A note from the Weissberg Foundation’s Chairman

Posted on November 18, 2020 | Marvin Weissberg , Weissberg Foundation

To our friends and grantee partners,

It is with sadness—and deep gratitude for all that she has accomplished—that I share the news that Hanh Le, our Executive Director of the past five years, will be leaving Weissberg Foundation at the end of the year. We would not be where we are today without Hanh’s brilliance, moral clarity, and tenacity. She has worked tirelessly to challenge the Foundation and the philanthropic sector to think differently, do better, and be better. Under Hanh’s leadership, we have come to embrace anti-racism as a fundamental imperative/organizing principle of progressive philanthropy, challenging ourselves and our grantees to understand the role that race and racism play, to look at our work through that lens, and to center Black voices.

On a personal level, I am so grateful for all that Hanh has done to make the Foundation a more thoughtful and effective force for justice, for the many things she has taught me and challenged me to think more deeply about, and for her warm friendship. When I started this foundation more than thirty years ago, I did so with a basic optimism that we could help make our community and our world a more fair, decent, and inclusive place. That optimism was rooted in my own life experiences— as a person who grew up during the Great Depression, watching my immigrant parents struggle but ultimately built a successful business and one who had attended racially segregated schools in Washington, D.C. and served in a segregated Army, but later saw my country and community profoundly transformed by a Civil Rights Revolution. But my optimism was tempered—by an understanding that progress is fragile, that gains are achieved through struggle, that forces of resistance and backlash do not yield lightly, and that, in every generation, progress requires new energy and creativity. From my first meeting with Hanh, I saw that she— like me, a first- generation American—understood and shared my tempered optimism and commitment to doing the hard work needed to make progress and believed that she was the right person to advance the Foundation’s work. I was not wrong. Hanh has made us a more effective and forward-looking version of what we had been and long aspired to be. It has been immensely fulfilling to watch that happen.

As the Foundation continues to evolve and grow, the work and learning that Hanh has led will continue to guide our next steps as we carry on the fight for racial justice, help those in need, and work to strengthen and protect our democracy. I know our dedicated staff and board will work hard to move the work forward.

We wish Hanh all the best as she takes this well-earned time off and look forward eagerly to seeing what she does next.

The Foundation will begin our search for a new Executive Director in the new year. Please check our website for more updates in the coming weeks.

Yours,
Marvin Weissberg