Welcome Our New CEO Susan True!

September 7, 2017 board of directors announces hire of new CEO.

Susan True

The board is pleased to announce Susan True as its next CEO, following a national search. 

True, a Santa Cruz County resident, has expertise and deep local relationships. She served as executive director of First 5 Santa Cruz County and CASA of Santa Cruz County. She was also an elected trustee on the governing board of Cabrillo College

Her most recent position was at the Kenneth Rainin Foundation, in Oakland, as director of education strategy and ventures.

True starts October 11. She takes over from Lance Linares, who held the chief executive post for 22 years. Linares led the Community Foundation as it grew from $6 million in total assets in 1995, to more than $120 million today.

"I'm confident that Susan is the right person with the right blend of professional and personal skills to lead us forward," said Terry Medina, board president.

True is a UC Santa Cruz graduate in community studies. In 2013, she was a Sloan Fellow and earned her master’s degree at Stanford University's Graduate School of Business. In 2016, at the Rainin Foundation, she won a Bronze EFFIE Social Good Award for "Talk, Read, Sing," a marketing campaign for early education.

True said the Community Foundation is uniquely positioned to make lasting change in the community that has been home to her for over 20 years. "I take the meaning of philanthropy to heart. It's about the love of people and the places we call home. Together, we can work to make all lives here fulfilling, secure and connected with each other so our county can thrive.”

As new CEO, True bring years of expertise in the nonprofit sector and is eager to re-engage with community leaders in Santa Cruz County with the help of the board and staff of the Community Foundation. 

Jess Brown, executive director of the Santa Cruz County Farm Bureau and honorary trustee of the Community Foundation was involved in the search process. "Susan is going to be a great leader who takes a proactive stance on important local issues. I look forward to introducing her to our local ag community and others in the Pájaro Valley."

A succession plan adopted by the board guided them through this smooth transition. The board formed a search committee and tapped Carlson Beck, a national search firm, to find its next CEO. The firm screened and interviewed hundreds of candidates before zeroing in on True.

Marilyn Calciano, board vice president, expressed her enthusiasm about the pick. As chair of the search committee, Calciano met with numerous candidates and spent a lot of time with True. "We talked to our donors, nonprofit and community leaders about the person they wanted us to hire. A caring and proven leader with local knowledge was on the top of everyone's list. And, we found her!"