Heron Announces Leadership Transition

The F.B. Heron Foundation will have a new president at the end of the year. Dana Bezerra will become the next president with outgoing president Clara Miller assuming the role of President Emerita.

Heron made the announcement today, with an effective date of Dec. 31, 2017. Bezerra joined Heron in 2006 and has been responsible for “deal-sourcing, identifying and developing relationships across a spectrum of investors, syndicating capital when possible, and cultivating opportunities to deploy the full range of Heron’s ‘toolbox,’ including grants, program related investments, and market-rate mission related investments.” Prior to joining the New York City-based foundation, she was in the private banking and investment group at Merrill Lynch where she specialized in philanthropy and nonprofit management.

“I’ve had the joy and privilege of working with Dana both before I came to Heron and during my tenure,” Miller said. “Her exceptional ability to connect people and ideas, her diverse experience, and her inclusive working style make her uniquely well-equipped to lead the next phase of Heron’s evolution,” she said.

Miller has been president at Heron for the past seven years. Prior to leading Heron, she was president and CEO of the Nonprofit Finance Fund dating back to when she founded that organization in 1984. Miller has been selected seven times for The NonProfit Times’ Power & Influence Top 50, including the past two years as well as 2006 through 2010.

Bezerra also has been active in the leadership of several national and local philanthropic organizations over the last two decades, including the board of Capital Impact Partners, the steering committee for Mission Investors’ Exchange, and as a reviewer for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as part of its Grand Challenge Exploration Program.

A native of California, Bezerra earned a bachelor of science degree in agricultural business and public policy from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo.

“Heron’s board is thrilled that Dana will be taking the helm. Her selection is not only a tribute to her, it also reflects the board’s regard for Clara Miller’s leadership over the past several years and Heron’s strategic direction,” Arthur “Buzz” Schmidt, chairman of Heron’s board, said. “Under Dana’s leadership, Heron will lever the lessons it has learned over the past 25 years — both on the ground in communities and within the capital markets,” he said.

Heron was established in 1992 to help people and communities help themselves out of poverty, working with “a diverse set of investment strategies focused on fostering economic innovations and practices that lead to long-term economic opportunity and properties for all.”

The foundation reported total net assets of almost $273 million in the most recent fiscal year, including expenses and disbursements of almost $12 million.