BCF’s Executive Director Transition Announcement


Jan 2019


BCF’s Board of Directors announces that our Executive Director is stepping down in June.

Dear Friends of BCF,

After 6 wonderful years with the Berkeley Community Fund, I recently announced my plans to step down as Executive Director at the end of June. I did not arrive at this decision lightly as I care a great deal about this amazing organization, the students we serve, our staff, our mentors, and all of our partners. Most importantly, I care deeply about the work we do to close opportunity gaps and ensure that youth in our community have the supports they need to succeed in college regardless of their background.

In my role as ED, I’ve used my experience in business, higher education, and philanthropy to build an organization that I am sure will continue to leave positive marks on the lives of many. And now, I look forward to the next chapter in my life. I will be taking some time off for a long overdue extended visit with my family in Zimbabwe and then plan to return to the U.S. to pursue new opportunities.

It has been my privilege to lead BCF through an important period of transformation and growth. We have a remarkable staff and dedicated board of directors; I am proud of what we have accomplished together. I will be working closely with the Executive Director Search Committee over the next 6 months to find a new ED and support that person in their transition.

I hope that I will have an opportunity to thank you in person for your partnership and commitment to Berkeley’s youth. Please read on below for a message from our board of directors.

With gratitude,

Joleen Ruffin

A message from BCF’s Board of Directors

It is with a mix of sadness and gratitude that the Board of Directors is sharing the news that Joleen is stepping down as our Executive Director.

Our board has formed a search committee to find a new executive director to lead the organization moving forward. As we conduct our search in the coming months, we welcome your assistance in identifying candidates who can help BCF continue its success. The position description is posted here.

BCF hired Joleen in 2013 to take the organization to the next level. Joleen has accomplished that and much more. Her inspiring leadership and deft management have played an important role in the growth of BCF and its impact on the lives of many Berkeley youth. We are grateful for her six years of dedicated service, which involved many significant accomplishments, including:

  • Increasing the number of students we serve in our 4-year High Hopes Scholarship Program
  • Establishing the BCF Promise Program for students attending Berkeley City College
  • Developing and expanding our programs to increase the college graduation and persistence rate of our scholars (90% of our scholars have graduated or persist in college)
  • Building a culture of equity and inclusion
  • Instituting organizational systems and processes to lay the foundation for growth
  • Raising the visibility of our organization in the community
  • Forming key partnerships with Berkeley Rotary, Berkeley City College, the City of Berkeley, UC Berkeley, and Bayer

Joleen leaves the organization in a strong position, both financially and programmatically. In 2013, Joleen was our sole employee. BCF now has a devoted and capable staff that will continue the vision shared across our organization. They, together with our committed board of directors, will help ensure that the organization continues to serve our scholars, mentors, and community partners.

Joleen will be greatly missed by the staff, board, scholars, and our partners. We look forward to staying in touch and following her future endeavors. If you have any questions or concerns during this transition, please feel free to reach out to me directly at ann.smulka@gmail.com.

Ann Smulka
President, Board of Directors

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