LACF hires executive director

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By Bennett Horne

The Los Alamos Community Foundation has made its first official staff hire, selecting Rachel Kizielewicz to be the foundation’s inaugural executive director.

The hire was announced Tuesday by the foundation, which exists to facilitate and promote local philanthropy by Los Alamos residents and those with strong local connections, to highlight unmet needs and investment opportunities within the community, and to meet these needs through financial and organizational support to local nonprofits.

“To have found an organization like LACF that was born out of a robust volunteer community and a like-minded spirit is really a wonderful thing to come across for anyone working in the nonprofit and philanthropic field,” said Kizielewicz.

“LACF is already on strong footing and off to a great start and to come in here and be able to help is a real honor.”
Kizielewicz recently served as director of constituent relations at the University of Pittsburgh and played a big part in the university’s $2 billion capital fundraising campaign.

She also led the way in establishing strong relationships between the university and its constituents and helped increase the donor base while strengthening ties to the community.

“In hiring Rachel, I was impressed not only by her experience and credentials, but also by an infectious energy for helping the nonprofit community and a passion for strengthening our foundation’s presence as an integral community resource,” David Izraelevitz, president of LACF’s Board of Directors, said in a press release from the organization.

Kizielewicz comes to LACF with more than 15 years of experience in fundraising and philanthropy work in the nonprofit sector.

One of her strengths is helping nonprofit organizations put together specific fundraising strategies and building robust donor outreach programs.

“In working around the nonprofit community one tends to come in contact with a lot of social-minded people who enjoy thinking and acting responsibly for the community,” she said. “I like to craft out the strategies it takes to do the work they are doing and to really help turn it up a notch and connect with the individuals in the community.”

Kizielewicz, who has a master’s degree in Philanthropic Studies from Indiana University’s Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, moved to New Mexico from Pittsburgh about six months ago and actually visited the northern part of the state about 15 years ago while on vacation.

“I fell in love with the beauty and spirit of the area and the people here and am really thrilled to be here,” she said. “I look forward to getting to know the members of this community and to helping the foundation reach its next level of success in promoting local philanthropy and empowering nonprofit organizations in Los Alamos. The Board of Directors has paved the way for an exciting future for LACF and I am honored to have been chosen to serve in this role.”

The LACF is a grant-making public charity dedicated to improving the lives of people in Los Alamos. Through LACF, individuals can create donor advised funds, endowments, and general funds to direct their philanthropic support to the community. Nonprofit organizations can house their endowments at LACF to expand their asset base and grow organizational capacity in the long-term