The F.B. Heron Foundation in New York City has announced that Clara Miller will step down as president at the end of December.
Miller, who has served as director and president of Heron since 2010, will assume the role of president emerita and will continue to write, speak, and undertake research aimed at advancing the foundation's mission. The widely respected Miller launched a strategic review of the foundation's grantmaking in the aftermath of the 2008 economic crisis that led to the adoption of a new operating model focused on impact investments in enterprises that create reliable income streams for people striving to lift themselves out of poverty. Under her leadership, the foundation also pledged, in 2012, to commit all its assets to fighting poverty and by 2016 had aligned about 70 percent of its portfolio investments with its mission, up from 40 percent in 2011. In a 2016 essay, Miller called on her "philanthropic peers to jettison outdated operating models that leave resources untapped in the face of systemic social ills."
Before joining Heron, Miller founded the Nonprofit Finance Fund and served as its president and CEO from 1984 through 2010. She has been included in the NonProfit Times' annual Power and Influence Top 50 list six times, most recently in 2016.
"Clara is singularly responsible for establishing the program and profile Heron enjoys today," said the foundation's board chair, Arthur Schmidt. "Clara has built a crackerjack team to carry Heron's operations forward, and we are so fortunate that she has agreed to remain centrally involved in developing and advancing Heron's knowledge agenda in the future."
"It has been a real privilege to serve as president of this remarkable enterprise for nearly seven years," said Miller. "My tenure is just one of several stages in Heron's long tradition of seeking excellence, inventing practices, and reinventing philanthropy that is our hallmark. We are a deeply non-institutional institution, with a longtime culture of questioning standard practice, pushing to deploy every kind of capital for mission — social, moral, intellectual, reputational and financial — and calling the question when our field is not measuring up. I am happy to be part of that tradition, and I look forward to contributing to Heron's further evolution.
"This transition will give me the opportunity to dedicate time and attention to the wide range of issues that have been the focus of my professional career," she added. "I deeply appreciate the inspiration and encouragement that I have received and continue to receive from our board, staff, and friends and colleagues in the field."