NEW BEDFORD — The SouthCoast Community Foundation has appointed state conservation department manager Leonard Lee as the nonprofit's new president and CEO.

The foundation's board of directors announced Lee's appointment in a press release Thursday, stating that he brings over 30 years of experience in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors.

Lee will become the 25-year-old organization's fourth president, succeeding previous president John Vasconcellos, who retired in December 2021.

He will begin his new role at the end of April.

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The New Bedford-based SouthCoast Community Foundation has worked to connect SouthCoast services with philanthropic funding since its inception in 1995.

Lee's career includes leadership roles in which he helped advance public health and advocated for marginalized communities.

His ‘Masking the Community’ initiative distributed free masks to at-risk groups during the pandemic, resulting in his selection as one of Boston Magazine’s 2020 COVID-19 Heroes.

He currently works for the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation as general manager, and as a communications consultant with Kelley Chunn & Associates.

Previously, Lee held senior leadership positions at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, where he addressed community health issues through youth programs.

He also served as executive director for several nonprofits, including Action for Boston Community Development, Mission Works, and the Roxbury YMCA.

A native Bostonian who grew up in Dorchester, Lee plans to relocate to the SouthCoast.

He holds a degree in business management from Johnson & Wales University and a Certificate in Nonprofit Management from Boston University.

“I’m beyond excited to be joining the Community Foundation, a well-respected organization known for championing important causes and supporting the vital work of nonprofits in the South Coast region,” said Lee.

"This role feels like a natural continuation of a career that I’ve dedicated to fulfilling strategic missions, most notably racial equity, social justice, and incentives, through bold organizational development and programmatic initiatives," he added. "I can’t wait to get started.”

“We are thrilled to have a leader of Leonard’s caliber joining the Community Foundation,” said Board Chair Linda Bodenmann.

“We are excited to introduce him to our community partners and funders over the next several months, including during our Annual Meeting in June.”

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