Announcing Our New Executive Director, Kendall Clawson


Many of you were able to attend GRANTMAKERS’ annual meeting where we honored our founder, Joyce White, who is retiring after nearly 20 years of service to our collective community. It would be an understatement to say that Joyce has made a tremendous impact on our region; she has had a profound impact on philanthropy’s national footprint and has placed our local organization on the map in terms of innovation, effectiveness, collaboration and bold new directions.

Joyce has led us, mentored us and at times lifted us through so many shifts in our field, our community and our country. She is the voice in our head, the hand on our shoulder, the tireless purveyor of advice and wisdom when we need it the most. She is a friend and a mentor, a sage and an advocate.

When Joyce announced to the GRANTMAKERS Board her plans to retire – and she graciously gave us time to absorb a fact that we did not really want to accept – we were daunted by the thought of finding her replacement.

We placed the search committee in the capable hands of Martha Richards, who expertly led the effort to recruit GRANTMAKERS’ new executive director. I’m excited to share that Kendall Clawson, a dynamic and experienced nonprofit leader, will be taking the helm of GRANTMAKERS in January 2018.

Kendall currently serves as the executive director of the American Leadership Forum of Oregon (ALFO), a statewide organization dedicated to bringing together leaders from various sectors throughout the country to deepen their leadership skills and strengthen their commitment to collaboratively work on public issues. Under Kendall’s leadership, ALF launched a program to address Oregon’s urban rural divide, an effort designed to understand differences, find community, inspire collaboration and create opportunity.

Kendall is joining our organization at a critical time for our members, our collective community and for the philanthropic sector. Her deep expertise with nonprofits, leadership development, equity and bridging the urban and rural divide align directly with our organization’s strategic objectives and our vision for the future of our field.

Kendall, who is also a graduate of the ALF program, previously served as the Deputy Chief of Staff for former Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber, MD, and current Oregon Governor Kate Brown where she was responsible for leading a department that included the Governor’s Executive Appointments, Constituent Services, Economic and Business Equity, Arts and Culture, and Affirmative Action/Diversity and Inclusion. 

In addition to her work in state government, Kendall has worked in non-profit management for 24 years. Her leadership roles include serving as vice president of the United Way of the Pioneer Valley in Springfield, Massachusetts and as executive director of the Q Center in Portland. Kendall currently serves on the boards of Portland Parks, the National Board of the American Leadership Forum, Planned Parenthood of the Columbia Willamette and the United Way of the Columbia Willamette.

I hope you’ll join me in welcoming Kendall to our organization, and you will have many upcoming opportunities to meet her. In the meantime, please join me in thanking Joyce for her many contributions to our community as she enters this next chapter of her life. She has assured all of us that she will still be actively engaged in our community, and I know we are all grateful to know that she will still be a bright spot in our constellation.

Kendall can be reached at

Read our press release here.