David Grant, president and CEO of the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, announced this week that he will step down by June 2010. Grant has helmed the New Jersey-based philanthropic organization—best known as the sponsor of the Dodge Poetry Festival—since 1998.
In a letter released on the foundation’s Web site, Grant said he was leaving in order to tackle new projects. “I have loved being at Dodge,” he wrote. “But by the summer of 2010, I will have been in this job for almost twelve years. I would like to take on some new challenges and want to set a date when I will be available to consider them.”
The Dodge Foundation, established in 1974 through a bequest from Geraldine Rockefeller Dodge, supports nonprofit work in the arts, education, and the environment, as well as civic programs in Morristown, where its offices are based. During Grant’s tenure as chief executive, the foundation has disbursed more than $200 million in direct grants to hundreds of organizations.
In his letter, Grant said that plans for his remaining time at Dodge included not only ensuring a smooth transition but also overseeing the “reinvention” of the foundation’s renowned Poetry Festival. In January, Grant announced that the event—which has run biennially since 1986—would not be held in 2010 because of financial limitations. After an outpouring of support, the foundation said recently that it would solicit proposals from prospective partners and consider new venues as part of a bid to keep the four-day festival alive. In a statement on the Dodge Web site, Grant said that while the foundation “cannot promise anything yet,” they are “reconsidering the idea of canceling the 2010 Festival cycle.”
After stepping down, Grant will be returning to Vermont, where he spent sixteen years as a teacher and education consultant before taking his current position. According to a press release, the Board of the Dodge Foundation will begin its search for a new chief executive by summer’s end. The fate of the Dodge Poetry Festival is expected to be decided in September.