Community Foundation announces new CEO


Susan True comes with extensive nonprofit experience

APTOS — Nearly one year after Community Foundation Santa Cruz County (CFSCC) CEO Lance Linares announced his retirement, the organization has hired his replacement.

Susan True, who led two Santa Cruz County nonprofit organizations before taking a position in Oakland in 2013, agreed to take the position after a nationwide search that began with 100 candidates.

“I thought, ‘oh my gosh, this is the opportunity of a lifetime,’” True said. “I mean, to lead this organization at this time, in a community that I love.”

When True starts on Oct. 11, she will be at the helm of an organization with $120 million in assets, a number that has grown from $6 million 22 years ago.

“It’s phenomenal, and so we’re just ready for this next phase,” True said.

That includes a renewed focus on education and economic vitality, in addition to the numerous other areas on which the organization focuses, True said.

True served as executive director of CASA of Santa Cruz County and First 5 Santa Cruz County.

In 2013, she was a Sloan Fellow and earned her master’s degree at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business. 

Most recently, she was director of Education Strategy & Ventures for the Kenneth Rainin Foundation.

CFSCC Board President Terry Medina said True came with “the right combination of education and professional experience.”

A succession plan adopted by the board, which took two years to create, guided the organization through the recruitment and hiring process, Medina said.

“Frankly, I wasn’t sure we would find a person locally,” he said. “I feel so fortunate that we came up with her.”

Marilyn Calciano, CFSCC board vice president and chair of the search committee, said the board talked to donors, nonprofits and community leaders about their hopes for the new CEO.

“A caring and proven leader with local knowledge was on the top of everyone’s list,” she said. “We found her.” 

Linares held the chief executive position for 22 years. He said he will remain for the rest of the year to help with True’s transition.


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