CEO Chris Askin Set to Retire January 28, 2022
With Goals Fulfilled, Dreams Achieved and the Community Well Served
Retirement Fast Approaching for Chris Askin, Longtime President & CEO of the Community Foundation of Northern Nevada
By David Stipech
Director of Communications and Marketing
The new millennium was just months old when, in June 2000, the seven-member Board of Directors of northern Nevada’s fledgling Community Foundation hired local nonprofit leader Chris Askin as its Executive Director.
After nearly 22 years as the driving force behind the organization’s impressive growth and far-reaching community benefit, Askin last fall announced his retirement, effective Jan. 28, 2022.
During Askin’s two decades in leading the Community Foundation – the Board elevated him to President and CEO in 2007 – the organization has consistently increased its managed assets, added services to support fundholders, donors and nonprofits, and helped bring about countless, meaningful impacts in the community. The organization recently updated its name to Community Foundation of Northern Nevada (formerly Western Nevada).
“Building an organization that has earned the community’s faith, trust, and friendship has been the honor of my life,” Askin said. “Leading the Community Foundation was a dream come true for me. I am grateful for having had the opportunity to build an organization from the ground up. I’ve been extremely fortunate to have held a leadership role that has fit my skill sets and abilities – and one that has been so personally and professionally rewarding.”
The mission of the Community Foundation of Northern Nevada is to “strengthen our community through philanthropy and leadership by connecting people who care with causes that matter.” The Community Foundation encourages philanthropic giving as a way of life, administers funds, provides expertise to guide fundholders, and leads several initiatives aimed at addressing community issues. Fundholders can receive tax advantages and other financial benefits while giving back to the community they love and people they treasure – in their backyard or across the globe.
Askin took on the Executive Director role in 2000, as a new leader of a new organization in an industry that was new to our region. The Community Foundation had been established in 1998, at a time when 650 community foundations existed in the United States. Today that number has grown to more than 750 nationwide. “It is clear that the concept of a community foundation is powerful, effective, and works incredibly well,” Askin said.
Over his career, Askin earned the philanthropic industry’s top certifications: Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) in 1996, prior to joining the Community Foundation, and Certified Specialist in Planned Giving (CSPG) in 2003. The certifications reflect his expertise, as well as his long-established practice of avidly reading everything available on funds and fundraising, community foundations, leadership and more, while networking with a circle of colleagues across the country.
Today, Askin sees the results of his years of work reflected in the expertise of his 11-person staff, a dynamic Professional Advisors Council, and an impressive list of Board, committee and “Ambassador” members. Over the past two decades, they’ve all worked together to secure more than $220 million in gifts received, $145 million in grants and scholarships distributed, and assets of more than $150 million.
“Throughout his nearly 22 years, Chris has provided the Community Foundation of Northern Nevada with outstanding leadership through strong visioning and strategic thinking that has guided the staff and our board to where it is today,” current Board Chair Kevin Melcher said. “The local and regional networking developed under Chris’ direction has benefited countless people through philanthropy and catapulted the Community Foundation into positions of leadership on a number of important community initiatives.”
For Askin, it’s all about serving the fundholders and the people of the community. “The board leadership, professional staff, and overwhelming support from donors has only just begun to make our community better for all of us and for future generations,” Askin said. “Our future is brighter, thanks to these committed people.”
More than 100 of those committed people have served with Askin on the Community Foundation Boards during his tenure.
“Thinking about Chris and the impact he has had on the Community Foundation of Northern Nevada brings a smile to my face,” longtime Board member and former Board Chair Jennifer Satre said. “When I first became a trustee in the fall of 2001, the fledgling Foundation had assets of just a few million dollars and a staff of two. Chris has always understood the importance of building relationships, whether with staff, the board, fundholders, or others in the community.”
A committee has been formed and a search is currently underway with the goal of naming Askin’s successor by year’s end.
“With Chris’ steady guidance, his passion for our community, and his commitment to making a difference,” Satre said, “the Community Foundation is in an excellent position to continue to grow and impact our community for the good of all.”