We knew our ECCF partners and family would want to get to know Dave Edwards, the Foundation's new CEO. So before the holidays (and even though he doesn’t ‘officially’ start until January 12), Dave took the time to sit down with us and talk a bit about his vision, his family and who he'd have over for dinner from Essex County history:
ECCF: You were enjoying a successful career consulting community foundations throughout the country. What was it about ECCF that made you want to come on board?
Dave Edwards: A few things. Besides my deep family connections to this county, I saw this as an opportunity to really help take ECCF to the next level. ECCF has done so much good throughout the county through its grant making and support to nonprofits. My vision is to see the foundation become a robust set of permanently endowed funds that will be here helping donors and supporting the community—forever.
ECCF: As you look across the 34 towns and cities that make up Essex County, what excites you about the opportunities the Community Foundation has in serving our neighbors and nonprofit partners?
Dave Edwards: We have a rich and diverse set of communities here. While many residents feel an affinity to their own town, many of us are also sensing a growing importance of the vitality of the region as a whole. A lot of us live in one town, work in another and yet enjoy recreation all over the County, from the beaches and cultural events to the trails and parks. Bringing a sense of our “connectedness” to each community (in addressing the strengths and needs) will be a priority for ECCF as we move forward. You know the saying, “A rising tide raises all ships”? I’m hoping we can raise as many communities as possible by partnering with them so that everyone benefits.
ECCF: If you could invite any three people from Essex County history over for dinner, who would they be?
Dave Edwards: First, it would have to be my ancestral grandfather, Frances Norwood. Leaving England in the 1600s to come to a true frontier must have been a great adventure. George Peabody, one of the greatest philanthropists in America who grew up in Danvers in the early 1800s, would be next. But I would need at least two days with him! Finally, I’d invite Sarah Parker Redmond to join us. She was a successful African American businesswoman and abolitionist living in Salem who later helped with the underground railroad. Each of them have great stories—can you imagine what we could learn from them over dinner?
ECCF: We understand you are—among many other things—an animal lover. Tell us about the other 'members' of your family:
Dave Edwards: My wife Karen and I have two incredibly lovable—and spoiled rotten—Sussex Spaniels named Luci and Ginger. They bring us much joy and keep us outside as much as possible!
ECCF: What would you most like ECCF friends to know about you as you begin your leadership role?
Dave Edwards: I am simply very excited about working with the entire ECCF family to help make the Foundation grow and become the premier philanthropic institution in the County. ECCF has so many great resources and services available to help anyone who wants to make a difference locally. I truly believe it is our privilege and responsibility to “give where you live.” I can’t wait to begin!