Announcing Rodney Foxworth as New BALLE Executive Director

"Rodney's leadership is what BALLE and the local economy field needs right now." —Michelle Long

After an extensive and comprehensive national search, we are thrilled to announce the new Executive Director of BALLE, Rodney Foxworth.

Rodney will be the Incoming Executive Director during a planned transition that overlaps with Outgoing Executive Director, Michelle Long, through October. He will move from his native Baltimore to Oakland, where BALLE is based.

“I am humbled and deeply honored to be leading BALLE into its next chapter,” said Rodney. “BALLE supports the most committed and visionary local economy leaders, philanthropists, and investors in North America, and I look forward to strengthening BALLE and its leading-edge community through deeper engagement with investors, businesses, and philanthropists, and increased opportunities for collaboration with mission-aligned partners.”

A 2016 BALLE Local Economy Fellow, Rodney has focused on social entrepreneurship, philanthropy, impact investing, and economic development throughout his career, and he is an established thought leader respected for his vision, integrity, clarity, and commitment to action. He has deep local economy roots in Baltimore, and experience across a number of ecosystems across the country. You can read more about his background here.

“After 17 years as BALLE’s founding Executive Director, I am completely confident in this choice for the future of the organization,” said Michelle. “I respect Rodney’s vision, his thought leadership, and his experience. I appreciate his comfort with the complexity and nuances of network leadership, emergence, and systems change. He works in partnership, and walks with ease in many circles and with many constituencies. His leadership is what BALLE and the local economy field needs right now.”

Rodney Foxworth and former NAACP President & CEO Ben Jealous at Bring Your Balance Sheet, a 2017 gathering with Aspen Institute Center for Urban Innovation, Impact Hub Baltimore, and Art in Praxis.

The BALLE Board and an outside firm led a 4-month process that engaged thousands of people, numerous proactive recruitment contacts, and included robust support and interest from the BALLE Leadership Network. An impressive crop of candidates was considered over several months and hundreds of conversations. Five finalists were invited to join BALLE’s search committee of Board members and staff at the Oakland headquarters.

“The executive search committee worked in close coordination to find fantastic candidates from around the country. From a broad pool of outstanding innovators, Rodney emerged as the clear, transformational leader meant to carry BALLE forward. We are thrilled to have an opportunity to work with him to define a powerful future for BALLE,” said Board member and BALLE Fellow Kimber Lanning, Founder and Executive Director, Local First Arizona.

“As the Chair of the BALLE Transition Committee, I am so pleased to welcome Rodney Foxworth as our new Executive Director,” said Board member and BALLE Fellow Nikki Silvestri, Founder and CEO of Soil and Shadow.  “Our country needs leaders right now who have a special combination of innovative thinking and grounded economic development experience; a commitment to America’s most vulnerable populations; and soul. Rodney has these qualities and more. We struck gold when he accepted our offer.”

Board member and BALLE Fellow Jose Corona, Director of Equity and Strategic Partnerships, City of Oakland added, “as an Oaklander, I could not be more excited to welcome Rodney to our local community. I look forward to our partnership here in Oakland and to Rodney’s leadership to tie our local efforts to the continued equitable economic development work that BALLE is building across the country.”

Join us at BALLE in celebrating this exciting moment in a year of joyful transitions. Welcome Rodney, thank you for being here and leading!