PRESS RELEASE: Philanthropy Northwest Names Jill Nishi as New CEO

PRESS RELEASE: Philanthropy Northwest Names Jill Nishi as New CEO

Jill Nishi Headshot


Media Contact: Karen Westing, Vice President, Marketing and Communications, 


SEATTLE, APRIL 21, 2022 - Philanthropy Northwest is pleased to announce Jill Nishi as its new Chief Executive Officer, effective July 11, 2022. Philanthropy Northwest is an innovative philanthropic network of more than 180 grantmakers and foundations that facilitates shared learning, fosters sector collaboration and manages a national consulting team, The Giving Practice. 

“Through an inclusive and national search process, Jill stood out as a leader with exceptional strengths in creating strategy, building relationships and fostering action toward a vision of greater racial and economic equality for Northwest communities,” shared Aleesha Towns-Bain, board chair and Bristol Bay Native Corporation Executive Director. “Her values of driving greater racial equity and social justice, integrity, compassion and building community deeply align with Philanthropy Northwest’s mission.”

Nishi is a seasoned philanthropic and government leader with more than twenty years of leadership experience, most recently as principal of an independent consulting firm, JTN Consulting, working with mission-driven organizations to further their impact. She formerly served as director of strategy planning & management and chief of staff for the U.S. Program at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, where she led the development and execution of programmatic and operational initiatives in support of the foundation’s early learning, K-12 and higher education strategies to increase postsecondary credentials among students historically furthest from opportunity. Nishi brings to her new role a proven record of leading high-impact, inclusive initiatives and a gift for building consensus with diverse stakeholders. Her highly collaborative and innovative leadership style is grounded in a deep commitment to racial equity, diversity and inclusion.

“To lead one of the largest and most innovative philanthropy serving organizations in the country at such a critical time for the sector and Northwest communities is inspiring and a tremendous honor,” commented Nishi. “As a former funder, I have a deep appreciation for the dedication, creativity and bold energy of our philanthropic sector, as well as the innovative community of funders in the Northwest. I am looking forward to working collaboratively with the sector in all six states of our region to actualize a more just future for our communities.”  

Prior to joining the Gates Foundation, Nishi served in several leadership positions in the public sector. She was appointed by Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels as director of the City of Seattle’s Office of Economic Development; and previously served as deputy director of the Washington State Department of Community, Trade and Economic Development. Nishi also served as a management consultant for Deloitte in the firm’s public sector practice. She holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Puget Sound; and a master's degree in public affairs from Princeton University's School of Public and International Affairs. She currently serves as co-President of the Board of Trustees for the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience and is a trustee emeritus of her undergraduate alma mater, the University of Puget Sound. 

The search for Philanthropy Northwest’s next CEO was led by a committee of board members, chaired by Headwaters Health Foundation CEO Brenda Solorzano, in partnership with NPAG, a national executive search firm dedicated to leading with values of equity, integrity, transparency and candor to bridge talent and impact. The search included proactive engagement with staff and Philanthropy Northwest’s national consulting team, The Giving Practice.


About Philanthropy Northwest

Founded in 1976, Philanthropy Northwest is the region’s largest convener of funders and grantmakers in Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington and Wyoming. Philanthropy Northwest promotes, facilitates and drives collaborative action by community investors to build resilient, equitable and inclusive communities.