Laysha L. Ward, the Target Foundation leader long involved with national service, was elected chair of the board of the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS).
The nation’s largest grant maker for service and social innovation, CNCS engages more than five million Americans through Senior Corps, AmeriCorps, and other programs, and leads President Barack Obama’s United We Serve initiative.
Ward is president of Community Relations for Target Corporation in Minneapolis, Minn. She oversees the corporation’s domestic and international grant making, community sponsorships, cause marketing initiatives, volunteerism and other civic activities. She is also responsible for the Target Foundation.
The bipartisan board, whose members are nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate, sets overall policy and direction for the agency and its programs and provides guidance to the agency’s CEO. Ward was appointed to the CNCS board by President George W. Bush in 2008.
“The Corporation for National and Community Service and the organizations and volunteers it supports are making an important investment in our nation’s future by solving local problems, supporting vulnerable citizens, and strengthening communities throughout the United States,” said Ward. “Throughout my life I’ve seen how volunteers can make a powerful impact, and I am honored and excited to take on this role at a time of growing need and momentum for service in America.”
Ward was also selected to serve on the White House Council for Community Solutions, established by President Obama in 2010 to bring together resources from the public, private, non-profit and philanthropic sectors in communities across the country. With a near-term focus on connecting youth to pathways to employment, the Council will provide the President guidance on the best ways to enlist more Americans and leaders across sectors to catalyze change within communities and make progress on our nation’s greatest challenges.
She replaces outgoing CNCS board chair Mark Gearan, president of Hobart and William Smith Colleges in New York, who served three terms on the CNCS board, including board chair since June of 2010.
Ward began her career with Target in 1991. She serves on the board of the Executive Leadership Council, a national membership organization for African American executives; and Denny’s Corporation. She is also a member of the Aspen Institute’s Commission on No Child Left Behind, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, and The Links, an international woman’s service organization.