Jun 1, 2023 | Press Releases

The Ford Family Foundation to welcome new president and CEO

Kara Inae Carlisle joins the Foundation this fall with deep experience in place-based grantmaking and lifelong commitment to rural community building

Kara Inae Carlisle The Ford Family Foundation

Kara Inae Carlisle will join The Ford Family Foundation as president and chief executive officer.

Roseburg, Ore. — The Board of Directors of The Ford Family Foundation is pleased to announce that Kara Inae Carlisle will join the Foundation as its third president and CEO this fall. She is preceded by Anne Kubisch, whose tenure spans 10 years, and Norm Smith, who served as the founding president from 1997 to 2013. Kara currently serves as the vice president of programs for the McKnight Foundation in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

“I am beyond thrilled to join The Ford Family Foundation at this exciting moment in the organization’s journey and in this chapter of our nation’s history,” Kara said. “Having spent much of my childhood in a rural community, this work is a homecoming for me. Engaging the strength, creativity, voice and vision of rural communities is essential as we shape a hopeful future for all of us.”

Kara brings deep experience in community-based philanthropy, with over 20 years in the social sector. In her roles both at the McKnight Foundation and previously at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Kara’s career trajectory has many touchpoints with the Foundation’s key impact areas of family, education and community. She has worked in the fields of children, youth and family development, postsecondary success, community economic development and more.

“Kara is the type of leader our organization and rural Oregon needs at this moment,” said Anne Kubisch, current president and CEO of The Ford Family Foundation, who is set to retire this fall. “She’s a natural community builder, humble learner and will bring her expertise to implement the ambitious ten-year strategic plan we have laid out for the Foundation’s work.”

Kara’s connection and commitment to rural communities is lifelong. She was raised in rural Indiana, in a town of fewer than 500 people, and she consistently cites her love and admiration for the hardworking nature and generosity of rural people, who come together and take care of each other in times of need.

“We worked diligently to ensure that the Foundation’s next president and CEO would be the right fit for our goals and the communities we serve,” said Toby Luther, chair of The Ford Family Foundation Board of Directors. “The interest we received from applicants across the country speaks volumes to the work Anne and our staff have done to elevate the Foundation’s profile nationally and to build its reputation as a funder dedicated to rural communities.”

“I can’t wait to introduce Kara to all of the amazing partners we work with across Oregon and Siskiyou County,” Anne Kubisch continued. “This has been the best job of my life.”

“I look forward to becoming a part of the community and building on the proud legacy and ongoing work of the Foundation’s staff, Board and partners,” Kara said. She and her family will relocate from their home in Minneapolis to Roseburg, where she will serve from the Foundation’s headquarters.

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About The Ford Family Foundation
The Ford Family Foundation believes in the power of rural communities. It is a private, nonprofit foundation proudly headquartered in Roseburg, Oregon, serving rural Oregon and Siskiyou County, California. Its investments through grants, scholarships and community building create the conditions so that children have the family, educational and community supports they need to succeed in life. www.tfff.org

General media inquiries
Sarah Pytalski, Learning Officer – Policy and Communications
(541) 492-2396, spytalski@tfff.org

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Caption for photo: Kara Inae Carlisle will join The Ford Family Foundation as president and chief executive officer.


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