Experienced nonprofit executive to lead Ford Institute for Community Building

December 16, 2014: The Ford Family Foundation announced today that it has hired Roque Barros, a nonprofit executive with nearly 30 years experience in civic engagement, as the next director of the Ford Institute for Community Building. He will succeed the current director, Joyce Akse, who will retire in March 2015 after almost ten years at the Foundation, three as the Institute director. 

Barros has managed community development, leadership training programs and neighborhood engagement efforts in positions throughout the Southwest. He most recently served as vice president of community impact at Southwest Key Programs, a national organization in Austin, Texas. The nonprofit provides education, shelter and alternatives to incarceration for more than 200,000 youth and their families annually.

"Roque has an impressive history of working effectively with communities in a variety of roles," said Anne Kubisch, president of The Ford Family Foundation. "His experience in civic engagement and community building is exactly what we need to build on the solid foundation in place today." Kubisch credits Joyce Akse for helping develop that foundation. "Joyce's invaluable contributions during her tenure left the Institute well positioned to help rural communities meet today's challenges," Kubisch said. "We thank her for all that she has accomplished and wish her the best in her retirement." 

The Ford Institute for Community Building helps build vital rural communities through a suite of leadership training, skill-building resources and networking opportunities for rural leaders across Oregon and Siskiyou County, Calif. The Institute also provides tools and resources that help build a community's collective ability to get things done.

As the new director of the Institute, Barros will lead the Ford Institute Leadership Program and associated trainings. In his work with Southwest Key Programs, he created a curriculum that builds the capacity of local residents to lead the change they want to see in their neighborhoods. 

He has worked as a community adviser to communities nationwide on how to conduct resident-led work. In addition, he served as the interim president of the Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation and as executive director of Los Niños, an organization involved in community development and educational programs along the U.S.-Mexico border. 

Barros has a bachelor's degree in business administration from the University of Redlands, Calif. He is married and has an 11-year-old son.

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