Nina Waters plans to retire on Sept. 1, 2023, after nearly 20 years leading the Community Foundation for Northeast Florida, the state’s largest community foundation and a leading philanthropic organization.

Waters, who turns 65 next August, has been on the foundation’s staff since 2001 and has served as its president since 2004.

Board Chairman Brian J. Davis, a U.S. District Court judge, announced the impending leadership change on Tuesday.

“While we are saddened by the thought of her passing, we know she richly deserves the rest and relaxation that comes with retirement,” he said.

The board formed a search committee and engaged the services of a “national search firm with extensive experience in placing community foundation leaders in senior positions,” Davis said. The position will be advertised in early 2023 and the board hopes to hire a new chair by August 30, 2023.

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Established in 1964, the foundation has assets of $630.4 million and has disbursed approximately $640 million in grants since its inception. Through philanthropic and civic activities, the foundation “connects people who care about causes that matter” in Duval, St. Johns, Nassau, Baker, Clay and Putnam counties, according to its website.

Waters, who arrived at the foundation two weeks before the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, has built an organization that is “remarkably well-positioned for the future,” Davis said.

“From those dark days, she has risen as a community leader and pillar whose presence is required at almost every major conversation in our community,” he said. “In partnership with donors, trustees, and the team she has assembled, Nina has ensured that the Community Foundation is, and will continue to be, an anchor philanthropic institution in Northeast Florida.”

A leader in the nonprofit and philanthropic community

Waters joined the foundation as vice president of administration and community leadership, after serving as executive director of the PACE Center for Girls in Jacksonville. During her early years at the foundation, she was “expertly mentored and coached” by Andy Bell, her predecessor as president, she said.

“What has been so incredibly clear to me throughout my time at the Community Foundation is that any success we achieve is a result of the generosity of our fundholders, the tireless work of our partners to nonprofit and unwavering commitment to our mission to drive philanthropy to build a better community by our staff and directors,” Waters said. “It’s never been me, it’s always been us. And we are all grateful to you for trusting us to be your partner in philanthropy.”

In retirement, she said she plans to spend more time with her husband, children and grandchildren. But until then, she will be busy.

“There’s still a lot of work to do together,” she said.

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In July, the Nonprofit Center of Northeast Florida presented Waters with its Sector Advocate Award, which recognizes an individual from Northeast Florida who has “demonstrated an extraordinary level of service and commitment to the local sector for purpose. non-profit”. She was only the third recipient of the award in the center’s 20-year history.

“Nina’s intelligence, generosity, honesty and passion for helping people are well known to everyone in the nonprofit and philanthropic community,” said center CEO Rena Coughlin. funds and focus areas that have increased access and capacity across the sector, and she has never forgotten her roots as a nonprofit staff member. His commitment is deep.

Some of the founding members of the AL Lewis Fund: Joe Louis Barrow (left to right), Branita Mann, JD Staton, Johnnetta Betsch Cole, Nina Waters, U.S. District Judge Brian Davis, Wanda Willis, Velma Monteiro-Tribble, Carol Alexander , Gregory Owens, Darnell Smith, Dr. Atiya Abdelmalik and Dr. Floyd B. Willis.

Among these new funds are the Jacksonville Public Education Fund, the Women’s Giving Alliance and the new AL Lewis Black Opportunity & Impact Fund, both based at the foundation, and the First Coast Relief Fund.

“Nina’s leadership within the nonprofit community has been unparalleled,” Davis said at the time of the center honor. “Nina has led or partnered with others to bring to light a multitude of community issues – responding to crises, investing in research, convening interested stakeholders, inviting national solution providers to present here, collecting funds by connecting generous donors and advocating on their behalf for non-profit organizations that serve all citizens of the First Coast.”

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