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May 18, 2022
SouthCoast Comm. Foundation Names Leonard Lee as President
Leonard M Lee
Leonard Lee

April 1, 2022 — The SouthCoast Community Foundation, based in New Bedford, a leading source of philanthropic support to nonprofits in southeastern Massachusetts, yesterday announced that Leonard M. Lee has been appointed president and chief executive officer of the organization.

Lee succeeds John Vasconcellos, who retired at the end of 2021 after serving five years as president of the SouthCoast Community Foundation. He will start in the job at the end of April. During the interim, Sarah Rose, director of engagement, and Charles Holley, director of finance and administration, have been responsible for day-to-day operations.

“We are thrilled to have a leader of Leonard’s caliber joining the community foundation,” said Linda Bodenmann, board chair. “His extensive management background and entrepreneurial spirit, combined with his passion for community service, make him the right leader for the organization and will serve our community well as he furthers the Foundation’s focus on education, economic opportunity, and elevating the arts.”

She added that Lee is joining the foundation “at a pivotal time and will be instrumental in advancing our racial equity and social justice initiatives to address structural inequalities and inequities.”

Lee currently serves as general manager and curator for the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation and as a consultant to Kelley Chunn & Associates, which provides strategic communications and cause marketing for diversity, inclusion, and social change.

Previously, he held senior leadership roles for the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, addressing community health issues through youth programs such as violence prevention and Safe Spaces for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and/or Questioning, Intersex, Asexual and/or Allied (LGBTQIA+). He also was the deputy commissioner of Public Health for the state of Connecticut.

Lee also served as executive director, including Action for Boston Community Development, the Dorchester Neighborhood Service Center; Opening the Doors Wider in Nursing (ODWIN) Learning Center; Mission Works, and the Roxbury YMCA.

He founded the ‘Masking the Community’ initiative he founded that mobilized the distribution of free masks to people with pre-existing conditions, people of color, seniors, and first responders within Boston, Brockton, Lowell, and Springfield during the height of the coronavirus pandemic.

“I look forward to building on the relationships I already carry in Brockton, New Bedford, and Taunton and forging new ones in the other cities and towns the organization serves,” Lee said. “This role feels like a natural continuation of a career that I’ve dedicated to fulfilling strategic missions, most notably racial equity, social justice, and incentives, through bold organizational development and programmatic initiatives.”

Lee holds a degree in business management from Johnson & Wales University and a certificate in nonprofit management from Boston University.

Since it was established in 1995, the SouthCoast Community Foundation has distributed more than $50 million from more than 200 funds to humanitarian, educational, and cultural organizations in the region.

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