Farewell Joleen


Jun 2019


Today we’re saying a fond farewell to Joleen Ruffin as Executive Director of the Berkeley Community Fund.

We’re also pleased to announce we have hired our new Executive Director, Sherry Smith, whose stellar career has been devoted to college access and success programs for students like those BCF supports in our High Hopes and Promise Scholarship programs. You’ll “meet” Sherry in next week’s e-news from BCF. Today we’re extending our thanks and appreciation for Joleen’s visionary leadership and deft management of the Berkeley Community Fund during the past six years. 

It’s been an honor and a joy to work with Joleen, who demonstrated a commitment to BCF’s mission, vision, and values in all of her work. With resource constraints typical of nonprofits, Joleen succeeded in accomplishing the organizational goals she set for herself when we hired her in May 2013: She streamlined systems and processes; increased the caliber and types of support our programs provide to our scholars; increased the visibility of BCF in the community; and developed partnerships with other organizations and the City of Berkeley. While she always had her eye on the bottom line, it was Joleen’s awareness of the needs of the community BCF serves her long-range perspective and her persistence that led BCF to launch its Promise Program — a program that builds upon the proven model of our High Hopes Program. 

Joleen has much to be proud of. During her tenure, BCF grew the college graduation and persistence rate of its High Hopes Scholars to 90%, increased the number of scholarships granted each year, and had a positive impact on the lives of many Berkeley families whose children received High Hopes and Promise Scholarships. Joleen nurtured and built community with BCF’s board, staff, mentors, and supporters. 

With her signature grace and professionalism, Joleen also gave BCF ample time for a well-planned transition to new leadership and continued success. Sherry joined the BCF team earlier this month and has been able to work side-by-side with Joleen for several days while she wraps up previous commitments. Sherry will be completely on-board with BCF starting July 23. We’re thrilled to be working with her. 

Joleen, we will miss you, but we know you’ll stay in touch. We look forward to seeing you at our gala on September 28. 

– Ann Smulka, President, Board of Directors

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