Boston – The Boston Foundation announced today that Gail Snowden has been named Vice President for Finance and Operations, effective July 2004. In this new position, Snowden will oversee the finances and administrative operations of the $650 million community foundation as a key member of the senior management team. Snowden announced her departure from Bank of America last week. Jim Pitts, who had served as Senior Vice President and Chief Financial and Administrative Officer at the Boston Foundation, is going to a half-time schedule and will now serve as the Foundation’s Chief Investment Officer and Treasurer.
“We are thrilled that Gail Snowden is joining the Boston Foundation in a senior management role,” said Paul S. Grogan, President and CEO of the Boston Foundation. “She has been an extraordinarily successful business woman throughout her long banking career. She is one of a very small number of people who revolutionized community banking in the United States by making it a legitimate and profitable line of business, while bringing tremendous benefits to communities. In addition, her deep roots in this community and her passion for making Boston a better place will make her an invaluable contributor.”
Snowden, a veteran of the banking industry and a nationally recognized leader in urban community development, announced her intention to retire from banking after a successful 36-year career. “After almost four decades of helping to bring financial services to those most in need, I’m excited by the opportunities that exist outside of banking to advance my family’s century-long record of community advocacy,” said Snowden. “I’m grateful to have shared in a common mission with so many wonderful leaders and partners during my career and have been grateful for the opportunity to meld my values with my life’s work.”
Snowden’s contributions to the legacy banks of Fleet and BankBoston have been many, including the awarding of “Outstanding” Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) ratings at the banks and the White House Ron Brown Award for Advocating for the Needs of Minority and Low-income Constituents, to pioneering bold new initiatives, such as Fleet Community Bank, to broadening financial access for many.
Snowden joined Bank of Boston in 1968 and served in many capacities through the bank’s numerous mergers, including her membership on Fleet’s Leadership Advisory Group. Snowden developed and led the community investment efforts at BankBoston and Fleet which resulted in the formation of a nationally recognized, specialized retail and investment arm, the Community Investment Group, with a targeted focus on urban, low-income communities and minority- and women-owned businesses. The urban banking and investment model grew and its most visible component, Fleet Community Bank, now has retail presence throughout the Northeast within Bank of America.
Snowden is the daughter of a long line of community advocates in the Boston area. Her parents, Otto and Muriel Snowden, were the founders in 1949 of Freedom House, a community center known for its mission of advancing cultural and racial interaction. Freedom House continues to play a significant role in improving the educational, economic and social climate of Roxbury. Snowden serves as an emeritus chair of the Freedom House Board of Directors.
Snowden’s mother Muriel served on the Boston Foundation’s Board of Directors during the 1980s, and Gail Snowden joined the Foundation Board in May, 2002. She will resign that position upon joining the Foundation’s staff.
“Like my parents, I engage in the art of persuading people through the power of ideas, and motivating them to make change on behalf of a common cause, such as affordable housing or public education” said Snowden. “For my parents, the dialogue was with neighborhood groups, political leaders and others on the tough issues of race, school integration and urban renewal. For me, it has been with my colleagues at Fleet, community leaders and regulators, as we’ve worked to make a positive difference in people’s lives by giving them access to the wealth creation tools necessary to create informed, growing and self sufficient communities.”
Snowden is a member of Northeastern University’s Corporation Board and the boards of Simmons College, the Efficacy Institute, and the national board of Initiative for a Competitive Inner City. She has received numerous awards, including the Rosoff Diversity Award, honorary doctorates from her alma mater, Simmons College, and several other colleges. She was named one of the nation’s Top Business and Professional Women by Dollars and Sense magazine, one of 50 African-American Women at the top in corporate America by Ebony magazine, and one of Boston magazine’s 100 most influential women.
Snowden said, “I am grateful for my years in corporate banking, which provided me with the opportunity to bridge my business discipline with programs involved in making real, sustainable change in the lives of so many.”
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The Boston Foundation, one of the nation’s oldest and largest community foundations, has an endowment of almost $650 million, made grants of $48 million to nonprofit organizations, and received gifts of $38 million last year. The Boston Foundation is made up of 750 separate charitable funds, which have been established by donors either for the general benefit of the community or for special purposes. The Boston Foundation also serves as a civic leader, convener, and sponsor of special initiatives designed to build community. For more information about the Boston Foundation and its grant making, visitwww.tbf.org, or call 617-338-1700.