July 18, 2019
Beth Francis to Be President of Essex Co. Comm. Foundation

Beth Francis
March 22, 2018 —The Essex County Community Foundation, based in Danvers, this week announced Dave Edwards, its president and chief executive officer, will retire and that Beth Francis, currently vice president for development, will succeed him.

Edwards, who joined the Essex County Community Foundation (ECCF) in January 2015, will officially retire in May.

“When Dave joined the foundation just over three years ago, the board felt that he was the right person at the right time to help ECCF grow its impact and relevance in our region, and Dave has proven us right,” said Jon Payson, ECCF's board chair. “During his tenure, the foundation has grown significantly, not only as an engaged caretaker and grantor of philanthropic assets, but also as a catalyst for projects and innovative work to improve the quality of life in the region.”

When Edwards joined ECCF it managed 146 charitable funds and $26 million in charitable assets. Today, the foundation has 190 funds with $70 million in assets.

“ECCF is poised to do even more, and Beth Francis is the right person to take ECCF to the next stage in its growth," said Edwards. "I could not be more pleased that Beth is taking the helm of this wonderful organization.”

Francis joined ECCF in 2016 after 22 years with the YMCA of the North Shore in Beverly, where she served as director of product development and then for nine years as chief development officer. In that role, she raised $6.5 million in capital funds, more than doubled annual charitable operating support, doubled the organization’s number of donors to 4,000 and developed its first planned giving initiative, resulting in more than 70 endowment supporters over three years.

“I am truly honored that I have been trusted to lead ECCF at a time when the foundation has become such a critical part of the health and vitality of Essex County,” said Francis. “I’m inspired by the vision of those that founded ECCF in 1998 and by everyone who has fostered the organization over its 20-year history.”

She added, “The initiatives and plans that Dave has put into place over the last three years have taken the foundation to a new level of impact and I look forward to advancing our work to enrich the quality of life for the people who live, work and raise families here."

Prior to YMCA of the North Shore, Francis served as director of membership and marketing at Beverly Regional YMCA. Before that, she was marketing and communications manager at YMCA of Metropolitan Milwaukee.

Among initiatives Francis will focus on are:
  • Impact Essex County – Launched two years ago, Impact Essex County will be the focus of ECCF’s community leadership efforts over the next decade. Through this effort, it will gather, analyze, and present data to help identify critical issues facing the county, and raise funding and engage partners to address and solve pressing needs.

  • Creative County Initiative – In partnership with the Barr Foundation, the Creative County Initiative seeks to enhance the quality of life in Essex County and increase the vibrancy of local communities by investing in the arts and culture.

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