SouthCoast Community Foundation Announces New President and CEO

Mar 31, 2022

Passionate community leader Leonard M. Lee to head the organization.


NEW BEDFORD, MA — The SouthCoast Community Foundation Board of Directors is pleased to announce the appointment of Leonard M. Lee as the organization’s new President and CEO. Lee brings over 30 years of public, private, and nonprofit expertise, including leadership roles committed to advancing public health and advocating for historically underrepresented, marginalized communities. Lee is the fourth president to hold the position since the organization’s inception in 1995. He will start his new role at the end of April 2022 and succeeds John Vasconcellos, who retired from the position in December 2021.

“We are thrilled to have a leader of Leonard’s caliber joining the Community Foundation,” stated Board Chair Linda Bodenmann. “His extensive management background and entrepreneurial spirit, combined with his passion for community service, make him the right leader for the organization and will serve our community well as he furthers the Foundation’s focus on education, economic opportunity, and elevating the arts. Leonard joins us at a pivotal time and will be instrumental in advancing our racial equity and social justice initiatives to address structural inequalities and inequities. We are excited to introduce him to our community partners and funders over the next several months, including during our Annual Meeting in June.”

Lee comes to the Community Foundation from his post as General Manager and Curator for the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation and as a consultant to Kelley Chunn & Associates, an award-winning agency providing strategic communications and cause marketing for diversity, inclusion, and social change. Previously, Lee held senior leadership roles for the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, addressing community health issues through youth programs such as violence prevention and Safe Spaces for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and/or Questioning, Intersex, Asexual and/or Allied (LGBTQIA+). He was also the Deputy Commissioner of Public Health for the State of Connecticut.

Additionally, Leonard served several nonprofits as their Executive Director, including Action for Boston Community Development (ABCD) for the Dorchester Neighborhood Service Center; Opening the Doors Wider in Nursing (ODWIN) Learning Center, an adult education program for individuals seeking to earn or finish college degrees; Mission Works a capacity-building nonprofit; and the Roxbury YMCA.

Lee’s success in fundraising, building relationships, and championing positive change, is exemplified in the ‘Masking the Community’ initiative he founded that mobilized the distribution of free masks to people with pre-existing conditions, people of color, seniors, and first responders within Boston, Brockton, Lowell, and Springfield during the height of the pandemic. As a result, Leonard was selected as one of Boston Magazine’s COVID-19 Heroes in the Best of Boston 2020 Edition. In 2021, harnessing his extensive experience as a community organizer, Lee ran for Boston City Council (District 4).

A native Bostonian who grew up in the Franklin Field Housing Development in Dorchester, Lee holds a degree in business management from Johnson & Wales University and a Certificate in Nonprofit Management from Boston University. Leonard is a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., a father of three adult children, and a proud new grandfather. Lee plans to relocate to the South Coast region.

“I’m beyond excited to be joining the Community Foundation, a well-respected organization known for championing important causes and supporting the vital work of nonprofits in the South Coast region,” commented Leonard Lee. “I look forward to building on the relationships I already carry in Brockton, New Bedford, and Taunton and forging new ones in the other cities and towns the organization serves. This role feels like a natural continuation of a career that I’ve dedicated to fulfilling strategic missions, most notably racial equity, social justice, and incentives, through bold organizational development and programmatic initiatives. I can’t wait to get started.”

Lee was selected from an extensive national search conducted by Kittleman & Associates in partnership with the Community Foundation search committee, led by Board member and Assistant Clerk Jonathan Rounds.

The SouthCoast Community Foundation is a nonprofit serving the communities of Southeastern Massachusetts through philanthropy. The Community Foundation mission is to mobilize philanthropy by matching donors and resources with community needs for the benefit of our region. Since 1995, the organization has distributed over $50 million from more than 200 funds to humanitarian, educational, and cultural organizations in the region. For more information, visit


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