Announcement, News, Press Release

GreenLight Fund Bay Area Announces New Executive Director Hire

Nov 6, 2017

San Francisco Bay Area


GreenLight Bay Area welcomes Kate Schwass as their new Executive Director.  Kate Schwass comes to GreenLight Fund with over a decade of experience working with nonprofits – from small, local organizations to large, national institutions. Most recently, she served as the Founding Bay Area Executive Director and Interim National VP of Development and Communications at CollegeSpring – a national nonprofit focused on helping low-income students realize their college potential. While at CollegeSpring, Kate tripled the number of students served locally, doubled the fundraising revenue, and built a diverse and committed regional board of directors. Previously, she served in leadership roles at Envision Education, the Muscular Dystrophy Association and the Council of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse in Santa Barbara.  In 2017, Kate was named a Cross-Sector Leadership Fellow of the Presidio Institute, a program sponsored by the White House in support of leaders working to unlock solutions to society’s most complex and pressing challenges.


“I am thrilled to join the GreenLight Fund team,” said Kate Schwass about the transition. “This organization effectively identifies urgent areas of community needs and then deploys the best of best social innovations to address those needs.  I am eager to partner with our Bay Area communities to identify the next GreenLight Fund investment and work closely with the selected organization to ensure their successful local launch.”

GreenLight Fund Bay Area is currently kicking off their fifth selection cycle, with a focus on the needs of low-income communities in San Jose. GreenLight Bay Area runs an annual process in collaboration with a local Selection Advisory Council made up of key community leaders to identify critical gaps and needs; bring in innovative social impact programs that have significant, evidence-based outcomes; launch a new program each year with significant early-stage funding; and galvanize local and national support to achieve sustainability and scale in the Bay Area.

In her new role, Schwass will build strategic partnerships, collaborate with the local Selection Advisory Council and support GreenLight Fund’s current grantees.  Previous GreenLight investments have included Genesys Works, uAspire, Springboard Collaborative, and Blueprint Math Fellows.  Schwass will also be closing the Bay Area’s second fund of $3.5M to support the next four portfolio investments. Recent fund investors include the Hewlett Foundation, Lisa & John Pritzker, an anonymous donor, Alec Perkins, and The San Francisco Foundation.

GreenLight Fund’s National Executive Director and Co-Founder, Margaret Hall remarked, “We’re excited to have Kate onboard. She has extensive experience in the nonprofit world, and deep connections with the Bay Area community. Kate’s knowledge and experience will propel the Bay Area site to new heights.”  John Simon, GreenLight Fund’s Co-Founder and Board Chair echoed Margaret’s enthusiasm “I’m excited to partner with Kate in closing out Bay Area’s second fund, which will support the next four innovations being brought to the Bay Area. We’ve seen the investments from the first fund thrive – leveraging over $10M in follow-on dollars and serving 4,000 individuals in the past year alone.”

GreenLight Fund Bay Area’s founding Executive Director, Casey Johnson will be celebrated at the organization’s NEXT 5 Year Anniversary Gala on Friday, November 10th, where she will also ceremonially “pass the baton” to Kate Schwass.  Johnson will be assuming a new role with GreenLight Fund as National Portfolio Director.  

About GreenLight Fund

The GreenLight Fund is a national venture philanthropy organization that transforms the lives of children, youth and families in high-poverty urban areas by creating local infrastructure and a consistent annual process to identify critical needs and bring in and sustain social impact programs locally. Founded in Boston in 2003, GreenLight has grown to six cities since 2013. GreenLight aims to grow a national network of sites that learn and work collaboratively to find and spread proven social impact solutions that achieve meaningful and measurable impact on critical issues in local communities.

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