Greater Worcester Community Foundation Names Barbara Fields as New President and CEO

National search leads to former Obama-appointed HUD Regional Administrator and former RI Housing CEO/Executive Director

(Worcester, MA - May 24, 2019) Greater Worcester Community Foundation is pleased to announce Barbara Fields has been chosen to be its next President and CEO. Fields succeeds Ann T. Lisi, who is retiring at the end of June after 30 years with the organization. The nation-wide search was handled by Rebecca Swartz of Isaacson Miller.

“I am honored and grateful to the Board for the opportunity to lead this great organization,” Fields said. “Worcester's recent successes and surging momentum have been exciting to watch. As President and CEO, I look forward to developing new strategies to build on this momentum and meet the varied needs of an ever-changing population.. We will expand our impact in the community, strengthen GWCF's local partnerships and together, further the Foundation's mission of enhancing Worcester in perpetuity.”

Formerly CEO and Executive Director of Rhode Island Housing (RIHousing) for the past four years, Fields' leadership was critical in the investment of hundreds of millions of dollars into the Rhode Island economy which financed the development of housing and funded programs for first-time home buyers. During her tenure, Fields oversaw the successful annual investment of over $300 million, including Federal Housing Tax Credits while RIHousing achieved its highest mortgage volume in 20 years. Fields was recently recognized by Grow Smart Rhode Island as the 2019 Outstanding Smart Growth Leader for her record of accomplishment at RIHousing.

Prior to RIHousing, Fields served for 20 years as the founding Executive Director of the Rhode Island office of Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), a national leader in community development. Her work with LISC would lead to a Presidential appointment in the Obama Administration as the New England Regional Administrator for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). At HUD, Fields led six field offices and managed internal operations, representing the HUD Secretary as the liaison to mayors, state and local officials, members of Congress, private and non-profit developers, public housing authorities and the media. Fields holds degrees from Tufts University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She plans to move from Rhode Island to Worcester to fully integrate herself into the region which the Foundation serves.

“The Board has spent many months finding a dynamic transformational leader to lead the Greater Worcester Community Foundation,” said Carolyn Stempler, who was recently elected as the first African-American woman to become GWCF's Chair of the Board. “Barbara's proven track record in building strong communities and leading economic development efforts positions her to lead the Foundation to its full potential, and with it, a better, greater Worcester.”

Under Lisi's leadership, the Foundation has grown from $24 million to over $155 million with more than 550 named funds that award $7-8 million annually to local nonprofits.


About the Greater Worcester Community Foundation

Greater Worcester Community Foundation unites people from diverse sectors to create positive change within our region. Created and built by local individuals, this permanent endowment is used to create personal and lasting legacies that improve lives and conditions within the community. Established in 1975, the Foundation has awarded more than $110 million to cultural educational, human service and civic organizations. Today, the Foundation stewards a charitable endowment exceeding $150 million in over 600 named funds, all created by local citizens. In 2015, the Foundation adopted the Early Childhood Initiative which creates conditions that prepares local young children for success in school and life. For more information, visit

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