The Foundation is pleased to announce Barbara Fields has been chosen to be its next President and CEO. Fields succeeds Ann T. Lisi, who is stepping down at the end of June after 30 years with the organization. The nation-wide search was facilitated by Rebecca Swartz, Partner with Isaacson, Miller.
“I am honored and grateful to the Board for the opportunity to lead this great organization,” Fields said. “Worcester's recent successes and surging momentum have been exciting to watch. As President and CEO, I look forward to developing new strategies to build on this momentum and meet the varied needs of an ever-changing population. We will expand our impact in the community, strengthen GWCF's local partnerships and together, further the Foundation's mission of enhancing Worcester in perpetuity.”
Prior to her most recent leadership post at RIHousing, Fields served for 20 years as the founding Executive Director of the Rhode Island office of Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), a national leader in community development. During her tenure, a decade of investment in community-based organizations led to the creation of a nationally recognized community-police partnership in Providence. LISC also provided crucial support for the building of 6,500 affordable homes for Rhode Island families, the construction of nearly 1 million square feet of community space for small businesses and child care space for several thousand children.
Her work with LISC led to a Presidential appointment in the Obama Administration as the New England Regional Administrator for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). At HUD, Fields' priorities included investing in neighborhoods, transit oriented development and supporting community leadership. She led six field offices and represented the Department as the liaison to mayors, state and local officials, members of Congress, private and non-profit developers and the news media.
As CEO and Executive Director of Rhode Island Housing (RIHousing) for the past four years, Fields led the State's effort to invest hundreds of millions of dollars annually into the Rhode Island economy, financing the development of housing and funding mortgages for first-time home buyers. Fields also oversaw federal tax credit programs and expanded loan servicing operations while RIHousing achieved its highest mortgage volume in over 20 years. She was recently recognized by Grow Smart Rhode Island as the 2019 Outstanding Smart Growth Leader for her 25 years as a community leader.
Fields holds degrees from Tufts University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She plans to move from Rhode Island to Worcester to fully integrate herself into the region which the Foundation serves.
“The Board has spent many months finding a dynamic transformational leader to steer the Greater Worcester Community Foundation's future course,” said Carolyn Stempler, who was recently elected as the first African-American woman to become GWCF's Chair of the Board. “Barbara's proven track record in building strong communities and leading economic development efforts positions her to lead the Foundation to future growth, and with it, a better, greater Worcester.”