Community Foundation Sonoma County, key in wildfire relief, losing its executive director

A Santa Rosa-based foundation that has funneled more than $260 million in grants to community groups is losing it executive director who is going to a new job in Atlanta.

Community Foundation Sonoma County announced Thursday that Elizabeth Brown, who held the post of its executive director for about a decade, is moving to a new job in Georgia. Brown will become managing director of Mental Health & Well-being for the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation.

“It is quite hard to say goodbye to an organization, staff, board, donors, and community that are so meaningful to me,” Brown stated in the announcement. “Northern California has been my home for just over 20 years. I’ve loved my time here, but I’ve also realized — each time I visit Atlanta — that it is still home to me, too.”

As the fourth director to lead the organization, Brown was there during the aftermath of the 2017 wildfires which devastated Sonoma County. She launched the Sonoma County Resilience Fund to support disaster recovery — an effort that has generated over $14 million in grants to organizations helping people recover from local disasters. Overall, the executive saw grants to area groups by the foundation double to $20 million last year.

“We will miss Beth dearly, especially given the passion and empathy she brings to her leadership role,” said Thelia Wade, foundation chair of the board of directors. ”Beth is leaving Community Foundation Sonoma County in a strong financial position, with a dedicated team ready to build upon the tremendous philanthropic impact the foundation’s donors make possible in Sonoma County.”

Brown will continue to lead the foundation through mid-February, after which interim leadership will be in place with the oversight of Wade. The board will conduct a national search process for Brown’s permanent replacement.

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