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Q&A with Claudia Herrold, chief communications and public policy officer at Philanthropy Ohio

Dec 6, 2021

On Jan. 1,  Claudia Herrold will transition from her role as Philanthropy Ohio's chief communications and public policy officer to become the organization's first executive-in-residence. In her new role Herrold will serve as the philanthropy liaison for public/private partnerships. She will maintain relationships with the governor's office and other administrative and statewide offices, act as senior advisor to Philanthropy Ohio's president and CEO, and co-manage the organization's pilot Consultancy Collective.

Interact for Health: How has the field of philanthropy evolved during your 23-year tenure with Philanthropy Ohio?

Herrold: There are two major aspects I would note: first, a trend of philanthropies narrowing their focus, becoming more intent on strategic work and impacts. Second, I would note the increased engagement in public policy work at all levels: local, state and federal, especially heightened during this pandemic period.

Interact for Health: When you talk to people about best practices for managing philanthropy, what point do you underscore?

Herrold: The best practices I strive to underscore with our members focus on centering equity and community voice—as I say it, "don't do anything about me, without me"—and trusting grantee partners without whom a foundation's work couldn't proceed. Additionally, as we've seen during the pandemic, be thoughtful about when to and with whom you collaborate in order to achieve your goals, missions and vision. Be open to opportunities and outside-the-norm partners.

Interact for Health: What is your proudest accomplishment?

Herrold: The recent public-private partnership, the Ohio Collaborative for Educating Remotely and Transforming Schools, that we created in March 2020 after schools closed. I raised over $1.5 million that the state matched three-to-one, resulting in awarding $5.7 million to schools, districts and educational service centers to help the neediest of Ohio's students continue their learning while schools were closed.

Interact for Health: Philanthropy Ohio has never had an executive-in-residence. What's the significance of this "first"?

Herrold: One of the primary roles for this position is managing public-private partnerships, spurred by the OCER project that is leading to other opportunities, so it's significant in that it signals the board and staff intention to pursue such opportunities.

Interact for Health: What are your goals for the new position?

Herrold: My two main goals are to effectively grow and manage public-private partnerships and to document the history of our organization. Since I'm the "veteran" employee who has worked through four CEOs, three organization names and countless strategic plans, capturing that history—along with major accomplishments and how it has evolved—is a worthy project.

Interact for Health: Looking back on your career, what have you learned? What advice would you give to your younger self?

Herrold: I've learned so much from all our members who have engaged not only in policy work but in innovative, impactful philanthropy. The philanthropy-serving organizations across the country have also been tremendously helpful in building my knowledge and skills over the years, with thought leaders who have inspired and encouraged me. To my younger self I would have given the advice to accelerate change, to push harder, to take more risks.

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