President & CEO
Ruth Williams became President and CEO of Community Initiatives in 2017 after serving on the Board of Directors for nearly eight years, including two years as the Board Chair—her love for the diversity of causes that Community Initiatives champions drives her leadership. “I’ve always had a hard time deciding on what part of the nonprofit sector to focus on. At Community Initiatives, I don’t have to. In one day, I can work on childcare programs, the environment, human rights, and much more! I believe that when we free nonprofit leaders from the daily administrative nuts and bolts of their work, we help them focus on their passions and the hundreds, even thousands, of people they serve.”
Ruth brings to Community Initiatives over 25 years of experience in philanthropy, grants administration, financial analysis, and program development. Previously, she served as Chief Operating Officer at the Osher Marin Jewish Community Center, an 11-acre campus visited by over 2,000 people daily. There, she managed a 14-person leadership team and was responsible for 250 union and non-union employees in multiple program and operational functions.
Prior to that, Ruth served as Single Stop USA’s West Coast Regional Director. Single Stop is a national anti-poverty nonprofit based in Harlem, New York. Through a network of 1.5 million organizations nationwide, they provide coordinated access to safety net services worth $750 billion.
Ruth also served as a Senior Program Officer for ZeroDivide, a technology foundation based in San Francisco. She was responsible for a portfolio of media-related social justice grants and initiatives that strengthen families and empower young people using information and communication technologies. She also leans on her experiences as Deputy Director of Young Community Developers in San Francisco, Director of Operations for the Mayor’s Office under the Honorable Willie L. Brown, and Senior Project Manager at the Department of Elections.
Over the past 15 years, Ruth has served on more than a dozen nonprofit boards. Currently, she is a Steering Committee Member of the National Network of Fiscal Sponsors, a professional network of hundreds of organizations and individuals that work in fiscal sponsorship to develop best practices in the field. Ruth is also a member of Charity Navigator’s Consultative Council of Nonprofit Leaders, a diverse team of experienced nonprofit leaders that advise Charity Navigator to strengthen its current and future initiatives.
Ruth holds a Master of Arts degree from the University of Illinois and a B.A. degree from the University of Chicago. Born and raised in Chicago, Ruth moved to the Bay Area to “run away from the cold.” Once in San Francisco, she dived into the area’s vibrant nonprofit sector. When out of the office, Ruth may be in the pool! Ruth has been a member of a US Master Swimming (USMS) team for over 20 years. She also volunteers her time to trail maintenance and beach cleanups for national and local parks.