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Merchant to Retire After 18 Years of Service to Tristate Region

Kathryn E. Merchant, who has served as President/CEO of The Greater Cincinnati Foundation since 1997, has announced that she will retire in June 2015, after more than 18 years at one of the nation’s largest community foundations.

Kathy MerchantCINCINNATI (June 9, 2014) - Kathryn E. Merchant, who has served as President/CEO of The Greater Cincinnati Foundation (GCF) since 1997, has announced that she will retire in June 2015, after more than 18 years at one of the nation’s largest community foundations.

Pete Strange, Chairman Emeritus of Messer Inc. and Chair of GCF’s Governing Board said, “We are proud of Kathy’s tireless work to make this region and this community resource stronger since the day she set foot in Cincinnati. During her tenure, GCF has grown to more than a half billion dollars in permanent charitable assets and provided crucial leadership to issues like cradle-to-career education, racial equity, workforce development, and stronger neighborhoods, to name just a few. Many of the initiatives that Kathy has helped drive, like impact investing, are becoming national models.”

“I have become very attached to my friends and colleagues in Cincinnati, and to my home in Prospect Hill, during nearly two decades of living here,” Merchant said in her announcement. “I look forward to continuing to be engaged in areas of philanthropy where I have strong personal passion, and to remaining an active member of this community.”

GCF, which celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2013, made important strides during Merchant’s tenure, including:

  • setting a standard for how major funders collaborate to change systems and create a better quality of life in this community, with initiatives like Better Together Cincinnati, Community Investment Partners, and Weathering the Economic Storm
  • establishing Cincinnati as a national leader which is ahead of the curve in philanthropic innovations such as impact investing and collective impact
  • making more than $700 million in grants on behalf of donors of the past and present
  • The Board will conduct a national search for Kathy’s successor.

    Strange said, “A measure of Kathy’s leadership is the strength of the GCF team, at both the staff and the board level; and the strength of the partnerships she has created across the community. In typical Kathy fashion, she has led the board through proactive and thoughtful planning for succession and she has committed to staying with us through a successful search process. GCF is well prepared to grow into the future.”



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