The Community Foundation for Southwest Washington has selected Matt Morton as the organization’s fifth president. Morton will take the helm on April 18, 2022, succeeding Jennifer Rhoads who led the organization for nearly a decade.
Morton currently works as the Equitable Education Portfolio Director at Meyer Memorial Trust, where he leads Oregon’s largest private philanthropic grantmaking strategy focused on K-12 public education. In this role, he oversees a team that manages more than 200 active grants and collaborates closely with communities, nonprofits and public institutions to improve student outcomes. His work involves addressing key issues in education philanthropy, fostering cross-system collaboration, and designing policies and practices that address emerging needs across the state.
“We are honored to welcome Matt as the next President of the Community Foundation,” board chair T. Randall Grove said. “His track record of leadership and building trusted relationships stretches across many facets of our work, which also equips him with a keen understanding of the strengths, challenges and needs of our communities and partners.”
Morton earned the role following a national search conducted by Murphy, Symonds & Stowell in partnership with The 360 Group. The response included a diverse pool of more than 40 applicants who represented a cross section of nonprofit and philanthropic leaders from across the region and nation. Morton’s unique collection of experiences and roles across the nonprofit, philanthropic and public policy sectors, coupled with deep roots in Washington state, elicited unanimous support from a search committee made up of board and community members.
“Matt is ready to hit the ground running and innately understands the foundation’s role and trajectory in this community,” Rhoads said. “He has an excellent background and a clear commitment to equity, both of which will add to the work our team is doing to ensure that everyone in southwest Washington can access opportunity and achieve prosperity.”
Rhoads will serve as an advisor for up to six months during the transition. Under her leadership, the Community Foundation for Southwest Washington distributed over $100 million in grants and grew its total charitable assets more than fivefold, making it the second-largest Community Foundation in Washington State. More recently, the organization has made a commitment to equity that has further refined its programs, which provide grants to nonprofit organizations and scholarships for students. Starting in April, Morton will take on the next iteration of this work by partnering with local donors to grow community giving, collaborating with organizations to accelerate impact and engaging communities around a shared vision for the region.
Prior to working at Meyer Memorial Trust, Oregon’s second-largest foundation, Morton also held roles as the executive director of the Native American Youth and Family Center and the deputy director of the National Indian Child Welfare Association. He also has a lengthy record of volunteerism and public service, including a Governor-appointed position as chair for the Youth Development Council and becoming the first Native American elected to Portland Public Schools’ Board of Education.
Morton said his deep commitment to serving others has always revolved around improving outcomes so that communities can prosper on their own terms. He’s looking forward to continuing these pursuits in southwest Washington when he moves to the region with his wife, Courtaney, and son, Marcus.
“I am incredibly eager to join the Community Foundation and direct my leadership toward improving lives and communities across southwest Washington,” said Morton. “Of equal significance is returning to my home state and connecting with the donors, nonprofits, neighbors and professionals who are contributing to this thriving region every day.”
Throughout his career, Morton has had the privilege to support communities in developing innovative solutions, programs and initiatives to address persistent barriers to community prosperity. These experiences include leading collective impact models to delivering technical assistance and training in urban and rural communities. Morton holds a Master of Education degree from Oregon State University, and graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts from Saint Martin’s University.