Seattle Foundation Blog

A Legacy of Civic Leadership, President and CEO Tony Mestres to Depart Seattle Foundation in May 2021

Board of Trustees has started permanent CEO search to serve Seattle Foundation’s mission, and David Bley has been named Interim CEO.

March 02, 2021

After seven years as President and CEO, Tony Mestres will be departing Seattle Foundation to embark on his next professional chapter. His last day will be May 1. On his departure, Seattle Foundation board member and former Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Pacific Northwest Director, David Bley, will assume the role of Interim CEO while the board conducts a national search for Seattle Foundation’s next full-time CEO.

"Tony’s legacy at Seattle Foundation is firmly established in the great team he has built and in putting the Foundation in closer relationship with the community. With our blueprint to the future, we will continue to have an impact for decades to come,” said Ed Thomas, chair of the Board of Trustees. “His vision for Seattle Foundation’s role as a civic leader and his commitment to drive greater equity and opportunity have resulted in tremendous growth for our organization and our partners."

Since joining the Foundation in 2014, Tony has centered the organization on advancing racial equity and economic opportunity through policy change at the local and state levels, as well as strategic grantmaking with a range of philanthropic partners, including Seattle Foundation’s fundholders. In this time, the Foundation charted its vision of a thriving region of shared prosperity, belonging, and justice where all individuals and communities have equitable access and outcomes, regardless of race, place, or identity.

“It has been the honor and privilege of my professional life to serve our community as President & CEO of Seattle Foundation, and this experience has forever shaped me and redefined my approach to servant leadership in pursuit of equity.  I am deeply honored to have worked with the talented Seattle Foundation team, who wake up every day committed to supporting our community and working towards a vision for the Seattle region in which everyone can thrive,” said Mestres. “I am proud of the bold and innovative approach to community philanthropy and impact that our team, Board, fundholders, and partners have charted, which I know will only grow in this next critical chapter for Seattle Foundation.”

Under Tony's leadership, the Foundation has grown its philanthropic donors, partners, and assets meaningfully and has quadrupled its annual grants to the community. In partnership with its fundholders, Seattle Foundation launched critical initiatives to promote a just democracy, an equitable economy, and a resilient environment.

In response to the COVID-19 crisis, Tony led the Foundation in standing up one of the first response funds in the country, as well as the All In Washington campaign, a first of its kind, statewide philanthropic effort focused on supporting individuals and families across Washington State.

Tony will become President of Truveta, the world’s first health provider led data platform with a vision to save lives with data. This new endeavor represents a unique opportunity for Tony to merge his previous experience in high tech with his Seattle Foundation experience in advancing equity to help effect positive outcomes for people’s health at a critical moment.

Assuming the role of Interim CEO when Tony departs, David Bley will be responsible for the ongoing operations of Seattle Foundation, and leading its support of the community and philanthropists.

"Tony has always been a strong partner to the board, and we are grateful to know that we can count on his support as we execute the mission and work of Seattle Foundation in the future," said Thomas. "We are fortunate to have the guidance of David Bley while we search for a permanent CEO who reflects the strategy, mission, and vision of Seattle Foundation."

Seattle Foundation has been recognized with a number of awards in recent years, including the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Secretary’s Award for Public Philanthropic Partnership; the International Rescue Committee Philanthropy Award; the King County Municipal League Foundation’s James R. Ellis Regional Leadership Award; Seattle Business magazine’s 2018 Nonprofit of the Year award; and the 2020 Corporate Citizenship award from the Puget Sound Business Journal for the statewide COVID-19 relief coalition All In WA. In 2019 and 2020, Tony was among the nonprofit executives selected for The NonProfit Times’ Power & Influence Top 50 and was also named their Influencer of the Year in 2019.

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