February 1, 2024
ECCF marks 25 years of service to Essex County

Year-long celebration to culminate with anniversary event at Danversport in November

Danvers, MA — Twenty-five years ago, in 1999, a small organization founded the previous year to help build capacity within Essex County’s nonprofit community officially became Essex County Community Foundation (ECCF).

That first year, founders David Tory and Lorraine Astle laid the building blocks for what is today a systems-based grantmaking organization that has awarded $168 million in grants and scholarships and is leading collaborative efforts to address Essex County’s most pressing social challenges, holistically and at their roots.

“David and Lorraine were true visionaries,” said ECCF President and CEO Beth Francis. “They saw a need right here in the local community, not only for more collaboration within the nonprofit sector but also for increased access to funding, which empowers organizations to fulfill their critical missions.”

ECCF’s mission is to inspire philanthropy that strengthens the communities of Essex County by managing charitable assets, strengthening and supporting nonprofits and engaging in strategic community leadership initiatives. ECCF’s ultimate goal is to improve the quality of life in the 34 cities and towns that make up the region.

A year-long commemoration of ECCF’s 25 years of service to Essex County, which will include special story coverage, social media campaigns and events, will culminate with an anniversary celebration at Danversport on Nov. 13, 2024.

“We are so excited, over the course of the next few months, to reflect on and celebrate ECCF’s work and history, and to imagine and plan for the next 25 years,” said Francis, who announced last fall that she’d be stepping down from her leadership position at the foundation in June 2024. “There are many exciting things on the horizon for ECCF.”

Planning for the Nov. 13 celebration is well underway. Full details of the event, which will include an interactive ECCF “museum” to visually share the foundation’s history, stories and collaborative impact in the community, will be released in the coming weeks. The search for ECCF’s next CEO – led by executive search firm Koya Partners – is also well underway.

“This is going to be a strong, exciting year for ECCF,” said Dick Sumberg, chair of ECCF’s board of trustees. “Beth’s leadership, the staff she has put together, and their combined passion for strengthening our region has really positioned us to move Essex County forward.”

In 2024, ECCF will continue its successful work in elevating arts and culture, bridging the digital divide and increasing access to workforce and economic opportunities, in addition to exploring new collaborations to mitigate the impacts of climate change on the region.

“There is a lot of work ahead of us,” said Sumberg. “But we look forward this year to celebrating 25 years of impact and to welcoming a new leader who will build on this incredible momentum.”

ECCF wants to hear from our friends, grantees and supporters. If you have a story you’d like to share about your engagement with ECCF over the last 25 years, please reach out to the foundation’s communications writer, Michelle Xiarhos Curran, at m.curran@eccf.org.

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