Emerging Leader: ‘Sets Inclusive Tone for Transition’

Casey Krell, Incoming President, Community Foundation of the Mahoning Valley

As the incoming president of the Community Foundation of the Mahoning Valley, Casey Krell has made it clear that the future of our organization lies in the first word of our name: community.

Well before the announcement that she would be the organization’s next president, Casey was a central figure in pushing the foundation to be more than just a grantmaker. She led the foundation’s first steps in 2017 toward creating the Healthy Community Partnership – a coalition of local organizations focused on creating systemic changes to improve health outcomes for Valley residents.

She was later instrumental in implementing a community-led model for the Fund for Women & Girls, inviting local women to share in the fund’s direction and grantmaking.

In recent years, as the Community Foundation of the Mahoning Valley worked through the creation and implementation of a new strategic plan, Casey wholeheartedly embraced the work and has played a crucial role in transforming our organization into one that dedicates resources, knowledge, connections and time, as well as money.

From reviewing our grant application form every quarter to see how it can be made easier for nonprofits to complete, to the creation of the community impact team, and from engaging with GV Advisory to examine how we define our work and success to launching CFMV’s emergency grant program, Casey’s leadership shows up in ways big and small.

That work extends to CFMV’s supporting organizations – the Western Reserve Health Foundation, Trumbull Memorial Health Foundation and William Swanston Charitable Fund – as well.

In her most recent role as director of supporting organizations and donor services, she spent much time working with their boards of directors to adjust their focus and make as big an impact on the Mahoning Valley as possible.

All the while, her work has never been about personal accolades or recognition. Casey works hard to make the foundation a reliable and trusted institution for local nonprofits – and, internally, a good place to work – because it is the right thing to do.

After she was named the next president of the Community Foundation, Casey worked with retiring president Shari Harrell to meet with every employee for discussions – often lengthy – about how they felt about their role within the organization, what their capacity was to carry out their job duties (both formal and informal) and what they see as their future with the foundation.

Those conversations led to a restructuring of the CFMV team to better align the work each of our team members is doing – and their personal goals – as well as strengthening the support we can provide to local nonprofits and philanthropists.

Also coming from those discussions was the creation of the philanthropic services director position, a role that will align the stewardship of existing donors, the creation of new funds and our organizational mission to create a Mahoning Valley that works for and supports all residents.

It could have been much easier for Casey to focus on what the leadership transition meant for her alone and simply put her attention to meetings with people outside the foundation who needed to be apprised of what the change meant for them.

But by including staff and gathering their thoughts on what the foundation can be and ensuring that the team assembled by the soon-retiring Shari Harrell stayed together, she set the tone early for what her tenure as president will be like.

Nominated by Shari Harrell.