Youngstown Foundation Names Lynnette Forde President

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — After an extensive national search, Lynnette H. Forde has been named president of The Youngstown Foundation.

Forde was selected after Jan Strasfeld announced in July her plans to retire from her executive director position with the foundation after 15 years.

“We had a pool of exceptional candidates, and Ms. Forde set herself apart with a mission-focused approach to organizational leadership” says Eugenia Atkinson, distribution committee board chairwoman. “Lynnette is highly accomplished with a strong skillset in non-profit advocacy and donor relations. Her proven track record of success makes her the perfect candidate to meet the challenges our community will face moving forward.”

Forde brings to the foundation nearly two decades of experience as a nonprofit executive. Most recently, she served as vice president of government relations & development for Circle Health Services and The Center for Families and Children, a nonprofit organization that provides comprehensive health care, behavioral health, early childhood education and workforce development services for Cuyahoga County residents.

During her time there, she focused on building stakeholder relationships and fundraising from government and philanthropic sources to support programs that improve the quality of life for participants.

“It is an incredible honor to be selected to lead The Youngstown Foundation. I am excited to begin working with the board, staff and bringing the community together to both continue and build upon the foundation’s legacy of excellence” says Forde.

In July, Jan Strasfeld announced plans to retire as the foundation’s executive director after 15 years.

Under Strasfeld’s leadership, the foundation doubled its fund assets, developed new initiatives to provide services and became a regional leader in grantmaking. The foundation invested in the Youngstown Foundation Amphitheatre in downtown Youngstown, the Michael Kusalaba Library branch on the West Side and the Walnut Grove all-inclusive playground in Canfield.

She helped create the YSTAR program, which awards up to $6,000 in scholarship funds to every graduate of Youngstown City School District who chooses to attend Youngstown State University or Eastgate Community College.

In celebration of its 100th anniversary in 2018, the Youngstown Foundation increased its match for donations to local charities through its Support Fund from 5% to 10%, generating over $1 million annually.

Most recently, Strasfeld and leaders from the Community Foundation of the Mahoning Valley and the Raymond John Wean Foundation collaborated on a joint COVID-19 Crisis Relief and Stabilization grant application.

Pictured at top: Lynnette Forde, president of The Youngstown Foundation.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.