Weissberg Foundation Welcomes New Executive Director

Posted on October 18, 2021

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

We at Weissberg Foundation are delighted to announce that after a nation-wide search we have selected Ricshawn Adkins Roane to serve as Executive Director.

Ricshawn comes to us at a moment of tremendous change, at a time when we are grappling with the recent passing of our founder, Marvin Weissberg, and the depths of anti-Black racism that the killing of George Floyd laid bare — two deaths, one private and one public. Both losses have led us to deepen our work to change the systems that exclude marginalized groups and remove barriers to their power.

Weissberg Foundation is a Virginia-based family foundation rooted in the values and experience of our founder, Marvin Weissberg. We envision a world that recognizes inequities and actively seeks to dismantle structural racism by continuously building access, opportunity, and power. We serve as funders while also supporting and collaborating with organizations that empower those most negatively impacted by systemic racism.

Ricshawn’s history of and commitment to working at the intersection of philanthropy, advocacy, and public policy for economic, racial, and gender justice is a perfect fit for this moment and our organization. Her philanthropic vision is to lead the return of resources extracted by colonialism, exploitation, racism, exclusion, and sexism to the communities most impacted. Ricshawn most recently served as Vice President of Philanthropy and Chief of Staff at the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, a national education-focused private foundation. As Vice President she led philanthropic grantmaking, established strategy, and worked closely with grantees and potential grantees to create collaborative partnerships. As Chief of Staff she served as an advisor to the Executive Director, providing analysis and strategic counsel on institutional priorities, organization change and culture, stakeholder relationships, and external affairs.

“Ricshawn was the unanimous choice to lead the Foundation, possessing all the qualities we had outlined for the role. As a mission driven, justice-focused leader, she will be an effective change manager that can lead across lines of difference, through partnerships, building consensus and skillfully compromising while staying true to her core values. She brings a deep and abiding belief in racial and social justice and a strong understanding of systemic racism and intersectionality. A values-driven leader with strong emotional intelligence, and impactful communication skills, Ricshawn’s strategic thinking adds enormous value to the Foundation’s next chapter.”

— Nina Weissberg, Trustee, Chair of Search Committee

“I am delighted to partner with the Board, Staff, and Stakeholders to lead this next chapter in the life of the Foundation. I look forward to building on the strong foundation laid since inception by the Weissberg family, and the commitments to centering Black voices, funding BIPOC led and centered organizations, and utilizing trust-based philanthropic practices championed by my predecessor, Hanh Le.

My commitment to ending anti-Black racism and working for racial justice has been fundamental to my existence as a Black cisgender woman living at the intersections of race, gender, and class. That commitment to justice extends not only outward into community, but also inward into the very idea and practice of institutional philanthropy. As a sector, we are grappling with the systems that both create and necessitate institutional philanthropy. We are asking fundamental questions around what roles government and philanthropy should play, who was harmed in the accumulation of philanthropic assets and what reparative actions are necessary to repair that harm, how white supremacy culture shows up within private philanthropy and harms BIPOC staff and grantees, and how power will be ceded to decide how philanthropic assets are invested and distributed.

The Weissberg Foundation impressed me early and often with its willingness to grapple with these questions and embark on a new journey of giving to meet this moment of evolution. Together with the Board and Staff, I am committed to ensuring that the Foundation’s mission, values, strategic plan, and operating practices reflect a commitment to racial justice and be aligned with a shared vision for liberation in Virginia and the region.”

— Ricshawn Adkins Roane

Please join us in welcoming Ricshawn to the Weissberg Foundation.

Yours,

  • Tamara Copeland
  • Edward Jones
  • Courtney Morris
  • Rachel Weissberg Martin
  • Nina Weissberg
  • Wesley Weissberg