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Chris DeCardy Named President of The Heinz Endowments

PITTSBURGH, Pa., Jan 9, 2023 -- Chris DeCardy was today named the new President of The Heinz Endowments. Mr. DeCardy, 56, a former senior executive with major U.S. foundations, currently is a consultant serving foundations and nonprofit organizations and will move to Pittsburgh from Menlo Park, California where he lives with his family.

The Heinz family announced the appointment after a 10-month national executive search and selection process following the departure of former President Grant Oliphant in February last year when he joined the Conrad Prebys Foundation in San Diego, California.

Mr. DeCardy will take up his position with the Endowments in April 2023. “We are delighted to appoint Chris to lead the Endowments and to continue to advance our philanthropic mission at this challenging and most critical time for our community,” said Endowments Board Chairman, André Heinz.

“We have found a leader whose values align with our long-standing commitment to serve our region in ways that not only help sustain the invaluable work of our nonprofits, but which help them to develop, flourish and maximize their impact. The Pittsburgh community will benefit enormously from the exemplary leadership experience Chris brings to the Endowments and his work as a passionate, thoughtful and respected collaborator across the broad philanthropic sector.”

Most recently, Mr. DeCardy was Acting Chief Executive Officer with the San Francisco-based ClimateWorks Foundation, comprising a team of researchers, strategists, collaborators and grantmakers dedicated to ending the climate crisis.

Previously, he served as Vice President and Director of Programs with the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, one of the largest U.S. grantmaking foundations, with a domestic and international focus on conservation, science, reproductive health and rights, children’s health and education, leadership and capacity strengthening and community programs.

During his 18 years with the foundation, he facilitated with its Board, staff and grantees strategic planning and impact assessment of its more than $340 million in annual grants with 1,600 active grantees.

He led development of new programs, including expansion of the foundation’s regional place-based grantmaking with a focus on visual and performing arts, early childhood education and out of school youth programs to build civic, creative, educational and life skills.

Commenting on his appointment, Mr. DeCardy said: “I have long admired the extraordinary work of The Heinz Endowments’ Board and staff in close partnership with the community. I am excited and honored to be joining one of our nation’s most influential and respected foundations.”

He added: “The Endowments and the Heinz family have a distinguished history of addressing the most important issues of the day for families and individuals with impact not only locally, but also nationally. Continuity across the Endowments’ current grantmaking areas with a look to greater impact given present economic and social dynamics will be a top priority.

“The Endowments’ commitment to community and collaboration as the backbone for lasting change resonates deeply with me. I look forward to learning from and working with nonprofit and civic leaders across the region.”

Mr. DeCardy has a background in strategic communications, network advocacy and program development, and he previously helped launch, then manage, a Washington D.C.-based environmental communications nonprofit, Environmental Media Services (now called Resource Media). The initiative was credited as being a ‘mainstay for environmental journalists’ in their reporting of federal and international environmental news.

He has helped to create and also serve on the boards of several nonprofit organizations working on localized climate action, media capacity building for conservation organizations and broadening the impact of climate philanthropy. He has long been active in his local community, currently serving as Chair of the Planning Commission for Menlo Park, California.

In his current work as a consultant serving U.S. foundations and nonprofits, Mr. DeCardy focuses primarily on issues related to climate change advocacy and policy at local, state, and federal levels.

Mr. DeCardy grew up in Champaign, Illinois, and earned a BA in Journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Masters Degree in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School. He will relocate with his family to Pittsburgh.

The Heinz Endowments awarded grants in 2022 totaling $92 million, mostly to nonprofit organizations in western Pennsylvania, and currently has assets of approximately $2.1 billion.