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Congratulations! Austin Community Foundation Names New CEO
Austin Community Foundation

September, 2014

The Board of Governors of the Austin Community Foundation is pleased to announce that Mike Nellis has been appointed chief executive officer.


Nellis currently leads the Thinkery (formerly the Austin Children’s Museum), where he successfully led a team to raise $18 million to build the new facility in the Mueller development. Over the past decade, Nellis has led the strategic reorganization that transformed the museum into a leader in science, technology, engineering and math education which now welcomes 550,000 visitors annually and 14,500 members. Prior to joining the museum, Nellis directed program development and consulting services for Greenlights, then a start-up nonprofit management service organization. Before moving to Austin in 2001, Nellis spearheaded the regional expansion of Tides, a San Francisco-based nonprofit that connects donors and doers around common issues and goals, providing grants, strategic planning, business development and organizational effectiveness.


“Mike Nellis brings a unique combination of knowledge and experience to build on the Foundation’s success and lead it into the future,” says Bill Volk, Chair of the Board of Governors. 


Mike Nellis has served on the boards of several Austin nonprofits including I Live Here, I Give Here, Greenlights, Community Action Network and United Way Capital Area. Nellis was honored with an “Austin Under 40” award in 2013 and is a graduate of the 2011 Leadership Austin Essential Class. He earned his master’s degree in Social Work at the University of Michigan and BA in Social Work at the University of Pittsburgh. 


“The Austin Community Foundation is one of our community’s greatest assets for the future,” says Nellis. “I am excited to lead this outstanding organization that has touched nearly every corner of our community through its grantmaking and philanthropic services for donors. With Austin’s growth and economic success come new needs and opportunities. The Foundation is uniquely positioned to connect resources with solutions to make Austin a great place for everyone to live.”


The current CEO is Jim Pendergast, who joined the Foundation in June 2012, initially as the interim executive leadership. The board tasked Pendergast with preparing the organization for future growth, inviting him to extend his commitment until the end of 2014. During his tenure, Pendergast led financial and operational analysis which led to restructuring of staff and operations. Since then, the Foundation’s assets have grown 30% from $122 million to $158 million. 


“I have known Mike since 2001, when he joined Greenlights,” says MariBen Ramsey, vice president and chief philanthropy officer who has worked at the Foundation since 1995. “He knows and loves our community, has a proven track record as a fundraiser and strategic nonprofit leader and also brings experience from his work at a leading national foundation.”


Nellis will start at the Foundation on November 3, 2014.


About the Austin Community Foundation - Austin Community Foundation provides efficient and effective giving tools for donors, impactful grants for nonprofits, and collaborative leadership around community issues. 


Austin Community Foundation by the Numbers:


·         Year founded – 1977

·         Total current assets - $158,000,000

·         % of assets endowed for Austin’s future – 61%

·         Number of funds we nurture and tend – 998

·         Number of nonprofit endowments – 71

·         Total grants awarded since 1977 - $247,000,000

·         Number of grants awarded in 2013 – 3,809

·         Amount of grants awarded in 2013 - $25,000,000

·         Scholarships awarded to college students in 2013 - $600,000

·         Amount donors contributed in 2013 - $33,000,000

·         Operations cost as percentage of assets – 1.2%


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