Phoenix Foundation hires first executive director
Since its inception in 1997 by a small group of local citizens, the Phoenix Foundation of the Boundary has grown to be host to over $1 million in endowment funds giving them the ability to grant money to community needs across the region. This year the Foundation has hit another milestone by hiring their first executive director. Mona Mattei has taken the reins of the Foundation, supported by their board of directors. Mattei brings 20 years of experience in non-profit and contract management, communications and fund development to the Foundation to complement the skills of the board. Maxine Ruzicka, president of the board, said that the decision to hire an executive was part of the overall growth of the Foundation. “The evolution of the Phoenix Foundation has got to the point that we need to work more proactively with our communities and we needed to have staff to carry out those important initiatives,” said Ruzicka. “We recognize that endowment building is really critical in supporting communities into the future and having more of an identifiable voice in the community will help us to achieve that goal.” The board started their planning for hiring the director in the fall of 2009 and analyzed how they could manage their small administrative funding to support a staff member. In the past the board has had some part-time administrative support but they realized they had to move to a more visible position to manage their growth. Even with the new staff, the board of directors will continue to be responsible for much of the work of the organization. “It is important to recognize that the Phoenix Foundation board is going to continue to be a fully active board so a lot of the voluntary functions that the board is doing will continue,” said Leda Leander, director. “Their work will really be enhanced by the position of the executive director.” Mattei has been involved in community development work in Grand Forks and across the Boundary over the last 12 years that she has lived in the area. She also served a term as the economic development officer for the Boundary and is familiar with many of the non-profit groups in the area. “I am really excited to be working for the Foundation,” said Mattei. “It’s a wonderful opportunity to be able to help support the work of groups who I have helped in the past in a new capacity and to be a part of the creation of a sustainable future for our communities.” The hiring committee saw that Mattei’s links with many of the different sectors in communities across the region as a way to build on the goals of the foundation. Some of the priority areas for Mattei in her first year will be to enhance fund development, communications and streamline administration for the Foundation. “We’re so pleased to welcome Mona as our executive director,” said Ruzicka. “With her skill set, education and experience she brings to this position, we feel really privileged that she took on this initiative with us.” With over 54 different specific endowments ranging from arts and culture to seniors to environment and community focuses and some major community donors like the Grand Forks District Savings Credit Union, the Foundation is looking forward to continued growth. Every donation to an endowment increases the amount of interest from the fund to be applied to community grants. Each spring grant applications are received from the community for funding needs and annual grants of over $25,000 are given to different projects. Interested in more information on the Phoenix Foundation of the Boundary? Contact Maxine Ruzicka at 250-442-8882 or email: email@example.com.