The Russell Family Foundation (TRFF) board of directors has named Kathleen Simpson as CEO of the Gig Harbor-based philanthropic organization after she successfully served as interim CEO since January, TRFF announced in a news release yesterday.

Since 2015, Simpson also had been acting as the chief financial officer of TRFF. She will continue to remain involved in TRFF’s impact investing and finances, and the foundation is not looking to appoint a new CFO at this time.

Kathleen Simpson. Courtesy of The Russell Family Foundation.

“Kathleen has led with acuity, grace, and compassion during a significant transitional leadership year for the Foundation in the midst of a pandemic that has impacted our grant-making and investment strategies as well as our community partners,” Eric Russell, board president of TRFF, said in a statement. “It became very clear through her steady guidance that we have the right person in the role and we could not be more thrilled to have Kathleen accept this position and continue modeling our long-held value of humble leadership.”

TRFF, founded by George and Jane Russell, funds local, regional, and global change through community investment in causes that include resources for grassroots leaders, environmental sustainability, and global peace. TRFF largely focuses its efforts in the Puget Sound, with a particular emphasis on Pierce County.

Simpson became interim CEO after the retirement of Richard Woo, who was CEO for 20 years. Under Simpson, TRFF pivoted grant-making approaches to support the immediate needs of community nonprofits during the COVID-19 pandemic. This included a $1 million grant for the Pierce County Connected Fund to help residents with urgent human service needs and nearly $2 million in additional grants supporting 98 organizations.

“It has been a true pleasure serving as interim CEO of an organization that centers people in all of its work, listening to their needs and partnering on community-driven solutions,” Simpson said in the release. “I look forward to continuing our work together generating impactful solutions for a more peaceful and sustainable region and world.”

Before joining TRFF, Simpson was the director of finance for an independent wealth management firm serving individuals, multigenerational families, and foundations. She also founded and operated a public accounting firm providing CFO services to businesses, high-net-worth individuals, and nonprofits for more than a decade. Simpson is a certified public accountant and has an MBA. She is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Washington State Society of Certified Public Accountants.

She additionally serves on the board of directors for Confluence Philanthropy.