David O. Egner Named President and CEO of The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation

Koya Leadership Partners is thrilled by the recruitment of David O. Egner as the President and CEO of The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation. We were honored to have partnered with the Life Trustees of The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation on this search.

The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation is a new $1.2 billion foundation focused on providing maximum positive impact on the communities and people of Southeastern Michigan and Western New York.

David brings more than 25 years of experience in the nonprofit sector which he will use to guide the organization in fulfilling its goal to distribute $1.2 billion to eligible nonprofits over the course of 20 years.

“Ralph has entrusted us with his tremendous legacy. It took a careful and thorough search to find the individual who is capable and committed to lead the Foundation in Ralph’s vision. We found that leader in David Egner,” said Mary M. Wilson, wife of Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. “David’s past experiences, his passion for our mission and his own personal values give us confidence that we are selecting someone with Ralph’s stamp of approval.”

David joins The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation from the Hudson-Webber Foundation, where he served as president and CEO since 1997. In that role, he was responsible for managing all aspects of the $175 million foundation, including developing and implementing grants that positively impact economic development, revitalization and the arts for the city of Detroit.

“Dave has led the Hudson-Webber Foundation Board and staff with great enthusiasm during his 19-year tenure,” said Jennifer Hudson Parke, chair of the Hudson-Webber Foundation Board of Trustees. “Dave’s vision has inspired the missions of the Foundation and has served as a catalyst for innovation, collaboration and change in the metropolitan Detroit community. We wish Dave much future success in his new role.”

In addition to his role at Hudson-Webber, since 2009, David has served as the executive director of the New Economy Initiative for Southeast Michigan, a $135 million funder collaborative to drive economic growth through entrepreneurship and small business development. This recent experience strongly aligns with the Foundation’s community and economic development priority areas.

“Dave brings experience, interest in listening and learning, creativity and appreciation of the value of communities,” said Mariam Noland, President of the Community Foundation for Southeastern Michigan. “The success and impact of the New Economy Initiative on the Southeast Michigan region is a testament to his leadership, and it is his leadership that will help The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation trustees elevate the organization to its namesake’s vision.”

David’s past experiences have taken him across the nonprofit sector with organizations both large and small. He started with Junior Achievement, eventually serving as director of operations for the organization’s Mid-America Operations. He then joined the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and later on served as president and CEO of the Michigan Nonprofit Association. Throughout his past positions, David has established a reputation for the outstanding, deep relationships he builds with grantees, as well as a consultative style that facilitates collaboration between foundations toward a greater good.

“I am honored to have been selected by the trustees of The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation,” said David Egner. “It is a privilege to represent the Foundation and the legacy of Ralph Wilson, a man known for his extraordinary generosity, visionary leadership and strong Midwestern values. I am excited about the opportunity to work with community leaders in Western New York, and I am

looking forward to continuing to work in Southeast Michigan, a community I have served for more than 20 years.”

As The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation looks forward, it will work to continue to align the organization’s work within the priority areas it has identified in its mission statement and based on Ralph’s own personal passions and causes – many of which match David’s own passions and experience.

The selection of David was made after a thoughtful and thorough national search, overseen by Koya Leadership Partners, a national executive search firm dedicated to the nonprofit sector. The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation is dedicated primarily to sustained investment in the quality of life of the people of Western New York and Southeastern Michigan, reflecting Mr. Wilson’s devotion to his hometown of Detroit and the people of Western New York, home of his Bills franchise. While the search for a president was nationwide, the Foundation was focused on identifying those who would share Ralph’s commitment to serving Southeastern Michigan and Western New York.

“We are delighted to hear that David has been selected to fulfill this important role, and we look forward to partnering with him in Western New York,” said Clotilde Dedecker, President and CEO of the Community Foundation of Greater Buffalo, a Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation partner. “David brings an incredibly strong skill set to the work of The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation that will have a direct, positive, measurable impact on our community.”

Under David’s direction, the Foundation will move forward in establishing official guidelines for formal, long-term grant cycles beginning in 2016. Earlier this year, the Foundation released its mission statement and announced its partner institutions, which will help employ an outsourced CIO (chief investment officer) model to invest and manage the assets of the Foundation pending their distribution to eligible grantees.

Updates on the organization will continue to be shared as David steps into his role as president and CEO and the organization moves closer to accepting applications for 2016 grants.

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