The Miami Foundation, the $350 million community foundation uniting donors and causes to improve the quality of life in Greater Miami, today announced Rebecca Fishman Lipsey as its new president and CEO effective June 1st. Lipsey will replace Javier Alberto Soto, who led the Foundation for 10 years and stepped down in September 2019 to join The Denver Foundation, and Joseph A. Fernandez, who served as interim president and CEO since October. Her appointment by the board of trustees concludes an eight-month search that reviewed more than 100 candidates from South Florida and across the nation. Lipsey will assume the role at a critical time, following the organization’s recent launch of The Community Recovery Fund to support nonprofits struggling for resources to help Miami-Dade residents during the COVID-19 response. The Fund has raised more than $1 million.

“Rebecca brings ingenuity, expertise and tenacity, qualities trustees wanted in the Foundation’s next leader,” said Richard Berkowitz, board chair at The Miami Foundation and executive chairman of Berkowitz Pollack Brant. “Especially in this extraordinary and challenging time for Greater Miami, she has the proven ability to unite and inspire residents, institutions and civic leaders to improve life in our community. She will be a transformational leader to help our community foundation support Miami-Dade’s resilience through this pandemic.”


Lipsey comes to the Foundation from Radical Partners, the social impact accelerator organization she founded, which builds cross-sector coalitions and trains social activists to tackle major quality-of-life issues in Greater Miami. Radical Partners has helped emerging leaders scale their civic projects, such as addressing sea-level rise and housing affordability and mobilized more than 100,000 residents to invest and engage in solutions.

“This is a moment for us to show what we’re truly made of. Community foundations have tremendous power to mobilize residents and build coalitions that solve regional issues,” said Lipsey. “Our generosity, empathy and innovation in this moment will define the future of Miami. As we stand together to battle the greatest crisis of our generation, we must ask ourselves what kind of Miami we want to find waiting for us on the other side of this and what will it take for us to get there.”

Previously, Lipsey was the youngest person in history selected to serve on the Florida Board of Education and is the former executive director of Teach For America Miami-Dade, where she more than tripled the organization’s size and multiplied its fundraising by 16 times over. She was valedictorian of her undergraduate class at University of Pennsylvania and holds a master’s degree in education from Bank Street College of Education in New York City. Lipsey began her career as a teacher in Harlem.

The winner of numerous accolades including “Best Non-Profit Executive” by the International Stevie Award for Women in Business, Lipsey is also an alumnus of The Miami Foundation’s Miami Fellows program (Class VI), which selects only 16-18 top emerging leaders every two years to deepen their understanding of the community and connect them to the elected officials, influential decision-makers and local activists shaping Miami-Dade’s future. She is also the 2017 recipient of the Foundation’s Ruth Shack Leadership Award, which annually honors an individual age 40 or under who reflects steadfast ethics and unselfish service to Greater Miami.

“This is a homecoming for Rebecca,” said Fernandez, the Florida region president of BNY Mellon Wealth Management, who, as a Foundation trustee and the board vice chair, volunteered as both chair of the board’s CEO search committee and interim president. “In my years of service and having the honor of leading the Foundation, I know from experience Rebecca will be a high caliber chief executive. She continually stood out as we reviewed every applicant and it was evident how her values were further shaped by the Foundation. We are confident she will guide the Foundation to even greater levels of impact and service to this community.”


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