Alesha Washington, who has been vice president of government advocacy at the Greater Cleveland Partnership for the past three years, will join The George Gund Foundation in January as the senior program officer for economic development and community revitalization. In this role, Washington will guide the Foundation’s work to build vibrant neighborhoods in Cleveland and a strong economy in Northeast Ohio. She also will serve as the Foundation’s lead on its multi-disciplinary grantmaking to address threats to democracy which have become increasingly evident in recent years.
Washington is rejoining the Foundation where she served from 2007 to 2009 as a Gund Foundation Fellow. In that position she worked as a member of the grantmaking staff, rotating among the various program areas. Since then she has led government and community relations efforts in roles of increasing responsibility at the Centers for Families and Children, Cleveland Neighborhood Progress and the Greater Cleveland Partnership. During her time at GCP, Washington has played a lead role in advancing the chamber of commerce’s civic portfolio of public policy issues, including federal and state advocacy efforts on Opportunity Zones, a financial analysis to guide the future of the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority, and the Cleveland Innovation Project.
Washington is a graduate of Oberlin College and has a master’s degree in nonprofit management from Case Western Reserve University.
“After an extensive search we are pleased to have Alesha join our team,” said Gund Foundation Executive Director David Abbott. “She brings a wealth of policy expertise and strong knowledge of Cleveland’s public and private sectors that will benefit the Foundation’s continued focus on the growth of our neighborhoods and strengthening our economy.”
Washington will assume the grantmaking responsibilities that previously have been performed by Robert Jaquay, the Foundation’s associate director. Jaquay will remain in that position with administrative and financial duties, including the Foundation’s growing role as an activist shareholder using its stock ownership to advance positions that are consistent with the Foundation’s grantmaking. An example of this work is the active role the Foundation has taken to urge action on climate change.