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Read the thoughts and impressions on a variety of topics written by Ann T. Lisi, President and CEO, and Chris O’Keefe, Vice President of Program, as well as occasional guest bloggers about what’s happening at Greater Worcester Community Foundation.


Welcome to Worcester, Barbara!
By Carolyn Stempler / August 5, 2019

Have you heard the news? Barbara Fields will begin her role as our new President & CEO of the Greater Worcester Community Foundation on August 15, 2019.

Barbara’s arrival marks a landmark moment for the Foundation. After concluding a major stage in our leadership transition – saying goodbye to Ann Lisi after 30 remarkable growth years – it is with pleasure and confidence that we welcome Barbara as our leader during what has been labeled the Worcester Renaissance!

Before Barbara was selected, the Board thought deeply about the Foundation today and where it should go moving forward. The objectives were to find a leader who could develop and execute the mission and vision of the foundation with an eye toward the future needs of our community, while also strengthening and cultivating our assets.

Months were spent engaged in a competitive search for our new President & CEO.  With a spectacular team led by Rebecca Swartz of Isaacson, Miller and former Chair, Gerry Gates, along with the support of the Board and input of several key stakeholders and community leaders, Barbara was selected as the person who could help us achieve all of our current and future goals for the Foundation.

Ms. Fields has dedicated her career to building community and improving access to opportunities. Her knowledge of the complex ways community issues and needs intersect is comprehensive. Her resume is brimming with examples of how her leadership has driven positive change. To name a few: 

  • As CEO and Executive Director of Rhode Island Housing (RIHousing), the state’s housing finance agency, Barbara led an effort to invest hundreds of millions of dollars annually into the Rhode Island economy and provided critical resources to expand housing options for all.
  • During her 20 year tenure as Executive Director of the Rhode Island Office of Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), an organization that leads the way in community development, Barbara championed a nationally recognized community-police partnership.
  • A presidential appointment in the Obama Administration, Barbara served as the New England Regional Administrator for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
  • Most recently, Barbara was recognized by Grow Smart Rhode Island as the 2019 Outstanding Smart Growth Leader​, an award that honors individuals for notable work fostering strong, vibrant, and resilient communities.

Nonprofit transitions are always an opportunity to consider new and innovative approaches to supporting our community and we at the Foundation are looking forward as we continue the mission of our founders, with Barbara as our CEO.


Barbara Fields, GWCF's incoming President & CEO

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