenges. We're confident that under Mr. Greer's leadership, the foundation can take these efforts to the next level.”
Carlton Turner, Executive Director for Alternate ROOTS:
“Anyone who runs a not-for-profit will tell you, it is that first money in the door for a new project, or a new idea, or an organization that is the most difficult to get and most significant. It requires risk, a leap of faith, and leadership from a foundation. The Nathan Cummings Foundation took such a leap with Alternate ROOTS; they provided the first funding for one of our core programs, the Community/Artist Partnership Program.
“The foundation’s Art and Social Justice program is an incredible example of visionary leadership as they almost singlehandedly provided a platform for progressive community-based artists within the social justice world.
“We can tell you without hyperbole; Alternate ROOTS and the field of Art and Social Justice owe a huge debt to the Nathan Cummings Foundation because they understood the vision and value of this work, its potential to make a significant difference in the world, and took a risk when many in the field of philanthropy just really didn’t get it. Because they paved the way, others have since joined them. We so look forward to continuing to work with them over the coming years.”
CONTACT: Adam Muhlendorf or Ari Geller, Rabinowitz/Dorf Communications,