Aviv Leaving IS, Headed To Feeding America

June 30, 2015       Mark Hrywna      

A day after completing the 14th session of a nationwide, 15-city listening tour, Independent Sector (IS) announced that President and CEO Diana Aviv would step down in October after 12 years leading the nonprofit advocacy organization. She is set to become the CEO of Feeding America, effective Oct. 1.

IS on Monday brought its Threads tour to Washington, D.C., convening nonprofit leaders for workshops aimed at creating community conversations about trends that will become prominent in the future. It includes a rethinking of IS’s role in the sector.

As part of its announcement today, IS “reaffirmed its commitment to the implementation of the comprehensive ‘re-founding’ effort that began under Aviv and is designed to enable the organization to meet the challenges of the future.”

“While we are sorry to see Diana move on, we thank her for her years of service here and for all of her contributions to Independent Sector,” said Neil Nicoll, chair of the board of directors of IS. “Thanks in large part to Diana’s leadership, the charitable sector in this country is stronger and more influential – and Independent Sector is well-positioned for the future,” he said in a statement.

A search committee will be led by Steve McCormick, CEO of the Earth Genome. He also is former president of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and former CEO of the Nature Conservancy. Organization leaders is hopeful that a new chief executive can be identified by the end of the year and take over the post in 2016, according to Candy Hill, vice president, communications and marketing.

Aviv will leave the organization just before its annual conference to be held Oct. 27-29 in Miami, Fla. Hill said Aviv could still have a role at the national conference.

In a statement, IS said Aviv stabilized and strengthened the organization’s finances, membership, and brought together leaders of the philanthropic and charitable sector to tackle some of the most difficult challenges facing the community.

In December 2013, Aviv initiated a comprehensive “strategic effort to better enable the organization and the sector as a whole to effectively address social issues in a rapidly changing, increasingly complex future.” Nicoll described it as the organization’s “re-founding.”

The vision and purpose of the organization was outlined during the national Threads tour: “We envision a world of engaged individuals, robust institutions, and vibrant communities working together to improve lives and the natural world, and strengthen democratic societies. To help create this future, we lead and catalyze the charitable community, partnering with government, business and individuals to advance the common good.

During her tenure, IS moved into a new headquarters building on L Street and convened the Panel on the Nonprofit Sector, which worked with the Senate Finance Committee to make recommendations to strengthen governance, transparency, and accountability among charities and foundations.

The Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit advocacy organization reported $7.5 million in revenue for the year ending 2013, according to the most recent tax form available, with $2.7 million through membership dues. As president/CEO that year, Aviv earned total compensation of $696,119, including base compensation of $485,809.

In Feeding America, Aviv will lead one of the largest charities in the country, reporting $2 billion in revenue last year, the majority of it non-cash contributions of food inventory. The Chicago, Ill.-based charity announced in January that Bob Aiken had decided to step down as CEO, effective June 30, after 2½ years in the position. Two years ago, the organization named Matt Knott as president, a newly-created position to “lead the efforts of the national office to support member food bank needs and shape national office priorities to meet those needs.” He will remain in the position of president.

Aiken earned $562,837 in total compensation for the year ending June 2014, including $443,244 in base compensation and $73,000 in bonus and incentive compensation.

Aviv was selected to The NonProfit Times’ Power & Influence Top 50 for 12 consecutive years, from 2003 to 2014 (The 2015 list will be published Aug. 1). Prior to joining IS in 2003, the South African native spent nine years at the Jewish Federations of North America as vice president for public policy and director of its Washington, D.C. office.

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