Seattle Foundation Blog

Stephanie McLemore Bray named Seattle Foundation’s Chief Engagement Officer

The visionary leader will serve as a catalyst to support systemic change across the greater Seattle region, leading overall engagement with the Foundation’s philanthropic partners.


March 29, 2021

Seattle, WA – Seattle Foundation has selected Stephanie McLemore Bray, current President and CEO of United Way California Capital Region (based in Sacramento, CA), as its new Chief Engagement Officer. This newly created position at Seattle Foundation will play a key leadership role in helping to build the organization’s next phase of transformative growth and impact.

McLemore Bray brings a range of leadership experiences as a fundraiser and executive with large, complex nonprofits, including human services, healthcare, and higher education organizations. She will be the first person to serve in this leadership position aimed at setting a strong institutional vision for Seattle Foundation’s role in philanthropy, through collaborative investment partnerships, donor engagement, and powerful storytelling. As Chief Engagement Officer, McLemore Bray will lead and oversee the organization’s donor engagement, business development, and marketing and communications functions and partner with Seattle Foundation’s hundreds of philanthropists, investors, and donors to drive positive change across the region.

“On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I am thrilled to welcome Stephanie to Seattle Foundation. We feel so fortunate to have someone with her immense experience to help lead our work to reimagine community philanthropy. Building on her strong track record and more than 30 years of experience, Stephanie’s leadership will be critical in telling the story of the Foundation’s amazing work in community and its meaningful partnerships with philanthropists. She will undoubtedly be a key leader for our team and our community as we continue on this journey to advance greater equity and opportunity across the Seattle region,” shared Janet Levinger, Seattle Foundation philanthropist, Trustee, and Chair of the Engagement Committee.

McLemore Bray joins Seattle Foundation after nearly seven years in Sacramento, California, as the head of the United Way California Capital Region, where she built the organization’s visibility and trust, attracting increased investment, including a recent $10 million gift from Mackenzie Scott. Following a national search led by the nonprofit executive search firm Campbell & Company, Seattle Foundation’s Board and leadership team enthusiastically decided that McLemore Bray had the combined experience in fundraising, donor relations, and communications to lead Seattle Foundation’s Engagement Team through this next era of impact.

As the daughter of an African American civil rights attorney, racial and social justice is at the core of McLemore Bray’s identity, and she was compelled by Seattle Foundation’s mission to be a civic leader and commitment to racial equity work.

“I am thrilled to join Seattle Foundation’s team. I look forward to working with donors and philanthropists to advance transformational giving that will help make Seattle a more vibrant, just, and equitable community for all,” said McLemore Bray.

McLemore Bray was recently recognized as a Most Admired CEO by the Sacramento Business Journal, and she was a previous Women Who Mean Business honoree. Prior to United Way, McLemore Bray served as executive director of the San Francisco General Hospital Foundation and previously held an assistant dean position with UC Davis Health system in Sacramento.

As Chief Engagement Officer, McLemore Bray will report directly to Seattle Foundation’s President and CEO and serve as a member of the Leadership Team. She brings deep experience in strategic planning, fundraising, change management, and community-building and will be instrumental in the growth and development of the team and organization overall.

“I am thrilled about the addition of this talented leader to our organization. Stephanie is an incredibly impressive social impact executive and brings the ideal combination of experience and leadership to Seattle Foundation. As we celebrate our 75th anniversary, Seattle Foundation will continue its commitment to step up to the needs of the Greater Seattle community, including our focus on addressing unacceptable inequities. We are fortunate to have Stephanie coming on board to help lead the organization through its next critical era of impact,” said Tony Mestres, President & CEO of Seattle Foundation.

McLemore Bray will assume her leadership position at Seattle Foundation on May 10, 2021. For media inquiries or interview requests, please contact Michele Frix.

About Seattle Foundation:

Together with its mission to ignite powerful, rewarding philanthropy to make Greater Seattle a stronger, more vibrant region for all, Seattle Foundation envisions 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.

As a community foundation, Seattle Foundation works to advance equity and opportunity throughout the region while strengthening the impact of the philanthropists it serves. Founded in 1946 and with more than $1.1 billion in assets, the Foundation pursues its mission with a combination of deep community insight, civic leadership, philanthropic advising, and judicious financial stewardship. Read more at www.seattlefoundation.org.

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