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Heising-Simons Foundation President to Retire, National Search Underway

The Heising-Simons Foundation today announced that President and CEO Deanna Gomby has decided to retire at the end of 2022, after more than 10 years leading the Foundation.

“Deanna’s vision, passion, and collaborative leadership are why we are here today,” said Foundation Board Chair Liz Simons. “Deanna could see where we needed to go but knew we could never get there without working in close partnership with our Board, staff, and, especially, our amazing grantees. She has been an inspiring teacher and a great friend, and I will miss her tremendously. But the powerful team of staff she has assembled, and the important work we have to build on, fills me with hope and excitement for where we can go from here.”

Dr. Gomby began working with the Foundation as a consultant on early childhood issues in 2009, becoming the organization’s first staff position working on education, then the founding executive director in 2012, and ultimately President and CEO in 2015. During Dr. Gomby’s tenure, the Foundation grew to an annual awards budget of more than $150 million to grantees in education, climate and clean energy, science, human rights, and community and opportunity. The Foundation also expanded into two offices—Los Altos and San Francisco—during this time, grew its staff to 56 employees, and in 2019, the family created a sister organization known as the Heising-Simons Action Fund as a way to magnify the impact of its philanthropic dollars.

“I have been privileged to work with a wonderful Board and staff and, especially, extraordinary grantee partners who have undertaken and achieved great things,” Dr. Gomby noted. “Our efforts – and theirs – have been driven by an unflinching belief in humanity’s promise, an unwavering determination that we can and always should work to expand access to opportunity, and a commitment to tackling the big thorny issues over the long-term. We have also tried to remember that our wisdom is not as wide or deep as we might wish, and that we are always better off when we listen more.”

The Board has selected Spencer Stuart as the firm to lead the search for the next President and CEO of the Foundation. As this search begins, we will share the job description and contact information for questions at

Read A Letter From Outgoing CEO Deanna Gomby.

Read A Letter From Liz Simons, Chair of the Board.