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November 23, 2020
Three Mass. Nonprofit Leaders Among 'Most Influential' in U.S.
NonProfit Times 2020 Top 50

July 31, 2020 — Three Massachusetts nonprofit leaders have been named among the 50 most powerful and influential nonprofit leaders in the country, according to an annual ranking released yesterday.

Those named in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic to the 23rd annual NPT Power & Influence Top 50, compiled by The NonProfit Times (NPT), were cited for, among other reasons, "blazing the path to getting everyone through this nightmare and ensuring the light at the end of the tunnel isn't an oncoming train."

"This is no time for reveling," NPT noted. "This is going to be a long haul and the sector is in more than capable hands with the executives" it named.

Twenty-four of the 50 nonprofit leaders this year are women, up from 19 last year.

Named to this year's listing from Massachusetts were:

Phil Buchanan

Phil Buchanan, president of The Center for Effective Philanthropy, a Cambridge-based nonprofit that develops data to help funders improve their effectiveness. This is the ninth year Buchanan has been named to the Top 50 list since 2007.

Buchanan was cited for his book Giving Done Right: Effective Philanthropy and Making Every Dollar Count, written before the pandemic, in which he called for greater foundation payouts.

James Canales

James Canales, president of the Barr Foundation, based in Boston, the largest private foundation in Massachusetts. This is the fourth time Canales has been named to the Top 50 list.

"Canales is unafraid of risk and is flexible enough to deal with issues as they arise – like immigration reform, COVID-19, and inequity, NPT noted. By way of example, it highlighted the additional $2.5 million the foundation granted during the pandemic, in addition to regular ongoing grants, "An example of leadership is converting restricted or project-based grants to general operating support."

Yolanda Coentro

Yolanda Coentro, president & CEO the Institute for Nonprofit Practice (INP) in Needham, which helps educate nonprofit leaders. This is the first time Coentro was named to the Top 50 list.

"It is the young who teach established leaders new paths and Coentro embodies that idea," according to NPT. "She’s pushing social justice by training young nonprofit leaders how to be effective and sustainable. INP is becoming a national model because of her."

When Coentro was named to lead INP in 2016, Mark Rosen, chair of the organization's board of directors, said, "Yolanda is a talented leader with significant experience driving organizational growth. She brings to the role a clear vision for INML and a passion for its mission that will bring the organization to an even higher level of systemic impact."

Top 50 honorees are normally feted at a September gathering in Washington, D.C., but this year the event has been postponed due to the pandemic.

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