Content excerpted and adapted from an original Community Foundation of Greater Flint press release.
Isaiah M. Oliver, president and CEO of the Community Foundation of Greater Flint (CFGF) and CMF trustee has announced his resignation effective July 28, 2023. According to a CFGF press release, Oliver, his wife Shay and the couple’s four children are moving to Jacksonville, Florida where he has accepted the position of president of The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida.
A native of Flint, Oliver has served in the community foundation’s leadership role since 2017. Over the past six years he has led the development of a five-year strategic plan, asset growth, staff expansion and a vision that centers equity in all of the foundation’s work. Assets under management grew under Oliver’s leadership, from $254 million in 2017 to $283 million at the end of 2022.
“The community foundation hit a home run when Isaiah accepted the position of president and CEO of CFGF,” Mark Piper, CFGF Board Chair said. “Having grown up in Genesee County and serving in the community in various capacities prior to accepting the position, Isaiah had an innate understanding of the strengths and needs of the community. His amicable demeanor and tireless energy allowed him to make partnerships locally and nationally that helped bring resources and recognition to the area, that we may not have received otherwise.
“His ability to expand, develop, and support the terrific staff at the community foundation has been essential to supporting the growth that we have experienced during Isaiah’s tenure,” Piper continued. “Most importantly, Isaiah gave leadership to centering equity, a lasting legacy we will continue to preserve.”
Assuming leadership during the height of the Flint water crisis, his hometown roots lent credibility during a pivotal point in the foundation’s history. With a person born and bred in Flint at the helm, he was able to gather diverse groups together and build trust in new partnerships. Always committed to finding a better path forward, Oliver broadened the foundation’s community impact. Under his leadership he completed the development and operationalization of Educare Flint, a premiere early childhood education center that serves 220 children.
“We realized through the water crisis that charity isn’t enough to fix all the issues that were facing our community,” Oliver said. “With authentic community engagement and an ear to hear them, we were able to marshal resources beyond philanthropy for greater impact.”
He leveraged the foundation’s experience within the Flint water crisis as the COVID-19 pandemic evolved, creating a taskforce on racial inequities that laid bare the inequities that were always present.
Bringing partners together, he lifted up local voices as a way to deepen the community’s understanding of the health inequities in cities like Flint. With a frank and honest style, Oliver brought national attention to the foundation’s work and new dollars for immediate impact from national funders like the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, Ford Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the Sony Global Justice Fund.
“Trust takes time. We are living into listening closely, deeply engaging folks that don’t have access to the table,” Oliver said. “It’s about co-creating a future where we can all contribute to it together.”
Oliver established the Isaiah and Shay Oliver Community Leadership Fund at CFGF to provide more resources for innovative programs reflective of the community’s voice.
“I have spent my career in Flint and am confidently closing this chapter. I look forward to occupying a new vantage point to serve and sacrifice, leveraging philanthropy to secure generational change for families,” Oliver said. “I remain grateful for my time as a champion for Flint and progress towards a bold and ambitious vision for my hometown. It has been an honor to partner with so many individuals and organizations to achieve equitable results on behalf of the community we serve.”
Over the next three months Oliver will support the foundation through the leadership transition. Piper and the CFGF Executive Committee will lead a search committee to identify the foundation’s new president and CEO.
Read the full press release.