Cleveland Foundation EVP Robert E. Eckardt Announces Retirement

release date: 10.10.2016

CLEVELAND – The Cleveland Foundation has announced that Executive Vice President Robert E. Eckardt will be retiring on Dec. 31, 2016 after nearly 35 years of exceptional leadership and dedicated service.

Eckardt was recruited to the foundation by former Cleveland Foundation CEO Homer C. Wadsworth on July 1, 1982 as a program officer for social service programs related to aging and public health. Due to the substantial impact of his work on the foundation’s grantmaking programs, within a few short years, Eckardt’s role expanded to include other areas of grantmaking and he was promoted through a series of positions, each with an increasing level of responsibility in both the scope of work and oversight of program staff.  These promotions included Senior Program Officer, Manager of Programs & Evaluation, and Vice President for Programs & Evaluation and, finally, Executive Vice President.

“It has been my honor and pleasure to work with Bob over the last 13 years and I credit him with much of what I have learned in my time here about grantmaking, community service, and the history of our great foundation,” said Ronn Richard, President and Chief Executive Officer, Cleveland Foundation. “Bob has helped to build and support a team of talented, visionary, and passionate program colleagues who will carry out his work and his legacy as part of the transition. His contributions are incredibly valued across the foundation, by members of the board of directors and, of course, within our community and throughout the philanthropic sector.”

Eckardt has been an active leader in philanthropic professional groups. He served four terms on the board of the Washington, D.C.-based group Grantmakers in Health, which honored him in 2006 with its highest award. He was a founding board member of Grantmakers in Aging and Funders Concerned About AIDS. He also is a past chair of the Grantmakers Evaluation Network. He received the prestigious Council on Foundations Distinguished Grantmaker Award in 2011 for his contributions to philanthropy.


Established in 1914, the Cleveland Foundation is the world’s first community foundation and one of the largest today, with assets of $2.1 billion and 2015 grants of $95 million. Through the generosity of donors, the foundation improves the lives of residents of Cuyahoga, Lake and Geauga counties by building community endowment, addressing needs through grantmaking, and providing leadership on vital issues. The foundation tackles the community’s priority areas – education and youth development, neighborhoods, health and human services, arts and culture, economic development and purposeful aging – and responds to the community’s needs.

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