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The ECCF Story

The ECCF Story

Throughout ECCF’s history, the Community Foundation has worked to both build assets through donor funds to support the nonprofit sector and to improve the leadership capacity of those nonprofits to better Essex County communities. Here is the story of our first 15 years...

Foundation 1999-2005

ECCF was founded in 1999 to address two needs in the philanthropic/nonprofit sector in the region: educating nonprofit leaders and providing a funding vehicle to support charitable work in the county. Founder David Tory had recently retired from a successful 30 year career in business and founded Broadhow, the precursor to ECCF, to train nonprofit leadership in sound business practices.

Within a year of operation, David and Co-founder Lorraine Jenks understood that another need had to be addressed: more local sources of funding.  They in turn founded Essex County Community Foundation. Within a short time, donors began establishing funds at ECCF to support the concept of giving where you live. ECCF hosted workshops for training nonprofit leaders and launched two countywide initiatives, the Youth at Risk program and the Essex County Forum. By the time David turned over the reins, the Community Foundation held 108 funds and granted over $2 million to nonprofit programs. The vision was in place, and the groundwork was laid.


In 2005 the ECCF Board chose Ashley Allison as ECCF’s second President/CEO. Ashley came to ECCF after heading the Crossroads Community Foundation in Natick (now the Foundation for Metrowest). Ashley worked with the local professional advisors to partner on donors charitable interests. She also launched ECCF’s nonprofit capacity building grant making program. After 16 months at the helm, Ashley left ECCF in 2007 to return to her native Texas and become the Executive Director of the Waco Community Foundation.


In 2008, ECCF's Board of Trustees brought Dave Welbourn on board as the new CEO and President. After a long career in nonprofit fundraising, Dave built upon ECCF’s solid foundation and deepened the Community Foundation’s impact, increasing its endowment assets to more than $26 million, passing the $25 million mark in grants awarded, and expanding its support of the nonprofit community through the Center for Nonprofit Excellence and the Institute for Trustees. Dave always asked, "What can we do together that we cannot do on our own?" and brought people together to help our region be a better place to live.

Next Chapter 2015-

ECCF welcomed Dave Edwards to the helm in January 2015. Dave brings a rich experience in community foundation work as the founding CEO of the San Luis Obispo Community Foundation and as a consultant to over 40 community foundations. Dave and the Board of Trustees initiated a new strategic plan for ECCF focusing on asset development, donor services, effective grant making and community leadership. During his short tenure, assets have grown to over $38 million. In January 2016, ECCF launched Impact Essex County, a multi-phased, multi-year project to identify the County’s needs and lead efforts to transform our communities.