Valerie Lies will step down next summer as president and chief executive officer (CEO) of the Donors Forum, an organization she’s led for the past quarter-century.
Lies, 64, has served as president and CEO of Donors Forum, an association of more than 1,100 Illinois funders, nonprofits and advisors, since 1987. She will retire effective June 30, 2014, allowing plenty of time to search for a new CEO as well as possibly to devise a new strategic plan.
The board of directors is still determining a timeline for the search process but should have final details by mid-year, according to Jim Parsons, who is chairman of the board until July. “We’re still in the planning process. It should give us plenty of time to do a search, develop criteria, and make sure we have best practices in place,” he said.
Other changes also might be in store for Donors Forum. “This is the perfect time to do strategic planning,” said Parsons, although that is still at the board level. He expects the board will be presented with recommendations later this spring for a timetable and implementation on a new strategic plan.
“When you’ve got a leader of Valerie’s quality, you go about this process and build on the foundation of what she’s created,” said Parsons.
Lies is co-chair of the Illinois Attorney General’s Charitable Advisory Council and a member of the Governor’s Task Force on Social Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Enterprise Development, as well as the board of Grantmakers for Effective Organizations (GEO). Last year, she was named to The NonProfit Times’ Power & Influence Top 50, the second time she was recognized.
She was a member of the Panel on the Nonprofit Sector and in 2005 co-chaired its Government Oversight and Self-Regulation Work Group. She also has served as a board member of the Minnesota Council on Foundations, Independent Sector, the Council on Foundations, Women and Philanthropy and the National Center for Family Philanthropy.
Lies started her career in 1974 as a program associate at the St. Paul, Minn.-based Otto Bremer Foundation. She became executive director in 1977, serving for four years.
The Chicago, Ill.-based association has a full-time staff of 21 and an annual budget of $2.8 million last year.