BCF's next leader: Dr. Shanaysha Sauls 

The Board of Trustees of the Baltimore Community Foundation has appointed Shanaysha Sauls, PhD to the office of president and CEO. Sauls succeeds Thomas E. Wilcox who retired from the post at the end of 2017. 

Dr. Shaynasha Sauls

Sauls’ professional experience ranges from classroom teaching to guiding strategy for small and large organizations. She has served since 2015 as Chief Executive Officer & Operator for the Foundation for the Baltimore Leadership School for Young Women, where she managed and stabilized finances, directed resources and led academic performance. Her prior experience ranged from consulting on strategic direction and marketing for colleges and universities to teaching political theory at American University, and teaching English in Baltimore area high schools. 

Sauls’ observations of how children, families and neighborhoods access education, cultural resources and recreation have guided her choices in volunteer service. She became a founding board member of both the Patterson Park Public Charter School and the Downtown Baltimore Family Alliance, then a member and ultimately chair of the city’s Board of School Commissioners. 

The opportunity to lead the Baltimore Community Foundation is, Sauls says, a natural next step. “My longtime focus has been about improving lives of people all across Baltimore, and BCF affects every single Baltimorean in a way that no other institution can, through its issue advocacy, philanthropic investments and partnerships with community and the public sector.”

Sauls is the first person of color to lead the 45-year-old Baltimore Community Foundation, and the first woman to serve as CEO. 

Baltimore Community Foundation Board Chair Laura Gamble said, “BCF embarked on a new strategic plan in 2017, with a renewed commitment to broad community engagement and racial equity. BCF will continue to focus its efforts on strengthening neighborhoods and investing in Baltimore’s future by improving public education. I believe that Dr. Sauls’ grounding in political theory and systems, coupled with her experience in education, make her the best choice to lead BCF forward.“ 

BCF Search Committee co-chairs Josh Fidler and Stuart Simms offered further comments on the selection. Fidler described Sauls as a high energy, inspirational and accomplished executive, with an intimate knowledge of Baltimore’s neighborhoods and people. Simms pointed to Sauls’ keen intellect and demonstration of principled leadership as deciding factors. “She has a trait of asking the right questions—not the convenient questions, but questions that get at guiding principles,” he said.

Sauls earned her M.A. and PhD. in Political Science from Duke University. She was awarded a B.A. in Government & Politics with Honors and English Literature & Language with Honors from the University of Maryland College Park. 

Meet Dr. Shanaysha Sauls 

“I grew up in California – a town in St. Mary’s County, Maryland. It’s right next door to Hollywood, Maryland.”  

And now?  
“I live in Arcadia - a neighborhood lots of people have never heard of - in Northeast Baltimore, with my husband, three children, a dog and a cat.”

What she does to relax: 
“I’m a nerd. I read. Mostly things by people who are no longer alive on political thought, like Plato’s Republic and Leviathan by Thomas Hobbes. Plus, African American literature, especially anything by Toni Morrison. I have read all her books twice, including the one that just came out. And I recently read “They Call Me Little Willie” which was wonderful – very suspenseful and gave lots of historical perspective.”

Favorite spot in Baltimore: 
“My home. Out of my windows I can see Clifton Park, City College, the St. Lo Mansion . . . It’s green space, urban space and educational space all in one place. It’s a Baltimore of possibility.”  

Plans for the immediate future?  
“I’ll have a lot of learning to do. I’m excited to learn with a great team, and with a philanthropic community that is committed to Baltimore. I’m excited to begin.”

You can send a welcome message to Shanaysha Sauls at ceo@bcf.org.

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