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Celebrating Lynn Alvarez’s Transformative Contributions to ECMC Foundation

June 20, 2024

After five years of service as vice president of programs and strategy at ECMC Foundation, Lynn Alvarez will step down from her position on June 21, 2024. Lynn has made invaluable contributions to the organization’s growth and strategic evolution as one of the nation’s largest postsecondary funders.

Lynn came to the Foundation in 2019 with a diverse background across philanthropy, education, law and the nonprofit sector. Her leadership has allowed the Foundation to increase its grantmaking, deepen its impact and help drive systemic change across the postsecondary ecosystem.

“Reflecting on my five years at the Foundation, I am immensely proud and feel grateful to have worked alongside such a dedicated and mission-driven team,” Lynn said. “I will always value the relationships I have built over the years and appreciate the meaningful work we accomplished together on behalf of underserved learners.”

Lynn led the Foundation through several pivotal milestones—including the implementation of a new strategic framework—and guided the team through a significant leadership transition when Peter J. Taylor retired and Jacob Fraire became the organization’s new president.

“Lynn’s strategic mindset and passion for philanthropy have been instrumental in shaping our grantmaking and achieving our goals,” said Jacob. “Her leadership has positioned the organization for continued growth and impact.”

As vice president of programs and strategy, Lynn oversaw the Foundation’s strategic grantmaking, helping to grow grants and program-related investments from $39 million in 2019 to $57 million in 2023. The Foundation team has more than doubled during Lynn’s tenure.

Her leadership has been marked by several key milestones and achievements, including major initiatives in response to national emergencies. In 2020, Lynn helped launch the Foundation’s emergency aid grantmaking program to support students affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Also in 2020, Lynn helped expand the GO! Program for Educational Equity to encourage employees to identify and nominate organizations in their communities working to improve educational outcomes for students of color.

As the Foundation’s grantmaking has grown and evolved, Lynn has worked closely with staff across the entire ECMC Group enterprise. Jennifer Zeisler and Sarah Belnick, both senior program directors, described some of the ways Lynn’s leadership has affected the team.

“Lynn has always been a champion of excellence, and she inspired us to grow as grantmakers in service to our partners and the students we ultimately serve,” said Jennifer. “Her impact on the Foundation’s culture of building strong, collaborative relationships with our grantees has been immeasurable.”

“Lynn has been an incredible mentor to many of us at ECMC Foundation,” Sarah said. “She’s always been generous with her time and knowledge, guiding us to grow as philanthropic professionals. Her commitment to developing our strategic grantmaking and investing has been one of her many contributions, and our organization will continue to benefit from her leadership for years to come."

In addition to leading the Foundation’s program team, Lynn helped design and grow the organization’s learning and evaluation function. Loraine Park, director of learning and evaluation, worked closely with Lynn to develop the Foundation’s capacity as a learning organization.

“Lynn has been a catalyst for growth within the Foundation and was pivotal in shaping an approach to learning and evaluation that emphasized learning alongside our grantee and investee partners. This has allowed us to truly fuel evidence-based innovation as we test new ideas, implement promising programs and scale successful practices,” said Loraine. “Lynn’s legacy will continue to inspire us.”

Beyond her work at the Foundation, Lynn also served on the Grantmakers for Education Board of Directors and on the Advisory Board of the Center for Effective Philanthropy.

Lynn looks forward to spending time with friends and family, exploring new travel adventures and continuing to serve her community through her many volunteer commitments.

The entire ECMC Foundation team extends our deepest gratitude to Lynn for advancing our mission. We wish her all the best in her next chapter.

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