Old North Foundation Names Nikki Stewart as Exec. Director
June 25, 2020 — The Old North Foundation, a Boston nonprofit responsible for historic site operations and interpretative, educational, and preservation programs at the Old North Church historic site, recently announced the appointment of Nikki Stewart as the organization’s executive director.
Stewart succeeds Stephen Ayres, who retired in December after serving as executive director of the Old North Foundation (ONF) since 1997. Nancy Csaplar has been filling the role on an interim basis.
“We are delighted to welcome Nikki, who is a highly regarded nonprofit leader with a clear passion for connecting audiences to local history and extensive fundraising expertise that will ensure the Old North Foundation continues to grow and prosper,” said Christopher Goguen, ONF board chair. “She is deeply committed to preserving the Old North legacy and the valuable lessons it teaches us about community, patriotism and civic engagement.”
In her new role, Stewart will be responsible for overseeing ONF’s efforts to emphasize the importance of education, encourage active citizenship, and inspire civic engagement throughout the nation. In addition, she will work with stakeholders to support preservation of America’s historic monuments and sites.
Stewart, who starts in the job June 29, said, “I am excited to join an incredibly talented group of staff and board members who share a commitment to the history and legacy of Old North. I look forward to partnering with the team to chart a vision for Old North’s future as we approach the 250th anniversary of the lantern signal on a night that changed the course of American history.”
Prior to joining ONF, Stewart served as vice president of development at United South End Settlements, where she led the organization’s fundraising and communications efforts, including implementation of a five-year strategic plan and the launch of a capital campaign. She also launched the Change Maker Dinner series and revitalized the Harriet Tubman Gallery as a venue for events and exhibitions.
She also serves as board chair of ZUMIX, an East Boston-based youth arts organization that empowers young people to build successful futures for themselves through music, technology, and creative employment. In addition, she is the co-founder and part-time host of the award-winning Hub History podcast on Boston’s history.
Stewart earned bachelor’s and law degrees from Northeastern University. She has been named The Association of Fundraising Professionals Massachusetts’ 2019 Outstanding Fundraising Rising Star. In 2018, she received the Get Konnected! Network’s GK10 award for advancing racial equity.
Old North welcomes approximately 150,000 visitors annually while overseeing the use and preservation of an enduring symbol of American independence, and works with the City of Boston, the U.S. National Park Service, the Freedom Trail Foundation, and other nonprofits to foster educational and interpretative programs for students and visitors.