CEO Peter Dunn to Step Down in June

Dunn’s leadership increased the Community Foundation’s scope and visibility, greatly increasing its impact in the Central New York region.

The Central New York Community Foundation announced today that its President & CEO since 2008, Peter Dunn, is stepping down in June. Until that time, Peter will continue to serve in his role while engaging in transition planning with the board of directors. After his departure, Thomas Griffith, vice president of development, will serve as interim until a successor is named.

“Our region has benefited enormously from the leadership Peter has provided,” says Daniel Fisher, board chair at the Community Foundation. “On behalf of our board of directors, I want to thank Peter for all that he has done for the Community Foundation and the community−the ultimate partner and benefactor of our work. He has led the Community Foundation through tremendous growth and impact over the past 15 years. This is an occasion to celebrate all that Peter and the Community Foundation have accomplished during his tenure and to embrace and pursue new challenges and opportunities to make a difference.”

A nationwide search will be conducted to identify Dunn’s successor. “Peter has done an incredible job boosting the Community Foundation’s impact, reputation, and financial position,” said Bea González, board vice chair. “We will be looking for an energetic individual who can build upon this progress and further the Community Foundation’s bright future.”

During Dunn’s tenure, the Community Foundation’s assets nearly quadrupled from $110 million in 2008 to $399 million in 2022. Annual grantmaking increased from $5.2 million in 2008 to $18.1 million in 2022 and the staff grew from 16 employees to 25.

Dunn’s leadership increased the Community Foundation’s scope and visibility, greatly increasing its impact in the Central New York region. He has served as a community convener in his role by connecting people and organizations with complementary interests and expertise to establish collaborations that make a difference. Examples include completing a $30 million endowment campaign to ensure support for the Say Yes Syracuse scholarship program; the development of LeadSafeCNY, which has invested nearly $2 million to end childhood lead poisoning in the city of Syracuse and has led to the establishment of a new county-wide coalition; and the introduction of Black Equity & Excellence, a grant program that funds Black-led community projects to reverse patterns of historic underinvestment. During his tenure, the Community Foundation also expanded its geographic reach and impact through new regional funding efforts in Oswego, Cortland and Cayuga counties.

“This change is happening at a time when we are in a position of enormous strength,” said Dunn. “The Community Foundation has never been stronger over its 95-year history than it is today. We are in the midst of a strategic planning process that will outline a clear vision for our future. This is a good time for a new leader to take the Community Foundation through its centennial and beyond.”

During his tenure, Dunn led efforts to establish the CNY Philanthropy Center, which has seen hundreds of nonprofit organizations and their constituents cross its threshold for the purposes of collaboration, planning, education, and development. In addition, his leadership strengthened the Community Foundation’s core services including an expanded menu of investment options; an emphasis on using community data to allocate resources and measure change; new charitable giving strategies and processes to engage donors; increased marketing and communications activities; and stronger support and resources for nonprofits through grantmaking and organizational development.

Prior to joining the Community Foundation, Dunn was vice president, philanthropic services at the California Community Foundation in Los Angeles, CA. He is currently a member of the board and treasurer of the Volunteer Lawyers Project of Central New York and the Downtown Committee of Syracuse. He is a member of the boards of the Community Foundations National Standards Board, CenterState CEO and the leadership councils of Say Yes Syracuse and the Early Childhood Alliance of Onondaga County. A native of Buffalo, Dunn received his undergraduate degree from the University of Notre Dame and a Juris Doctor degree from the University at Buffalo School of Law.

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