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The Russell Family Foundation Names Kathleen Simpson CEO


Jacque Seaman / May Wildman

The Fearey Group for The Russell Family Foundation

(206) 343-1543, 


The Russell Family Foundation Names Kathleen Simpson CEO

October 13, 2020 (Gig Harbor, Wash.) –The Russell Family Foundation (TRFF)’s board of directors announces Kathleen Simpson as chief executive officer. Prior to this appointment, Simpson served as TRFF’s interim CEO since January 2020 and chief financial officer since September 2015.

“Kathleen has led with acuity, grace and compassion during a significant transitional leadership year for the Foundation in the midst of a pandemic that has impacted our grantmaking and investment strategies as well as our community partners,” said Eric Russell, board president of The Russell Family Foundation. “It became very clear through her steady guidance that we have the right person in the role and we could not be more thrilled to have Kathleen accept this position and continue modeling our long-held value of humble leadership.”

Simpson stepped into her dual role as interim CEO and CFO following the retirement of Richard Woo, who served as the Foundation’s CEO for 20 years. Under Simpson’s leadership, TRFF has quickly pivoted grantmaking approaches to support the immediate needs of community nonprofits, including a $1 million grant to the Pierce County Connected Fund to help Pierce County residents impacted by COVID-19 with urgent human service needs, and nearly $2 million in additional grants supporting 98 organizations. The Foundation’s impact investing portfolio also has grown from 84% to 90% impact alignment, gaining traction toward the Foundation’s 100% impact alignment goal.

“It has been a true pleasure serving as interim CEO of an organization that centers people in all of its work, listening to their needs and partnering on community-driven solutions,” said Simpson. “I look forward to continuing our work together generating impactful solutions for a more peaceful and sustainable region and world.”

As CEO, Simpson will continue to work alongside the board of directors to guide the Foundation’s strategic planning, programs and community affairs. She will also continue to remain deeply involved in the Foundation’s impact investing and finances. 

Prior to joining the Foundation, Simpson was director of finance for an independent wealth management firm serving individuals, multigenerational families and foundations. She also founded and operated a public accounting firm providing CFO services to businesses, high-net-worth individuals and nonprofits for more than a decade. Simpson is a certified public accountant and holds a Master of Business Administration degree. She is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Washington State Society of Certified Public Accountants and serves on the board of directors for Confluence Philanthropy.

About The Russell Family Foundation

Founded by George and Jane Russell, The Russell Family Foundation (TRFF) provides a way for their extended family to make a quiet, positive impact in the community. TRFF does so by funding local, regional and global change through community investment in causes including resources for grassroots leaders, environmental sustainability and global peace. The organization applies their values of integrity, mutual trust, constructive communication, life-long learning and courage to all their work. With a place-based focus in the Puget Sound region, TRFF places particular emphasis on Pierce County, WA. For more information visit