Bugg-Levine officially will depart Aug. 15, allowing for a transition period, after almost 10 years leading the organization. Through the rest of this year, NFF will undertake a nationwide search for a new CEO. The interim leadership team will include Trella Walker as executive transition team lead; Kristin Giantris as executive transition team co-lead, client services, and Andrea Briscoe as executive transition team co-lead, talent and administration.
Bugg-Levine, who has been recognized in The NonProfit Times’Power & Influence Top 50 for the past three consecutive years, described the turnover as anything but abrupt. While he and the board agreed to a transition earlier this year, Bugg-Levine pointed to discussions dating back to summer 2016 when the board began re-examining NFF’s work in the context of racial equity. At the end of 2019, the board approved a new strategy focused on community-centered leaders and leaders of color. “When we first started on this journey, I knew that we were building to a time when my departure would be necessary so that NFF could take this work to its next level guided by a visionary, community-centered leader with lived expertise of the issues we work on. That time is now,” he said.
“In every dimension, NFF is in the best position it’s ever been,” Bugg-Levine said in a brief telephone interview with The NonProfit Times today. The organization reported total revenue of $22.5 million — including $12.6 million in loan interest and fees and $9.8 million in contributions and grants — and net assets of $44.6 million for the year ending 2019 on its most recent tax form, filed in October 2020.
“I have had the honor to lead NFF during a period of great change for our organization, the communities we serve, and our country. I am excited for NFF’s future with a strong foundation of amazing team members, a values-oriented culture, inspiring nonprofit clients and partners, enough reserves to be bold, and a compelling strategy,” Bugg-Levine said via a press release announcing the transition.
“NFF can play a crucial role in helping to close persistent racial disparities in funding for U.S. nonprofits. Now is the right moment for me to make room for new leadership to bring a fresh vision and voice to realize this potential,” he said.
Recent national reporting by leading social investment organizations like Echoing Green and Bridgespan has revealed that nonprofits led by people of color are substantially underfunded compared to white-led organizations. With massive demographic shifts and pervasive racial injustice concerns, NFF has committed itself to deepening racial equity more squarely across its various program and influence platforms.
During the past decade, NFF has increased its loan portfolio by 400%, secured an additional $43 million of unrestricted net assets to invest in mission, and is on pace to more than double staff. “Beyond the numbers, I am especially proud of the way we have organized around intentional values,” Bugg-Levine said.
Most recently, Bugg-Levine was instrumental in introducing a new strategy for NFF rooted in efforts to dramatically expand the organization’s work on racial diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). Bugg-Levine and the executive team recently secured grants exceeding $25 million from leading donors and funders, including MacKenzie Scott, Ford Foundation, and Morgan Stanley, among others.
Based in New York City with offices in Boston, Los Angeles, Oakland, and Philadelphia, NFF has provided more than $1 billion in grants, loans, and federally supported New Market Tax Credits, as well as financial consulting, to thousands of nonprofit groups since its formation in 1980.