Welcoming Our New CEO, Jill Nishi

Welcoming Our New CEO, Jill Nishi

Jill Nishi Headshot
Aleesha Towns-Bain, Philanthropy Northwest Board Chair, and Brenda Solorzano, Philanthropy Northwest Board Secretary and Chair of the CEO Search Taskforce | Guest Contributors

After an extensive national search with an impressive group of candidates, we are proud to welcome Jill Nishi as Philanthropy Northwest’s next CEO. Jill is an extraordinary leader with a deep commitment to philanthropy and building greater racial equity. She brings over 20 years of experience in the philanthropic and public sectors, most recently as principal of an independent consulting practice, JTN Consulting, working with mission-driven organizations to further their impact. In her CEO role, Jill will lead one of the largest and most innovative philanthropic networks in the country, joining us at a transformational time for the sector and our communities. 

As a former Philanthropy Northwest board member, Jill has been a part of our organizational evolution from a traditional membership association to a sector leader using our voice and influence for change. We know that Jill’s collaborative and inclusive approach to leadership is the right fit for Philanthropy Northwest as we re-envision our unique role as a philanthropic serving organization, explore innovative strategies, continue to grow our national consulting arm, The Giving Practice, and lean into our commitment to racial equity and justice. She recognizes and relishes the diversity of our region and is looking forward to working in partnership with our network to actualize a more just future for our communities. 

Previously Jill 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 implementation of key programmatic strategies, investment portfolios and operating models during the formative years of the foundation’s growth. Jill possesses a unique ability to envision an outcome, create strategy and see it to fruition. During her time with the foundation, she integrated a diversity, equity and inclusion lens on organizational and grantmaking practices to drive more impactful work for students of color and improve inclusionary hiring practices. Jill also held leadership roles with the Gates Foundation’s Postsecondary Education and U.S. Libraries teams and oversaw the foundation’s DEI & scholarship portfolios, including grants to support undocumented young people (DREAM students) secure their temporary status and further their educational pursuits. 

As Director of the City of Seattle’s Office of Economic Development, Jill used her gift for creating consensus-based agreements and partnerships with diverse stakeholders to achieve common goals. As an example of this, she successfully navigated conflicting perspectives and led an effort to determine spending priorities for a $50 million fund for small businesses disrupted by light rail construction in historically impacted communities. Jill’s values of driving greater racial equity and social justice, integrity, compassion, and building greater community deeply align with Philanthropy Northwest’s vision that Northwest communities have vibrant healthy futures that honor our past, our people and our cultures. 

When thinking about our next CEO we knew that Philanthropy Northwest needed a dynamic and innovative leader capable of building on our collective momentum while inspiring our members, partners and staff to think creatively and act boldly as we build a new way forward for philanthropy. Jill’s strength in building relationships and ability to bring people, resources and great ideas together in service of greater racial equity made her the obvious choice to lead Philanthropy Northwest into the next chapter of our organizational journey. 

Jill will be starting her new role in mid-July and is excited to begin connecting with our network. We are planning several member and partner engagement opportunities and will share more in our e-news and social media. 

On behalf of our board, new leader and staff we thank you for your continued partnership with Philanthropy Northwest as we look forward to the future and all the possibilities of what we will achieve together as a network.