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June Wilson to Spearhead Compton Foundation’s Strategic Spend Up

June salutes long-term grantees at Quixote Foundation event in 2014. Rosemary Dai Ross, photographer.

October 19, 2021

Challenging Philanthropy and Making Reparations are Priorities for Compton Foundation’s New Executive Director

Board of Directors Selects June Wilson to Spearhead Strategic Spend Up

San Francisco —The Compton Foundation announced today that June Wilson will become the new—and final—executive director of the 75-year-old philanthropy. Wilson will succeed Ellen Friedman, who, after leading the Foundation since 2011, is stepping down to engage in more direct social justice work. The selection is a crucial step on the Foundation’s trajectory toward closing its doors in the next five years. 

Wilson is a celebrated philanthropic leader in racial justice advocacy and alternative approaches to legacy and perpetuity. As executive director emerita and board member of the Quixote Foundation — where she guided the design and implementation of their “Spend Up” approach — to her current post as Fellow at the National Center for Family Philanthropy, she brings rigor and hands-on expertise to the Compton Foundation. “I feel like I’ve been training for this opportunity throughout my career,” she said from her home in Seattle, where she coaches philanthropists and Black women entrepreneurs.

Alarmed by growing threats domestically and globally, the Board of Directors resolved in 2019 to give all the Foundation’s money away to a finite number of activist organizations working to strengthen climate resilience, democracy, reproductive justice, and more. Under Wilson’s leadership, the Foundation will also design a reparations strategy for the final years of the Foundation’s work. 

“June is perfectly situated to take this on,” said Board Vice President and Co-Chair Vanessa Compton Davenport. “Her commitment to movement building and her thought leadership in philanthropy are critical for our final phase of work. We’re excited about her vision and her voice in questioning the traditional practices of this field.” Compton’s President and Co-Chair, Jakada Imani added, “We’re ready to take the next steps in leveraging philanthropy to respond to the profound crisis in this country and on our planet. June brings the vision, skills, and relationships to the work of shifting how philanthropy responds in this moment.”

The Compton Foundation no longer accepts new proposals and instead supports existing relationships with organizations that build youth leadership, protect abortion justice, defend voting rights, and more. Compton’s new website is offering resources and an informal clearinghouse for, in Wilson’s words, raising “tough questions and bold alternatives.”

CONTACT: Deborah Daughtry [email protected]

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